Many patients are familiar with the term “dental bridge” but aren’t exactly sure how one works and if it is the right treatment choice to suit their restorative dental needs. Below is the info you need to clear up any confusion…
What is a Bridge?
A fixed dental bridge is most often used to replace a single missing tooth after it has been extracted or lost due to injury, decay or other cause. A fixed bridge is a non-removable structure that consists of a man-made replacement tooth in the center attached to a crown on each side. The replacement tooth is called a pontic and the two anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth. The device is secured via the two crowns that anchor the bridge on each side of the gap, while the pontic seamlessly fills in the empty space. While bridges are most commonly used for patients needing to replace one tooth, depending on the location within the mouth, they may also be used to replace two or more missing teeth.
Are There Different Types of Bridges Used For Different Dental Circumstances?
Most bridges are made of porcelain, ceramic, resin, gold, metal alloy or some combination thereof, with the most common being porcelain, porcelain-fused-to-metal or ceramic. Made from these materials, there are three primary types of bridges:
- Traditional Fixed Bridge – As described above, this type of device consists of two crowns with one or more pontics in between.
- Cantilever Bridge – This device consists of only one anchoring crown plus the pontic(s) and is used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth.
- Maryland Bonded Bridge – This type of device does not use crowns to anchor the device, but uses metal framework that is bonded to the back of the adjacent natural teeth.
What Other Tooth Restoration Options are Available?
Although dental bridges are sometimes the best method to replace one or more missing teeth, today’s advanced technology allows dental professionals to offer alternate treatments, including:
- Implants – One or more missing teeth can be restored with dental implants, which use a titanium post that is secured into the jawbone on which a replacement tooth is placed. The process is more expensive and more time consuming than a traditional bridge, however.
- Implant Supported Bridge – This device is similar to a traditional bridge, but uses dental implants to anchor the multi-tooth bridge, instead of it being attached to adjacent teeth. It is commonly recommended for patients with three or more missing teeth in a row.
- Removable Dentures – This device can easily be removed for cleaning and is usually made of replacement teeth fixed to a plastic gum-colored base that attaches onto your natural teeth with metal clasps (if partial) or that is secured to the gum with adhesive (if full).
Is a Bridge the Right Choice for Me?
The best restorative option for you will depend on your overall oral health, as well as other factors such as budget, desired outcome, etc. Although most patients will be a good candidate for more than one option, not all patients will be a perfect match for some of the preparative procedures involved with receiving dental implants or fixed dental bridges. Your dentist can perform an oral examination, assess your oral health and determine the best option(s) for you.
For more information about dental bridges and other tooth replacement options, contact Gentle Dental in Queens at 718-461-0100.