Bridges are a prosthetic or ‘fake’ tooth replacing one which is missing (either having been pulled out or perhaps never having formed in the first place). They are constructed indirectly (similar to crowns and inlays/onlays) in a dental laboratory and are designed so the fake tooth is actually supported by the tooth or teeth adjacent to the gap. The next door tooth or teeth need to be prepared for a crown or inlay or onlay also to support the prosthetic tooth. The bridge is bonded to that adjacent tooth or teeth with the prosthetic tooth suspended over the gum so it looks like there is actually a tooth in that gap.
Dental bridges improve the look and function of the teeth. They are most effective for people who have only a few missing teeth, because when they are inserted they are usually anchored to surrounding natural teeth.
Teeth can fall out due to disease, decay and physical trauma, but bridges can be inserted to reconstruct a person’s smile. When a tooth falls out there is always a chance that the surrounding teeth will naturally shift to fill the empty space. There is also a chance that decay may occur in the surrounding teeth, or that gum disease and speech impediments may result from the loss of a tooth. In severe cases tooth loss can lead to a collapsed bite and jaw problems. Luckily, dental bridges can help prevent these problems by filling in the vacant space that is left when natural teeth fall out.
There are a few different types of bridges: fixed bridges, bonded bridges and cantilever bridges. It is important to remember that the type of bridge that is necessary and the length of time it takes to have it inserted will depend on the size of the bridge needed and the extent of the problem that needs to be corrected.