If you are missing one or more teeth, you should consider receiving a dental bridge as a solution. A dental bridge is a restoration that helps fill in the gap between existing teeth and missing teeth. Dental bridges are typically supported by existing teeth, but sometimes we will use dental implants (small titanium screws), as the support component. There are several types of bridges to consider, and the procedures for most, are fairly simple.
Types Of Bridges
- A traditional bridge utilizes dental crowns to support pontics, or fake teeth, that fill the gap left by missing teeth. To prep the abutments or support teeth, we must reshape and strip them of their enamel. We then cap the reshaped teeth with dental crowns. This treatment is ideal for patients who have teeth compromised by decay or structural damage that can be used as abutments. This typically takes two office visits, and you will be given a temporary bridge to the final bridge is being fabricated.
- If you are looking for a solution that is a little more cost effective, you should consider Maryland bonded bridges. This involves a framework made of metal or porcelain that is then bonded to the back of existing teeth. To receive a Maryland bridge, your surrounding teeth must be healthy enough to support the framework.
- A cantilever bridge is similar to a traditional bridge in that it involves the use of a crown as an abutment. However, this technique only requires the use of one crown, making it less invasive than a traditional bridge. These bridges are typically used when the patient is only missing one tooth. They are ideal for certain posterior teeth, (such as your premolars), and certain anterior teeth (such as your incisors).
- Implant supported bridges are used primarily for those who are missing more than one tooth, or for patients with surrounding teeth damaged beyond the point of a crown. Implant bridges require a more intensive procedure but often provide more stability and longevity than a traditional bridge. This takes several visits to complete and two oral surgeries. We will need to make incisions in the gums to place your implants and eventually your abutments.
Regardless of which bridge you receive, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene and take the necessary steps to protect your bridge. Make sure to use specialized hygiene tools if needed and your bridge can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years, sometimes even longer.