What you need to know about Dental Bridges
What is a dental bridge?
Dental bridges are aimed at restoring function and aesthetics. Generally, dental bridges most often replace one or two missing teeth. A dental bridge fills the space between two teeth by using anchor teeth called abutments to hold a “floating tooth” between them (which fills the space). The “floating tooth” (or teeth if the the bridge replaces two teeth) is called a pontic.
During a dental bridge procedure, two specially-fitted crowns are created and placed on the abutment (or the anchoring teeth) on both sides of the gap where the tooth is missing. The pontic (or “floating tooth”), which is made to look as natural as your other teeth, then fills that gap.
Types of dental bridges
There are three main types of dental bridges: traditional bridges, cantilever bridges, and Maryland bonded bridges. Each type is used for different purposes and your dental team will work with you to determine the type of dental bridge is best suited for your needs.
Traditional bridges are the most common type of dental bridge. They’re made from either ceramic or porcelain that’s fused to metal. Traditional bridges require healthy, natural teeth on either side of the gap to serve as anchors. These teeth need to be altered with crowns placed on top in order to securely place the pontic tooth. This ensures that the bridge is strong enough to be supported.
Like other types of bridges, a cantilever bridge requires anchor teeth to support the bridge. Unlike traditional bridges, however, a cantilever bridge only uses teeth on one side of the missing tooth and is commonly used if the back tooth is missing.
Maryland Bonded Bridges
Maryland bonded bridges are most often used to fill in gaps caused by missing front teeth and do not require extensive reshaping of the neighboring teeth. Unlike traditional bridges – where teeth must be filed down to make room for crowns – Maryland bridges only file down a small portion behind the anchor teeth to make room for two ‘wings’ which are bonded to the neighboring teeth to hold the pontic tooth in place. These bridges are not meant to bear significant chewing forces.
Which type of dental bridge is right for me?
Each of the different types of dental bridges are designed for unique purposes and situations. The location of your missing tooth and the condition of the surrounding teeth – among other factors – will help to inform your dental team about the best type of dental bridge to use. Additionally, there are different types of materials used for dental bridges, including ceramic, porcelain, and porcelain that’s infused to metal. Your dental team will help you to decide the best option for your needs.
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