A bridge is a fixed prosthetic device that is cemented onto existing teeth, providing an effective way to improve the look of your smile and restore the function of your mouth to make chewing and talking easier.
A pontic that will replicate the missing tooth or teeth is joined to other crowns that have been made to fit over the neighbouring teeth. This creates the ‘bridge’ support that fills the gap in your mouth.
What you need to know
The process for a bridge occurs over a series of appointments which will be discussed with you at the initial consultation or during a routine examination appointment.
In the preparation appointment – taking 2-3 hours - your dentist will prepare the teeth beside the gap, removing a portion of enamel to allow room for a crown to be placed over them. Impressions of your teeth are sent to the dental laboratory for the bridge to be custom-made to your mouth. After your existing teeth are prepared, your dentist will make a temporary bridge to protect the exposed teeth and gums. At your final appointment, your temporary bridge will be replaced with a permanent one and will be cemented into place to bridge the gap in your mouth. This final appointment typically takes about 1 hour.
You may require further appointments to check or adjust the fit of the bridge, but this will be determined by the dentist in consultation with you.
With the temporary bridge, your dentist will advise you to avoid hard, chewy or sticky foods. Once your permanent bridge has been placed it may take a little time to adjust to it and eating soft foods for the first few days is preferred.
Maintaining good oral health care habits and keeping up with your routine dental visits can help to extend the life of your bridge.