A dental bridge is used to replace one or two (adjacent) missing teeth. Like a bridge crossing a river, a dental bridge crosses or spans over the space of a missing tooth. And, like a bridge over a river, the dental bridge needs 'supports' on each side of the missing tooth space. These 'supports' come in the form of crowns on the supporting teeth.
A fixed bridge is a quick and efficient way to replace a missing tooth. It is secure, very aesthetic, and has a longevity of 10-15 years. The disadvantage of a bridge is that it involves placing crowns on the teeth either side of the space - and if these teeth are sound and healthy and do not require restoration, then they will receive treatment they would not have otherwise needed, in order to make the bridge. The other aspect to consider is that a bridge will tie three or more teeth together, and thus when one of those teeth needs treatment in the future, the entire bridge may need to be replaced.
The bridge is a very good treatment option for patients who cannot have dental implants, or who have teeth which need crowns, on either side of the missing tooth - thus when the bridge is placed, these teeth in effect get their crowns at the same time.
This photo shows the existing 3-tooth bridge. This lady was missing her right central incisor and the two adjacent teeth had been crowned to make this bridge.
The old bridge was made with the PFM technique. It had served well, but there was now recession of the tissues and the margins of the supporting crowns were also beginning to break down. It was time to replace it.
The old bridge was removed to expose what was left of the supporting teeth. It was clear that a lot of tooth structure was ground down many years ago to make this bridge. If the supporting teeth already had fillings and needed crowns anyway, then this is not a big concern. But if the supporting teeth were in virgin state, then the bridge was not a conservative treatment option back then.
This composite photo shows the three 'teeth' of the bridge linked together. It is clear that there is a crown (cap) on each end of the bridge, and one false tooth (pontic) in the middle. The crowns will thus cement over the supporting teeth, securing the bridge to place.
The new bridge was cemented over the supporting teeth. The fit was excellent, and the colour match was quite ideal. To achieve the best cosmetic result, the false (pontic) tooth should look as if it is actually growing out of the gum like the natural teeth. Careful design and placement of the bridge allowed us to achieve this effect.
Upon case review one month later, the bridge was comfortable and functional. This lady was very happy with her new smile.