What is a dental bridge?

A dental bridge can fill the gap if you have one or more missing teeth. A bridge is typically made of crowns on either side of the missing tooth supporting the pontic (false tooth) in the middle and is cemented in place.

Tulip Dental Bridge
Dental Bridge

Who needs a dental bridge?

Dental bridges can help if you have a missing tooth or even teeth. The most common causes of missing teeth are tooth decay, periodontal disease and injury. To get a dental bridge, you need healthy teeth on either side of the missing ones.

Why do I need a dental bridge?

Your teeth work together to absorb the pressure when biting or eating. If a tooth is missing, nearby teeth can move into the empty space and take on extra load. The teeth in your opposite jaw can also move up or down toward the space. This can cause:

  • Bite problems.

  • Chewing difficulties.

  • Pain from the extra stress on your teeth and jaw.

What does a dental bridge
look like?

A typical dental bridge has:

  • Abutment teeth: A dental professional places two crowns on the teeth on either side of the gap. These anchoring teeth, or supporting teeth, can be your natural teeth or dental implants.

  • Pontics: This false tooth (or teeth) fills in the gap and attaches to the crowns.

What types of dental bridges
are available?

The four main types of bridges are:

  • Traditional fixed bridge: This bridge is the most common. It has two or more crowns and a filler tooth or teeth that are all connected. The crowns keep the bridge in place. Traditional bridges are made of metal, porcelain fused to metal, or ceramics.

  • Cantilever bridge: In this bridge type, the pontic connects to only one abutment tooth. This can sometimes be an option for people who have teeth on only one side of the gap.

  • Implant supported bridge: This bridge is similar to a “traditional fixed bridge” but instead of being cemented in place to teeth, it is held in place by implants.

What can I use instead of a dental bridge?

Some people choose partial dentures, which are removable false teeth. You take them out to clean them. You may also be a candidate for a dental implant. An implant is surgically placed in your jaw. Your dentist can help you figure out what the best option is for you.

Procedure Details

What happens during a procedure for a traditional dental bridge?

You’ll typically need at least two appointments:

  • Abutment teeth preparation: During your first visit, your healthcare provider reshapes the abutment teeth. They’ll remove part of the enamel and dentin, so there’s room for the crown.

  • Impressions: Your provider takes impressions or a digital scan of your teeth. A dental laboratory uses the mold or scan as a model to create your bridge, false teeth and crowns. You’ll have a temporary bridge to protect the exposed areas in your mouth while the lab makes your bridge.

  • Permanent bridge placement: During your second visit, your provider removes the temporary bridge and places the permanent bridge. Your provider will carefully check the bridge and make any needed adjustments to make sure it fits you comfortably.

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