Dental Bridges

What is a dental bridge?

A dental bridge, also known as a fixed bridge, fills the gap of a missing tooth. It’s a common treatment option used to rehabilitate an edentulous span with a fixed prosthesis. Pontics, or false teeth, are used as a part of the bridge and are held in place by the abutment teeth – or the healthy teeth on either side of the gap.

There are a few different types of bridges, and the type your dentist uses will depend on your unique situation. You may need a few appointments before the procedure so your dentist can create the dental crown or dental prosthesis that will replace one or more missing teeth. Consult with a trusted dental professional to determine which method is right for you.

Diagram of a Dental Tooth Bridge

What are the different types of dental bridges?

Many dentists recommend the following types of bridges for tooth replacement.

Traditional Bridge
If you have natural teeth on either side of a missing tooth, a traditional bridge is most likely to be used. Crowns are placed on the healthy teeth to secure the pontic in place.

Maryland Bridge
Also known as a bonded tooth bridge, the Maryland bridge is similar to a traditional bridge. However, instead of using crowns on top of the healthy teeth, a Maryland bridge uses bonding on the back of the abutment teeth to keep the pontic in place.

Cantilever Bridge
While a traditional bridge places crowns on both healthy abutment teeth, a cantilever bridge affixes the pontic to only one healthy abutment tooth.

Implant-Supported Bridge
Unlike traditional bridges and Maryland bridges that affix pontics in place on the surface, an implant-supported bridge requires surgery and secures a pontic in place by affixing to the jawbone or other oral structure. A dental implant is a precisely engineered replacement tooth that fits your mouth specifically.

While the implant-supported bridge is more invasive, it’s typically the most secure and long-lasting option. Dental implants have revolutionized tooth replacement because of this. Your dentist can provide dental implants to support any number of replacement teeth, not just one.

Partial Dentures
Partial dentures and bridges solve the same problem, however they approach it differently. Bridges use permanent methods for affixing a pontic (bonding, crowns, surgical implants, etc.). Partial dentures are temporary and can be removed or taken out as needed by the patient, using a clasp to hold the dental structure in place. Tooth replacement can be carried out using removable partial dentures to replace one or more missing teeth. Patients who are at risk for additional tooth loss, or are missing more than one tooth, may opt for partial dentures over tooth bridges.

My teeth were making me look really old. So, I decided that if I could get them fixed up, maybe it would help. And it did, a lot! I’m much more comfortable giving a big grin… It was painless, it was easy and it was so worth anything to go through this. I love my teeth!.

– Cindy

Why would I need a tooth bridge?

If you’ve lost or broken a tooth, there may be more side effects other than an impacted smile. A tooth bridge, or partial dentures, can help dental patients by:

  • Positively impacting bite while chewing
  • Preventing other healthy teeth from moving around in the mouth
  • Restoring typical speech or pronunciation patterns
  • Changing the shape of the face, especially near the mouth and jaw

As well, teeth clenching can contribute to the development of temporomandibular disorders (TMJ) and bruxism. Crowns and bridgework can help alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ.

Mouth held open by dental tool showing a space where a tooth is missing

How much does a tooth bridge cost?

The cost of a dental bridge can vary from dentist to dentist, and the most important factor determining the cost is how long the span of the tooth bridge is. Typically, the cost of bridges varies depending on the number of missing teeth, age, and other factors such as tooth size, shape, dental history, etc.

Replace Missing Teeth With Crown and Bridgework

Your local dentist will explain the cost of dental implants, partial dentures, bridges, and other tooth-replacement methods so you can consider the options.

Some dentists offer around-the-clock care and provide same-day treatment for dental emergencies. Emergency dental care may have higher associated costs than a regularly scheduled appointment. For this reason, it may be best to consult with your dentist and see if a temporary crown is right for you while you wait for custom fabrication.

What are tooth bridges made of?

Dental bridges are usually constructed using tooth-colored porcelain, metal, or a combination of the two. Talk with your dentist to determine which material is best for you and your dental bridge.

Are there risks associated with tooth bridges?

Working with a professional, experienced dentist should mitigate any risk or complication when it comes to tooth bridges. A licensed dentist should be able to replace a missing tooth while protecting neighboring teeth from shifting with a proper bridge.

Eliminate the Empty Space Left By a Missing Tooth

An improperly installed dental bridge may result in tooth decay or discomfort. This is why proper aftercare, and regular visits to the dentist, are imperative to detect and diagnose problems like tooth decay. It is strongly recommended that all patients maintain good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing regularly. If you’re experiencing issues with an existing bridge, talk with your dentist to revitalize old crowns or bridgework the right way.

If you have concerns about a tooth bridge or partial dentures, contact Friendly Dentistry in Greensboro, North Carolina. We’ll answer any questions you may have about the procedure and help determine which method is best for you and your oral health. Our dentists provide compassionate dental care including tooth bridges, partial dentures, and other teeth replacement services. Restore your oral health and explore your tooth replacement options that can improve the function and beauty of your smile!

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