Are you embarrassed because of lost teeth? Does this interfere with your smile, talking, or eating?

Getting dental bridges may resolve these problems and help you improve your dental health and confidence.

There are now 4 different options available for dental bridges. Read on to learn more about how this esthetic dental treatment can restore your smile and find out if it’s right for you.

What Is an Esthetic Dentist?

Esthetic or aesthetic dentistry describes a combining of the art and science of dentistry. By combining technical and artistic skills, aesthetic dentists create visually appealing and functional results.

The first step involves diagnosing the problem and creating a treatment plan with you. This plan emphasizes restoring dental health and function. Esthetic dentistry also involves designing a cosmetically appealing outcome.

Communication between you and the dentist is the key to success. It’s important that you understand the treatment plan and procedure as well as the anticipated results.

Purpose of Dental Bridges

Dental bridges “bridge the gap” between one or more teeth.

Dental bridges help restore lost teeth and your confident smile. You may have lost teeth in an accident or due to gum disease. If you aren’t a candidate for a dental implant, a bridge may be your answer.

Filling the gap left from a lost tooth can help with speaking and chewing. A bridge also keeps other teeth from shifting out of place due to the gap.

A common type of bridge has a crown on the teeth beside the gap. A false tooth or teeth, known as pontics, are then connected to the two crowns. The crowned teeth, called abutment teeth, support the false tooth/teeth between them.

The materials used to make bridges include gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials.

Types of Dental Bridges

There are different types of dental bridges used for different purposes. These include the following:

1. Traditional Fixed Bridges

This style of bridge has the crown on each abutment tooth beside the gap. The pontic tooth or teeth are often made of porcelain fused to metal or ceramics. The crowned teeth anchor the filler teeth in place.

2. Cantilever Bridges

This bridge design prepares an abutment tooth on only one side of the gap. The pontic is then located outside of the abutment tooth. There are several reasons for choosing this approach including:

  • When, for aesthetic reasons, it’s not preferable to prepare abutment teeth on both sides of the gap
  • When there are only abutment teeth available on one side of the gap
  • When the abutment teeth on one side of the gap are already part of another prosthetic restoration

Cantilever bridges involve careful planning. This bridge increases axis forces on the abutment teeth when the pontic is only supported from one side. This can make the abutment teeth unstable.

There are two types of cantilever bridges.

Pontic Placed Toward Front of Mouth

If the gap is in front of the abutment teeth, this is often the method of choice. Chewing pressure is less in the front of the mouth than the back.

This type of bridge should only include one pontic and it is best to use more than one abutment tooth. If the abutment tooth is a canine or molar, these provide good support to the bridge.

Pontic Places Toward the Back of the Mouth

When this bridge requires placement at the back of the mouth, there is a concern for the abutment tooth. When the gap is behind the abutment teeth, they experience high chewing forces.

This could cause the abutment teeth to become loose, which may jeopardize the entire bridge.

This approach may be used as a temporary restoration. Or, it may be used when the patient does not want or can’t afford dentures or dental implants. The patient must understand the risks involved in the abutment teeth and the life of the bridge.

3. Maryland Bonded Bridges

This type of bridge is also called a resin-bonded bridge or a Maryland bridge. It’s made from porcelain that’s fused to a metal tooth. A metal framework supports this tooth.

The framework has metal wings on each side of the bridge which are bonded to your natural teeth. This style of bridge is often used to replace front teeth.

4. Fixed Implant Bridges

A fixed implant bridge uses dental implants placed in the jawbone. A porcelain tooth restoration is then secured to the implant. This type of bridge is not removable.

This type of bridge attaches to the dental implants, providing a permanent solution. It functions and looks like your natural teeth.

These bridges aren’t susceptible to normal biting and chewing forces. They also help to preserve the jawbone structure. You are free to eat, talk, and smile without concern for your prosthetic coming loose.

Questions to Ask Your Dentist About Dental Bridges

Before undergoing any dental procedure, it’s important to understand what to expect. Here are some questions to help you create your own list before you visit your dentist.

  • Why do I need a bridge?
  • What types of bridges are available at your practice?
  • Which type of bridge is recommended for me?
  • What are the benefits of this type of bridge?
  • What are the risks associated with this type of bridge?
  • Do I need to do anything to prepare for the procedure?
  • Will this procedure be done in one visit or more?
  • What can I expect during the procedure?
  • Can I drive myself for the procedure?
  • Will my insurance pay for the procedure?

Having full knowledge of what to expect before, during, and after the procedure will decrease your worries. This allows you to be an active participant in your care.

Do You Need Dental Bridges?

Our office focuses on unique, individualized care. We use the latest advances available in dental technology. This allows for a broader range of options, such as dental bridges, to solve your dental needs.

We value dental health education. You can explore our site to find articles about veneers, implants, alternatives to traditional braces and more. Contact us today to learn more and make an appointment.