Benefits of a Dental Bridge - Smile Dental Center
placing dental bridge on implants

If you have multiple missing or damaged teeth in a row, a dental bridge helps restore bite strength and the appearance of your smile in less time than it takes to receive implants.

A dental bridge is a type of restorative solution that replaces one or several missing teeth. Generally, this includes two crowns placed on both sides of the gap. Also called abutment teeth, the crowns anchor the bridge, which is made up of one or more false teeth called pontics. Yet alternatives have emerged, including the use of existing teeth for support – called a Maryland bridge – or adding implants instead of crowns.

A dental bridge can improve how you eat and speak, as well as provide an alternative to dentures. Abutments and pontics mimic the appearance and shape of your teeth and are made with porcelain, an alloy or gold. Learn more about the benefits of dental bridges.

What Is a Dental Bridge?

A dental bridge consists of two fixed teeth and one or more pontics to replace any missing teeth. The basic formats include:

  • A traditional bridge, in which two crowns anchor the series of pontics in between.
  • A Maryland bridge, which uses wing-shaped resin bonding to align the pontics with the rest of your teeth and is typically recommended for the front of your mouth.
  • Implant-supported bridges, which anchor the pontics with two dental implants.
  • Cantilever bridges, an older alternative involving a single crown to support a series of pontics.

Dentists recommend bridges for patients missing at least one tooth, who do not have another dental condition, maintain their oral hygiene and have sufficient bone structure to support the crowns or implants.

Understand that damage to existing teeth can also affect the bridge and decay can progress underneath one or both crowns. These factors can cause the bridge to loosen or collapse, which may necessitate a series of implants.

Most bridges include a series of porcelain teeth secured with a metal or ceramic crown.

Getting a Dental Bridge

Most dental bridges involve two procedures. However, an implant-supported bridge requires more time, due to the process of osseointegration, and a Maryland bridge requires less time, as the dentist doesn’t need to prepare your teeth. Overall, getting a bridge entails:

  • Taking a digital scan or physical impression of your teeth.
  • Preparing the abutment teeth, including contouring and removing enamel for a crown or setting metal posts for implants. Maryland bridges involve some etching.
  • Having a model created of your teeth, which your dentist or a third-party lab uses to design the crowns and pontics.
  • Wearing a temporary bridge until the full system is ready.
  • Once the bridge has been made, your dentist checks to ensure the crowns and pontics fit and cements them in place. Cementing may be temporary to give you time to get used to the system before your dentist adds a permanent bond.

Why Get a Dental Bridge?

Dental bridges offer multiple benefits, including:

  • Smile Restoration: Especially when you have multiple missing or damaged teeth, a dental bridge efficiently closes the gap and results in a more natural-looking smile.
  • Speech: Having missing or damaged teeth restored makes it easier for you to speak naturally and pronounce words.
  • Facial Structure: The crowns or implants added help stimulate your jawbone, reducing atrophy and preserving facial structure. This reinforcement further prevents your existing teeth from shifting, which can affect your bite and increase decay risks.
  • Chewing: A bridge helps even out your bite strength, so you’re able to chew better and eventually eat a wider range of foods. Prior to receiving a bridge, an individual may only chew on one side of their mouth or only consume softer foods.
  • Stability: Compared to traditional dentures, a bridge restores part of your smile and is far less likely to slip out of your mouth. In fact, the pontics will only be removed for a professional dental cleaning.
  • Lifespan: Bridges have the same lifespan as crowns, with an average five to seven years of use. Maintaining proper dental hygiene can extend their lifespan further.
  • Less Invasive: Traditional crown-supported and Maryland bridges are less invasive than implants and require less healing time.
  • Insurance: Most dental insurance carriers cover the partial or full costs associated with receiving a dental bridge.

If you’re concerned about the appearance of your teeth, your speech or how well you chew, discuss the pros and cons of dental bridges. To schedule an appointment, contact us today!