Dental bridges are a very popular restorative dentistry solution that can be used to replace multiple teeth that are missing or require extraction. This could be because of severe decay or gum disease, or due to damage sustained by trauma such as a blow to the mouth.
The basic design of a dental bridge is a false tooth, which sits in the gap left by the missing tooth, and crowns on either side. These crowns sit over the top of the healthy adjacent teeth, securing the restoration in place.
There are actually several different types of dental bridges. These include:
Traditional Bridge. A traditional bridge is a variety described above, which contains at least one artificial tooth, called a pontic, and crowns that sit over the top of healthy adjacent teeth to secure it in place.
Cantilever Bridge. This type of bridge is used when the patient only has healthy teeth to support it on one side, for example, if the bridge needs to go at the back of the mouth. However, since they are only supported on one side, they are typically less stable than traditional bridges.
Maryland Bridge. This type of bridge is also sometimes known as a front bridge because it is used to replace those missing teeth in the very front of the mouth. Rather than browns to support them, Maryland bridges use metal or porcelain bands to secure the false teeth to the back of the adjacent natural teeth.
Implant-supported Bridge. This is where a bridge of artificial teeth is supported on dental implants rather than being attached to natural teeth. Also known as a dental implant bridge, this style is generally considered the most secure and stable of all bridges but does require invasive surgery to place it.
The process to get a dental bridge usually requires several appointments. This is so that impressions can be taken to design your artificial teeth and crowns and to prepare adjacent teeth to receive the crowns that will support your bridge.
If you are having crowns placed over the abutment teeth, they may need to be filed down a little so that the crowns fit properly.
Impressions of your teeth will be used to create your bridge, which will be made in the perfect shape and size to fit into the available space.
A temporary bridge will be placed over the abutment teeth to protect them while your bespoke permanent bridge is being made.
Finally, you’ll return to have your temporary restoration removed and your permanent bridge checked for fit, and then secured into place.
If you are having a dental implant bridge, you’ll need to have your implants placed first. Your dental implant dentist will talk you through what you can expect from this fairly extensive process.
Before you can be approved for a dental bridge, you’ll first have to attend a consultation with your dentist who will assess your teeth and mouth to discover if a bridge is the most appropriate solution for you. Typically, people who are good candidates for a dental bridge:
Are missing between one and four consecutive teeth.
Have lost these teeth or require them to be extracted as a result of severe decay or trauma.
Are struggling to bite and chew their food normally because of the gap in their teeth.
Are finding that their missing teeth are affecting their ability to speak.
Your dentist will also need to feel assured that the teeth on either side of the gap that will support your bridge are healthy and strong enough to do so. This is because, over time, the bridge can place a significant amount of pressure onto them. If the teeth adjacent to where you need the bridge aren’t strong or healthy enough, you may need to consider a different solution, like an implant-supported bridge instead.
If you would like to find out more about dental bridges, please schedule an appointment with our knowledgeable and experienced dental team in Atlanta, GA.