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Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are restorations that replace a missing tooth or teeth. It is a false tooth or teeth which are attached to adjacent teeth in the mouth.


Dental bridges are restorations that replace a missing tooth or teeth. It is a false tooth or teeth which are attached to adjacent teeth in the mouth.

What types of bridges are there?

Maryland (sticky) bridges

This type of bridge has a ‘wing’ that attaches to the back the adjacent tooth. It does not usually require the removal of any tooth enamel to fit it. The disadvantage over a longer period is that is not as good as withstanding high chewing forces which may cause it to come off. Therefore it is not suitable for replacing teeth further back in the mouth, and we will need to look carefully at the way your front teeth bite together in order to assess your suitability for this type of bridge.

Fixed (conventional) bridge

This type of bridge involves the preparation of the teeth either side of the space to allow the attachment of a bridge tooth to these adjacent teeth. This type of bridge is better at withstanding high chewing forces and is suitable for replacing teeth at the front, and further back in the mouth.


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What does the procedure of having a dental bridge fitted involve?

The first stage is to clean the supporting tooth or teeth, remove any decay and reshape it using a burr (a special dental drill for shaping teeth) under local anaesthesia. In the case of a Maryland bridge little or no tooth enamel has to be removed.

In a fixed bridge up to 1.5 mm of tooth enamel has to be removed from around each aspect of the tooth. The shape of the prepared tooth is usually tapered to allow the bridge to sit comfortably over the top of it. Once the tooth is prepared, an impression (mould) of your teeth will be taken using a special “dental putty”. This impression is sent to a dental laboratory, which will use the impression of the prepared tooth as a guide to fabricate the new bridge to fit perfectly. It usually takes about 1 week for our laboratory technician to custom make your new bridge. During this time, your dentist will fit you with a temporary bridge to cover and protect your prepared tooth if needed.

At your crown fit visit, your dentist will remove the temporary bridge. Your dentist will sit the bridge over your tooth to see if it fits with your smile correctly and is the right colour and shape. Once you are both happy with the restoration and how it looks, your dentist will cement the bridge firmly into place.

How long do bridges last and what are the risks?

How long a bridge lasts will depend largely on how well you look after your teeth. Dental crowns require the same level of care and attention as your natural teeth. Provided you have a good oral hygiene program, attend regular checkups at your dentist, don’t grind your teeth, maintain a tooth-kind diet and don’t do things like open beer bottles with your teeth, a high-quality dental bridge can last at least 10-15 years.