What Is a Dental Bridge?

Sometimes known as a fixed partial denture, a dental bridge is a form of dental restoration that is used to bridge the gap when you have one or more missing teeth. By adjoining adjacent teeth and replacing the missing tooth with a false replica, you can restore your smile and avoid the embarrassment often associated with having a missing tooth. Simply put, a bridge is false tooth, also known as a pontic that is connected to two crowns made from porcelain. In turn, these crowns are affixed to nearby teeth almost literally creating a bridge over a gap created by missing teeth.

There are different types of bridges, each appropriate for different parts of your mouth. The first type of bridge commonly used in cosmetic dentistry is the traditional fixed bridge. Fixed bridges, unlike dentures can not be removed from your mouth. In this standard form of a dental bridge, the pontic is attached to crowns which are similarly attached to the teeth on either side of the missing tooth. One or more missing teeth can be replaced by a traditional fixed bridge.

In addition, the resin bonded bridges are another common form of bridge. Resin bonded bridges are mostly used to replace missing front teeth and tend to be less expensive than other types of dental bridges. The resin bonded bridges provide an especially effective treatment when the bridge is formed between healthy teeth that do not have fillings. In the case of the resin bonded bridge, the pontic is attached using metal bands that are bonded to healthy teeth with resin that is virtually invisible. Resin bonded bridges tend to be easier to prepare and have less of an impact on adjacent teeth.

Finally, cantilever bridges are used in areas of your mouth that are under the least amount of stress. Similar to resin bonded bridges, cantilever dental bridges are good for your front teeth and are especially effective in situations where the gap is next to only one healthy tooth. Cantilever bridges require that the pontic is anchored to one or more natural teeth on just one side.

Dental bridges can be an excellent, cost reducing treatment for missing teeth. When compared with dental implants, dental bridges are a more temporary solution but they are also less expensive. Furthermore, this type of solution provide a natural appearance and the procedure usually requires only one or two visits. While dental bridges look real and can last up to 10 years, they can increase temperature sensitivity for the first few weeks after treatment. In addition, proper oral hygiene becomes more important when you have a bridge as the build up of bacteria on teeth and gums may become infected.

If you have missing teeth but otherwise good oral hygiene, you should speak to your dentist about dental bridges. Spaces left open in your mouth may cause your teeth to drift out of position, not to mention the stigma attached with having missing teeth.