Before the development of dental implants a bridge was the only fixed replacement for a missing tooth. A removable denture can also be used to replace a missing tooth but these have a number of disadvantages including reduced patient comfort and long term damage to the remaining teeth and gums due to oral hygiene difficulties.
A bridge uses the neighboring teeth to hold the replacement tooth fixed in position. There are 2 main types of bridges, Conventional or Maryland bridges.
A Conventional bridge is fitting over the neighboring tooth or teeth. It has the disadvantage that a significant amount of the neighboring teeth needs to be filed away to make this type of bridge. It has the advantage of being more secure than a Maryland bridge.
Maryland bridges are glued to the neighboring teeth. They have the advantage of being less destructive in the short term than conventional bridges. However, they are not as securely attached to the neighboring teeth and can on occasion come out without warning.
Statistically bridges give more trouble in the long term than dental implants, all things being equal a dental implant is a better tooth replacement solution than a bridge. However, there are still cases where a bridge may be the best solution, for example, where there is insufficient bone for ideal implant placement, if the neighboring teeth have been weakened in the past by large fillings and require a crown to reinforce them anyway, or in the case of a very young person who has not finished growing.
Traditionally bridges were made over at least 2 appointments. At the first appointment the neighboring teeth were prepared, an impression was taken and a temporary tooth replacement was provided. The impression was sent to a laboratory where over the course of a couple weeks the bridge was made. It was then sent back to the dentist who fitted the bridge.
Here at Abbeytrinity Dental, we are delighted that we are able to provide crowns, bridges, veneers or implant retained crowns in one trip to our practice. We can do this because of our on-site dental laboratory and because of our investment in the latest CAD-CAM technology. We have the newest Sirona omnicam intraoral scanner and at the time of writing are using the latest 4.4 software, we continually upgrade our software and technology to ensure our patients receive the most up to date treatment possible. In addition to the convenience of completing the treatment in one visit our intraoral scanner means that our patients don’t have to have impressions taken, they don’t have to wear temporary crowns and they don’t need to have multiple anesthetics administered.