What is a Dental Bridge

Dental bridges work by literally bridging the gap where a patient has one or more missing teeth. A bridge is made up of at least two crowns which are placed on the teeth adjacent to the gap. These abutment teeth serve as the anchors for the bridge. One or more prosthetic teeth, called pontics, are then placed between the crowns. These teeth are typically made out of gold, alloys, or porcelain. Natural teeth usually support a dental bridge, however, an implant can also be used as the anchor.

Some of the benefits associated with dental bridges include the following:

1. Patients can speak clearly and chew properly
2. Even distribution of bite forces
3. Maintain facial shape
4. Protect the existing natural teeth
5. Restored smile

The three different types of dental bridges are tradition, cantilever and Maryland.

Traditional bridges involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth. The pontic is then placed in the middle. Traditional bridges are the most common type of bridge used. They are typically created from porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.

Cantilever bridge is a bridge which is used when there is only one tooth next to the missing tooth. Dentists rarely use this solution and it is not recommended for use in the back of the mouth. Cantilever bridges can place too much force on the existing teeth and cause damage.

Maryland bonded bridge or resin-bonded bridge is a type of bridge created from porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or plastic teeth and gums supported by a porcelain or metal framework. Metal or porcelain wings are bonded to the existing teeth and commonly on one side of the bridge.

Dental Bridge Process

During the initial visit for a dental bridge, the abutment teeth will be prepared. This process involves removing some of the enamel from the tooth to provide room for the crown to be placed. The dentist will then obtain impressions of the teeth which serve as a model for creating the bridge, pontic, and crowns. The pieces are then created in a dental lab. While the permanent bridge is being created, a temporary bridge will be placed to protect the teeth and gums.

The temporary bridge is removed during the second phase of the procedure. The dentist will check and adjust the new bridge as needed. Multiple visits to the dentist may be required to ensure the bridge fits perfectly. When a fixed dental bridge is used, the dentist often uses temporary cement to ensure proper fit before it is permanently cemented into place.

Similar to other types of dental procedures, the cost for dental bridges can vary. It can depend on the dentist, the type of bridge being used, and the geographical area. Dental insurance often covers a portion of the cost for treatment. When patients practice good oral hygiene and continue regular visits to the dentist, a bridge can last for 5-15+ years.

The remaining natural teeth must be well maintained and stay healthy as a successful bridge relies on these teeth for a secure foundation. Good oral hygiene practices includes brushing the teeth at least twice each day and flossing daily. Patients should also visit the dentist regularly for an examination and professional cleaning. It is important to address any issues immediately to ensure the bridge and natural teeth are not damaged.

What is the Cost of a Dental Bridge