Knockhundred Row, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 9DQ

Bridges

BRIDGES

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’.

THE CONVENTIONAL BRIDGE

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.

THE MARYLAND BRIDGE

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.

WHAT IS INVOLVED?

  • Treatment options can be many and varied. We would recommend starting with a consultation to assess your case and discuss your particular requirements.
  • With the ‘conventional bridge’, we prepare the supporting teeth by removing a thin layer of their outer surfaces. We aim to leave a strong core to maintain the health of each tooth.
  • Impressions are taken and the shade of your teeth noted to allow for a perfect match.
  • If appropriate, we construct and fit a temporary bridge at that first visit. This can protect the prepared teeth whilst you are waiting for your permanent bridge but can also be aesthetically desirable.
  • The impressions are sent to our laboratory where skilled technicians fabricate your final restoration.
  • After about two weeks we see you for a further appointment. Your new bridge will be checked for fit and appearance and only when you are satisfied with the result will it be fixed in place with a special dental adhesive.

HOW LONG DO BRIDGES LAST?

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.

IN SUMMARY

THE ADVANTAGES OF BRIDGES

  • They offer a fixed (non-removable) solution to the loss of a tooth.
  • They can occasionally provide the adjacent teeth some of the structural and aesthetic benefits associated with crowns, especially when these teeth are heavily filled.

THE DISADVANTAGES OF BRIDGES

  • They can inflict profound damage on any neighbouring teeth that have to be prepared, however, the Maryland bridge can avoid this.
  • They can be harder to keep clean than implants.
  • They can demand a large amount of surgery time and involve high laboratory costs, so ‘conventional bridges’ in particular can be quite expensive.
  • They are not always feasible.

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