23 Feb Replacing Missing Teeth, Part 2: Dental Bridges
Replacing missing teeth, part 2: Bridges
In part 1 of this series we looked at replacing a large number of teeth using various types of denture. When a patient is only missing a small number of adjacent teeth, bridges are often a more acceptable solution. Here we will look at the main types of dental bridges that can be provided for our patients at Stafford Street Dental Care.
If a front tooth needs to be replaced with minimal damage to the adjacent teeth, adhesive bridges can be a fantastic option. They consist of a replacement tooth and one or more wings which attach to the healthy neighbouring teeth. Although you shouldn’t bite into an apple on one of these bridges, they otherwise function well during eating and can give excellent aesthetic results.
Although most patients would prefer a fixed option, in some cases a removable bridge may be the best choice. The Valplast company pioneered a flexible nylon material which can be used to make partial dentures (see part 1 of this blog) or small bridges. These clip snugly around the teeth either side of the gap and can also disguise an unsightly defect in the gum at the site of the missing tooth.
Conventional bridges require the teeth adjacent to the gap to be reshaped, then a crown can be made to fit over the reshaped surface whilst simultaneously holding a replacement tooth in the gap. Although reshaping teeth makes this a less conservative option than adhesive or removable bridges, if the teeth either side of the gap are already heavily restored a conventional bridge can give a long-lasting and highly functional result.
In spaces where a patient is missing two or more adjacent teeth, an implant bridge will often be the ideal approach. As you may have read in Dr Willie Jack’s blog posts, a dental implant replaces the root of a missing natural tooth. Once the implant has become solid within the jaw bone, one or more crowns can be attached on top. Patients are often surprised to hear that they don’t always need an additional implant to support each individual tooth.
Each of these bridge types has several variations and we will of course discuss these during a consultation in order to find the best balance of cost, function, aesthetics and practicality for each of our patients.
Remember to also check out Dr Willie Jack’s blog posts covering dental implants – which can be used in many situations, from replacing a single tooth, to an entire upper and/or lower arch.
Keep brushing, keep smiling.
Dr Calum Imray
Stafford Street Dental Care.