Besides dentures, the most common solution to replace missing teeth is using by using a bridge or bridges.
There are different types of bridge options depending on the size of gap and health of surrounding teeth:
An ‘adhesive bridge’ (sometimes referred to as a ‘sticky bridge’, ‘minimally invasive bridge’ or ‘Maryland bridge’) is non destructive as it is bonded or glued to the adjacent tooth.
The principle of this type of bridge is that a false tooth is retained by an adhesive wing, cemented to a neighbouring tooth. Although this technique does require reduction of the retaining tooth, this is very minimal, usually in the order of a millimetre or less, and contained within the outer enamel layer of the tooth.
The success of these bridges relies on careful planning and design, the supporting tooth has to be sufficiently strong to bear the load and the bridge has to be designed to provide sufficient retention to aid the adhesive.
There are limitations to this type of bridge. They can only be used for short spans, usually single tooth replacements with a single retaining tooth. The type of gap and features of the bite have to be assessed fully to ensure success.
A conventional ‘fixed’ bridge replaces a tooth by placing a crown onto a neighbouring tooth, or teeth and joining to fill the space.
The support offered by a full crown supporting is much more than an adhesive bridge.
They allow for the replacement of much longer gaps, combining multiple false teeth and retaining teeth.
They allow for teeth to be shifted to fill gaps and provide greater control over the possible cosmetic outcomes.
The downside with this type of bridge is that it requires additional reduction of tooth tissue when compared with a minimally invasive bridge and this can give a greater risk of problems in the future.
There are specialist restorations which can be used in rare circumstances to restore. There are a range of these and their uses are limited to specific circumstances. If appropriate, you dentist will discuss these options further.
More options relating to missing teeth »
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