Bridges are used to replace missing teeth. Teeth may be missing because they did not develop or they were extracted. There are two different types of bridgework commonly used:
- Maryland bridges or adhesive bridges: These bridges require very minimal amounts of tooth substance removal (if any) and are often used for younger patients who have teeth which never developed and they are not old enough for dental implants. They are permanently cemented in place with very strong glue.
- Fixed Bridges: These are very similar to crowns and use the adjacent tooth or teeth to support an artificial tooth which is cemented in place. Bridges tend to be more suitable for smaller rather than larger gaps but when appropriate, most patients tend to prefer fixed bridgework than removal dentures. To be a suitable candidate for bridgework your remaining teeth need to be healthy and strong. Bridges need to be looked after like your own teeth once cemented in place and need careful brushing, flossing and regular check-ups.
- Implants: are used to replace missing teeth or to stabilise dentures. Implants are most successful in non-smokers with healthy mouths. A dental implant is a titanium rod that is placed into the jaw. This implant can then be restored with a crown or can have an attachment put on to it, to hold a denture in place. Implants must be looked after the same as your own teeth with good hygiene and gum care. Regular dental check-ups are also required as part of a proper maintenance programme. If looked after well, an implant can last for many years.