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Dental bridge procedure

4-minute read

What is a dental bridge procedure?

A dental bridge permanently replaces missing teeth with false teeth. The bridge is attached to the teeth on either side of the gap. Bridges are usually made of porcelain or metal, a mixture of the 2, or zirconia. They are fixed in place and, for some people, are an alternative to dentures.

When might you need a dental bridge?

You might need a dental bridge if you have a missing tooth or teeth and have healthy teeth on either side of the gap left by the missing teeth.

What happens during a dental bridge procedure?

First, the dentist will examine the mouth and ensure any tooth decay or gum disease is treated. They may take an x-ray and use equipment to take measurements of the teeth and mouth.

To prepare for a dental bridge, the dentist will usually file down the 2 healthy teeth on either side of the gap. They will then take a mould to make the bridge.

illustration of dental bridge
The dentist will usually file down healthy teeth to prepare the dental bridge.

You might be given a temporary bridge while waiting for your permanent bridge to be ready. If so, that is taken out once your permanent bridge has been prepared.

The permanent bridge is put in place when ready, and usually attached to the surrounding healthy teeth with dental cement. Or the dentist might anchor the bridge with a dental implant, which is surgically placed in the jaw. The dentist will need to check if dental implants are suitable for you.

How do you care for your dental bridge?

You’ll need to brush your bridge with fluoride toothpaste and floss, as is usually recommended for natural teeth. Regular visits to your dentist are also important.

What are the benefits and risks of a dental bridge procedure?

Dental bridges can help restore the smile and avoid someone feeling self-conscious about having missing teeth. Filling in the gap left by missing teeth is also important because, if the gap is not filled, the surrounding teeth might lean into the gap over time and change the way a person bites.

Bridges can last for many years if they are cared for properly. However, they can fail, usually due to decay of the natural teeth next to them, or failure of the cement.

What are the alternatives to dental bridges?

The main alternative to a dental bridge is using removable false teeth, known as a partial denture, which you can take out to clean. Another alternative is a dental implant.

Resources and support

You should talk to your health professional about the benefits and risks of getting a medical implant. Use the Therapeutic Goods Administration's guide on what to ask. The information is in English, Arabic, Croatian, Farsi, Greek, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: January 2021

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