A dental bridge is a fixed prosthetic used to fill the gap caused by one or more missing teeth. The bridge can be cemented to either the natural teeth or to implants on either side of the gap. This process prevents shifting and misalignment of the remaining teeth around the gap while ensuring a correct bite profile.
Dental bridges are the common option for replacing missing teeth. The four common types of bridges are listed and explained below.
The traditional bridge is the most popular. This bridge can comprise one or more pontics (artificial teeth) and are held in place by crowns. These crowns are called abutments which are cemented onto the natural teeth at both sides of the gap.
The downside to a traditional bridge is the preparation of the natural teeth for the abutments. The enamel on the natural teeth is removed to make room for the bridge. With the enamel permanently removed, these teeth will always need to be protected by the crowns.
A cantilever bridge is used when there is only one natural tooth adjacent to the gap. The natural tooth is prepared the same as with a traditional bridge, but the pontic is supported only by one abutment. Because of this, the cantilever bridge can act as a lever causing fractured teeth or loosened crowns.
This type of bridge is considered the conservative alternative to the traditional bridge. The pontic is held in place by a metal or a porcelain framework, and this framework is bonded to the back of the adjacent natural teeth. Therefore, the natural teeth are not prepared, or crowned, like those anchoring a traditional bridge.
The downside to a Maryland bridge is its function. The strength of this bridge is as strong as the bonding resin. This bridge may not stay in place in areas of the mouth subject to the full force of biting.
These bridges are supported by implanted rods instead of by crowns or a framework. Typically, one rod is implanted for each missing tooth, and the series of implants support and hold the bridge in place.
The downside to these bridges is the requirement of two surgical procedures. The first procedure is to place the implant, and the second procedure is to place the bridge. The expected time for a finished bridge can be up to five months.
Regardless of the bridge type, a dental bridge can last a lifetime. Along with consistent oral hygiene, an important step to ensure the longevity of a dental bridge is to avoid the biting and the chewing of hard foods, hard objects and ice.
If you would like a consultation regarding the types of dental bridges, then please contact the oral healthcare professionals at Lynn Alan Palmer, DDS, located in Houston, where new patients are always welcome.
Lynn Alan Palmer, DDS is trusted and highly recommended for dental bridges, as well as other treatments and procedures in general, cosmetic and restorative dentistry.