Dental Bridges – Benefits, Types of Bridges and Process
Think of a dental bridge as a bridge spanning and closing the gap caused by one or more missing teeth. A bridge is made up of two or more crowns that are fastened in place on either site of the gap by being anchored on what are called abutment teeth. A false tooth is part of this bridge and placed in between the two crowns, it fills the gap caused by the missing tooth or teeth. These false teeth are called pontics. They can be made from several different materials – gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Bridges are supported by your natural teeth, perhaps with crowns on them, or by implants.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?
- Restore your smile and your self confidence
- Restore your ability to properly chew properly and speak easily
- Maintain and/or restore the shape of your face
- Distribute the force in your bite because you now have replaced the missing tooth or teeth
- Prevent remaining teeth from moving around and becoming misaligned due to the gap caused by the missing tooth or teeth
What Types of Dental Bridges Are Available?
There are three main types of dental bridges:
- Traditional bridges involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between. Remember that “pontic” means the false tooth. Traditional bridges are made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
- Cantilever bridges are used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth. This type of bridge is not very common any more. It’s not recommended for the back of your mouth where it can put too much force on other teeth, damaging them.
- Maryland bonded bridges (also called a resin-bonded bridge) are made of porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or plastic teeth and gums supported by a metal or porcelain framework. Metal or porcelain wings on each side of the bridge are bonded to your existing teeth.
What Is the Process for Getting a Dental Bridge?
During your first visit, the abutment teeth are prepared, which involves re-contouring these teeth by removing a portion of enamel to allow room for a crown to be placed over them. Next, impressions of your teeth are made and sent to a dental lab where the bridge, pontic or false tooth, and crowns are made. Your dentist will make a temporary bridge for you to wear in order to protect the exposed teeth and gums while the bridge is being made. During your second visit, your temporary bridge will be removed and the new porcelain or metal bridge will be checked and adjusted to achieve a good fit. Multiple visits may be required to check the fit of the metal framework and your bite. If the dental bridge is a fixed bridge, your dentist may temporarily cement it in place for a couple of weeks to make sure it fits properly. After a couple weeks, the bridge is then cemented into place. Learn more about dental bridges in my blog article here .