Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are used to replace missing teeth, whether it is a single tooth or a row of missing teeth.

The purpose of a dental bridge is to close the gap in your smile, hence the term “bridges.” Dentists can create custom bridges that are designed to match the color and appearance of your natural teeth.

Types of dental bridges

Dentists employ various types of bridges based on individual oral health goals. The main four types of dental bridges are:

Traditional dental bridge: This is the most common type, consisting of dental crowns (caps) on both ends and artificial teeth (pontics) in between. The crowns are bonded to healthy natural teeth (abutments) on either side of the gap, with the pontics filling the space. Traditional bridges are suitable when there are healthy teeth on both sides of the gap.

Cantilever dental bridge: Similar to a traditional bridge, but with a crown on only one end. The artificial tooth (pontic) extends across the gap, supported by the crown bonded to the abutment tooth on one side. Cantilever bridges are used when there are natural teeth on only one side of the gap but are not as strong as traditional bridges.

Maryland dental bridge: Also known as a resin-bonded bridge, it uses metal wings instead of crowns to secure the bridge. The wings are bonded to the backs of adjacent teeth. Maryland bridges are typically used for replacing front teeth and are not suitable for molars due to lower strength.

Implant-supported bridge: Similar to a traditional bridge but supported by dental implants instead of natural teeth. Dental implants act as artificial tooth roots, with the bridge placed on top. Implant-supported bridges are used when there are three or more missing teeth in a row, and dental implants have fully integrated with the jawbone.

Dental Bridges Procedure

The process of placing a dental bridge can vary depending on the type of bridge you receive. Here are the general steps involved for each type:

Traditional or cantilever bridge

Administration of local anesthesia to ensure your comfort during the procedure.

Reshaping of the abutment teeth (the natural teeth that will support the bridge) by removing some tooth enamel, which is irreversible.

Dental impressions taken and sent to a dental laboratory where the final bridge is custom-made.

Placement of a temporary bridge until the final bridge is ready, usually taking around two to four weeks.

During a second office visit, removal of the temporary bridge, trying on the final bridge for fit, and bonding (cementing) the final bridge in place. Some dentists may offer same-day custom bridges using CAD/CAM technology.

Maryland bridge

Preparation of the teeth for the metal wings that will support the bridge.

Dental impressions taken and sent to a dental laboratory for fabrication of the final bridge.

During a second office visit, trying in the final bridge, checking the fit, applying dental etch to the back surfaces of the neighboring teeth, and bonding the wings of the bridge to the abutment teeth using dental resin cement.

Implant-supported bridge

Anesthesia is administered, and dental implants are surgically placed into the jawbone.

A healing period of three to six months (or longer) is required for the implants to fuse with the jawbone (osseointegration).

After the integration of the implants, impression copings are attached to the implants, dental impressions are taken, and sent to a dental lab.

The abutments are removed temporarily while waiting for the final implant-supported bridge to be fabricated.

Once the bridge is ready, the abutments and the bridge are placed on the implants to check the fit, and then secured using dental cement or screws.

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