An alternative to implants when looking at replacement of missing teeth, is an option known as a dental bridge. Bridging is a “fixed” option, meaning it cannot be removed from the mouth like a partial denture for example. For this reason, it remains a popular option with patients who are unable to consider implant treatment.
What exactly is a dental bridge?
Bridging has certain requirements, the most important being that there be teeth present on either side of the “gap” that is in the mouth. Made of a hard dental ceramic material, the design usually consists of crowns on either side of the gap, which anchor the bridge to these “support” teeth. Connected in the middle of these supporting crowns is the tooth or teeth that are missing (literally bridging the gap!).
The photos below are for illustrative purposes.
How long does treatment take?
Bridging can be a great option when time is a factor – depending on the size and difficulty, they typically take only two appointments to complete over a 2 week period. The supporting teeth must first be “shaved down” to make room for the bridge, followed by impressions taken of the area at the first appointment. This is followed by fitting of the permanent bridge at the second visit.
It is extremely important for patients to keep up excellent oral hygiene habits once a bridge has been placed, as any problem with even just one of the anchor teeth can result in serious damage and eventual loss of the bridge. This is why, when it is feasible, implant treatment is considered to be the superior option for tooth replacement.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, we encourage you to discuss these matters with a dental professional.