Like an implant, a bridge offers a non-removable replacement of a missing tooth. Broadly speaking there are two types of bridge. Originally the only option was a ‘conventional bridge’ but newer technologies have allowed the development of ‘resin retained bridges’, these are sometimes called ‘Maryland bridges’.
A ‘conventional bridge’ in its simplest form is where the teeth either side of a space are prepared in a similar manner to that that would be required for their crowning. The bridge is essentially a number of crowns that support one or more additional teeth. These additional teeth look individual but are in fact supported by their neighbours. This technique can be useful where the adjacent teeth have been heavily filled, but if they are at all intact, the conventional bridge can be very destructive to healthy tooth tissue. Bridges can be fabricated from a range of materials from the oldest which is gold to cutting-edge ceramics. Modern ceramics achieve the excellent aesthetic results that our patients increasingly demand.
A Maryland bridge will fill in an unsightly gap but without the tooth destruction often caused by a ‘conventional bridge’ preparation. A Maryland bridge is supported by one or more ‘wings’ attached to the inside surfaces of the adjacent teeth using a special dental adhesive. This technique works better at the front of the mouth but requires the supporting teeth to be in a good condition.
Bridges are made of inert materials that do not deteriorate over time. However, the underlying tooth is still prone to decay and gum disease. Ceramic layers can chip or fracture, but this is virtually unheard of with the most modern materials. At St. Oswald’s our ‘superior’ restorations are covered by a 5-year guarantee, (conditions apply).
We will give you special instruction in how to care for your bridge. Special methods of brushing and flossing are often required.
As always, regular check-ups are essential and will enable your dentist to detect any problems in their early stages.