When a patient is missing multiple teeth, a bridge may be recommended to close the gap, improve bite strength and restore appearance.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
Dental bridges consist of a pontic, or series of false teeth, supported by an abutment or crowns attached to the adjacent teeth. Typically, a bridge is made of porcelain to blend in with the surrounding teeth but gold and alloy options also exist. With proper maintenance and regular checkups, a typical bridge can last 10 to 15 years.
A bridge is more than an aesthetic solution. Missing teeth can tilt or shift, moving into the empty space and posing challenges for cleaning. This occurrence affects bite strength, creating issues whenever you eat and placing additional stress on other teeth. This combination of factors can:
- Leave a patient in pain
- Damage or injure other teeth
- Result in gum disease or tooth decay
- Result in jawbone loss, which can make a patient appear aged
Whether for accident-related tooth damage, existing decay or a congenital condition, a bridge helps reduce the stress placed on your other teeth. For this restorative procedure, a patient needs to have secure, healthy teeth or jawbone to support the pontic.
Types of Dental Bridges
Depending on the state of your oral health, a dentist may recommend one of the following solutions:
- Traditional Dental Bridge: The crown is cemented to the neighboring teeth to support the abutment. This option is most ideal if the supporting teeth are sturdy.
- Maryland Dental Bridge: Also requiring two teeth for support, this solution bonds the pontic with metal or porcelain to the neighboring teeth.
- Implant-Supported Dental Bridges: Considered stronger than a traditional bridge, this solution adds an implant for every missing tooth and attaches the pontic to the implants. Another option, two implants may be added on either side of the gap to support a pontic. Learn more about how an implant-supported bridge works.
About the Procedure
If your dentist has recommended a bridge, the abutment will first be prepared. Typically, this entails:
- Contouring the neighboring teeth by removing part of the enamel to provide space for a crown.
- Taking impressions of the teeth to create the bridge, crowns and pontic. This information will be sent to a lab to create these components.
- Giving the patient a temporary bridge to protect the exposed teeth and gums.
Once the permanent bridge is ready, it will be fitted to the gap and cemented to the neighboring teeth at your next visit. From there, your dentist will schedule additional follow-up visits to assess its structure and bite, with minor adjustments made as needed.
A dental bridge is permanent and requires the same degree of care as the rest of your teeth. Following the procedure, maintaining your bridge will require:
- Brushing and flossing twice per day
- Using an antiseptic mouthwash to reduce tooth decay and gum loss
- Scheduling regular cleanings
- Addressing your diet to limit tooth decay long term
Why Consider a Dental Bridge?
Among the restorative options available, a dental bridge:
- Offers an affordable, effective solution for restoring your smile
- Helps you properly chew food without placing additional stress on your other teeth
- Can help improve speech and pronunciation
- Helps to maintain the shape of your face
- Prevents teeth from shifting inside of your mouth
Experiencing pain after a recent dental bridge procedure? We see same-day emergency visits!