A dental bridge is a set of teeth held in place by two or more crowns. It can either be attached to existing teeth or fused to the jawbone with dental implants on either side. It literally provides a bridge created by one or more missing teeth. A bridge is the second best option for replacing a single tooth — second only to dental implants — and the best option for replacing several missing teeth located next to each other.
The anchoring teeth of a dental bridge are called the abutment — with a false tooth or set of teeth set between. Made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials, the false teeth are known as pontics.
A dental bridge can be a great way to restore your smile, ability to chew, and speak. It will help maintain the shape of your face. A dental bridge will also prevent teeth from shifting out of position, which can commonly happen if you are missing teeth.
Types of Dental Bridges
There are several types of dental bridges available. These include:
Traditional dental bridges include a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between. This is the most common type of dental bridge.
Cantilever bridges are done when you have adjacent teeth only one side of the missing tooth or teeth. The dental bridge is essentially connected to one tooth or dental implant. Dentists don’t recommend cantilever bridges in the back of the mouth because your bite has too much force for it to handle.
Resin Bonded Dental Bridge
These are made of porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or plastic teeth and gums supported by a metal or porcelain framework and are bonded to your existing teeth.
What to Expect When You Get a Dental Bridge
On your first visit to a dentist for a dental bridge, we’ll prepare the abutment teeth. We’ll re-contour these teeth by removing a portion of enamel to make room for a crown to be placed over them. Then we’ll make an impression of the teeth to serve as a model to attach the dental bridge. We’ll give you a temporary dental bridge to wear to protect the exposed teeth as we custom-make your new one.
You’ll make a second dental visit. We’ll remove the temporary bridge and check the new one, making any adjustments as necessary. We’ll check for a proper bite. Sometimes multiple visits are necessary to ensure a proper fit. We may cement the bridge into place using temporary cement to make sure the dental bridge fits properly.