Dental Bridges

What Is A Dental Bridge?

For one reason or another people may find themselves in a position where they have lost one or more teeth. The gaps created by the loss of a tooth is often addressed with a bridge. They are fundamentally a set of two or more crowns that hold up a false tooth, otherwise known as a pontic, in between them. They are called bridges because they literally bridge the gap found in the mouth. While we may know the idiom to “bridge the gap” in wider culture as a bringing together of two seemingly unrelated things, it is quite a physical iteration of the phrase among dentists.

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Tooth loss can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes people lose their teeth due to gum disease, cavities of the darkest nature, or by way of some kind of injury. Our teeth may be strong, but they aren’t Superman all on their own and have no superpowers of regeneration. Alas, bridges are a simple solution that provide for the modern patient with recent advances in porcelain construction. It’s a good thing too, as porcelain teeth have replaced the use of wooden teeth which were often made from impressions of beeswax to help shape them in the 16th century.

There are four distinct types of dental bridges. The first is the traditional bridge, which includes a false tooth or teeth held up by two dental crowns which are cemented to one another. It is the most popular type of dental bridge and needs the use of two natural teeth on either side. The second bridge, a cantilever dental bridge, is different from traditional bridges in only one way. Cantilever bridges rely on one natural tooth and the pontic is cemented to only one crown instead of two. The third style is called a Maryland dental bridge. It uses two natural abutment teeth, and instead of affixing crowns on top, will use a framework on the backs of the abutment teeth to support the pontic. It is more conservative than the traditional bridge, and often uses a mix of metal and dental ceramic to support the floating tooth. The last kind of bridge is used in conjunction with an implant. Surgery to provide a post for the implant for the missing tooth or teeth is installed, and bridges are later provided. This option is generally for replacing large sections of gaps and missing teeth.

The pontics and crowns can be made from a variety of materials. While many modern consumers prefer the look of porcelain which  mimics the color of natural teeth, they can be made from gold, alloys, or a combination. 

Bridges are terrific at replacing missing teeth and restoring the feel of a mouth. They can also be wonderful for addressing misshapen or problem teeth that have always existed. Getting bridges placed can restore the ability to properly chew, speak, and help distribute even pressure for biting. They also may prevent other natural teeth from drifting or rearranging themselves in the space left over from a missing tooth.

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