What is Dental Bridge?

Bridges span the space created when teeth are missing. A bridge may be recommended if you’re missing one or more teeth..

Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

A dental bridge consists of two crowns which are attached on either side of the pontic – the replacement tooth. These two crowns are cemented to the abutments – the natural teeth or implants on either side of the empty space and act as anchors for the pontic.

As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Our dentist can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.

Benefits of a Dental Bridge

  • Restores your smile
  • Restores your ability to properly chew and speak
  • Maintains the shape of your face
  • Distributes the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth
  • Prevents remaining teeth from drifting out of position

The Dental Bridge Procedure

At your appointment, we will perform a thorough examination, which will include taking x-rays and examining your teeth to determine if and what type of dental bridge is right for you. There are four types of dental bridges:

  • Traditional Dental Bridge (Three Unit Bridge)
  • Cantilever Dental Bridge
  • Bonded Dental Bridge (Maryland Bridge)
  • Dental Bridge with an Implant

Traditional Dental Bridge (Three Unit Bridge): The most common type of dental bridge is a traditional bridge, also known as a three-unit bridge. A traditional three-unit bridge is used to replace missing teeth when teeth are available on both sides of your missing tooth. A traditional three-unit bridge consists of three parts. A pontic (dummy tooth) is held together by two abutments (crowns) and is custom made in the dental laboratory to accurately fit your teeth. The pontic replaces the area where your missing tooth was and the two abutments (crowns) are attached to the two teeth surrounding your missing tooth.

Cantilever Dental Bridge: Another type of dental bridge is a cantilever. A cantilever bridge is used when there are teeth on only one side of the empty space. A cantilever bridge involves attaching the pontic to one or more adjacent teeth with one or two abutments (crowns).

Bonded Dental Bridge (Maryland Bridge):A bonded dental bridge also known as a Maryland dental bridge is often used when teeth are missing in the front of your mouth. A bonded dental bridge involves fusing the pontic to metal bands and bonding the metal bands to the back of the abutment teeth.

Dental Bridge with an Implant: A dental bridge with an implant is used when the teeth and gums surrounding your missing teeth are in good condition and free of periodontal disease. A dental bridge with an implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into the jawbone or onto the jawbone to hold a dental bridge.

A dental bridge is made of porcelain fused to metal or all porcelain. All porcelain bridges are made entirely of porcelain and look identical to your natural teeth which eliminates the dark blue line at the edge of the gums that occurs with porcelain fused to metal dental bridges. Also it is easier to place an all porcelain crown above the gum line allowing for healthier gums and teeth. All porcelain bridges used to be a bit fragile, but with the development of stronger pressed porcelain, today all porcelain bridges are similar to porcelain fused to metal bridges in terms of strength and durability.

Once we determine which dental bridge is right for you, we will take impressions of your mouth to use as a model to ensure that your bridge fits your teeth and bite precisely. We often place a temporary bridge, while your are waiting for your bridge (1-2 weeks). Once your bridge is made in the laboratory, we will call you to schedule an appointment to apply your bridge. At your appointment, we will make sure the bridge fits your mouth and your bite is correct before we cement or bond the bridge into place. It may take two or more appointments to complete the process of getting a dental bridge.

Contact us today and schedule an appointment with our office to get an opinion on your need for dental bridges.

Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss any aspect of your dental health – we don’t charge for giving advice!