A dental bridge is one of the dental treatments used to replace missing teeth and bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. A bridge is made up of two or more crowns for the teeth, on either side of the gap – these two or more teeth are called abutment teeth – and a false tooth/teeth in between. Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants.
Benefits of Dental Bridges:
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
- Restore the ability to properly chew and speak
- Maintain the shape of your face
- Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth
- Restore your smile
As with any dental treatment, the first step of a dental bridge procedure is an assessment of the area. The dentist will examine the area, take X-rays and make up casts of the teeth in order to decide if a bridge is appropriate and choose a bridge design.
Dental Bridge Types Available:
- Traditional bridges, the most common type, involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between. These are made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramic.
- Cantilever bridges are used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth. This is not very common anymore and is not recommended in the back of the mouth where it can put too much force on other teeth and damaged them.
- Maryland bonded bridges (also called resin-bonded bridge or a Maryland 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 often on just one side of the bridge are bonded to existing teeth.
The dental bridge procedure is a multi step process that takes more than one visit to the dentist. The dentist will inject a local anesthetic, and then reshapes the teeth that will house the crowns. These crowns need to fit securely in order to hold the bridge in place. The dentist will then make an impression of the missing tooth/teeth and the surrounding teeth. This impression is sent to a lab to customize a bridge that fits your mouth exactly. You will receive a temporary bridge secured by cement to fill the empty space. When your permanent bridge arrives, it will be fitted and placed, making sure the bridge doesn’t interfere with your bite alignment.
The life of a dental bridge can surpass 10 years with good home care which should include brushing, flossing, and regular dental checkups.