A bridge is a prosthetic tooth that is fixed to one (or both) adjacent tooth and is not removed. The adhesive bridge is held in place by a metal wing which protrudes from the side of the prosthetic tooth, and is fixed with a strong adhesive onto the supporting tooth. The bridge can be made from porcelain bonded to metal, or metal-free zirconia (a high strength white mineral)
This is a good way to replace a missing tooth. Adhesive bridges are usually used to replace missing front teeth, where the biting forces are low enough not to break the adhesive bond. Adhesive bridges can only be used where the supporting tooth is healthy with little or no filling in place.
The back of the supporting tooth must be roughened to help the adhesive stick. This involves the removal of a very small amount of enamel from the supporting tooth (although it is usually so little that anaesthetic is not required). Impressions will then be taken to allow the dental technician to construct the Adhesive bridge. A temporary bridge is not normally fitted – you may have a denture which you can continue to wear. At the second appointment, the bridge will be tried in to check the fit and appearance, and cemented in place.
On average an adhesive bridge will last 8-10 years. This is not a minimum – it means 50% will have failed by this time. As these bridges are held in place only by an adhesive, they can periodically become debonded and need to be re-fitted. If the supporting tooth becomes damaged, the bridge debonds repeatedly, or the gum recedes under the bridge leaving a gap, it may be necessary to have a replacement.
|Simple treatment||Can periodically come out and need re-fixing|
|Significantly more conservative than conventional bridge||Not suitable for back teeth|
|Good aesthetics, especially with zirconia||Metal wing can sometimes give supporting tooth a greyish tinge (not with zirconia)|
|Supporting tooth is very unlikely to suffer any damage|
|Fixed in place, not removable|
Judy’s two missing front teeth have been replaced with metal-free ‘Lava’ adhesive bridges to give a very natural appearance