Dental bridges literally bridge the gap left by a missing tooth, recreating a complete, healthy-looking smile. If you have a missing tooth, filling it with a dental bridge can reestablish your ability to bite, chew and smile comfortably; the bridge can also help to restore clear speech and pronunciation. Placing a bridge prevents problems with your remaining teeth and bite. With the gap bridged, your regular teeth stay in their proper position and your bite remains aligned.
Dr. Chris McDonald takes pride in creating customized treatment plans for his patients. He will work with you to evaluate your needs and determine the best plan of action for your oral health — whether that includes the placement of a dental bridge or another solution.
Types of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges are held in place by support from the adjacent teeth in your mouth.
Traditional dental bridges are made from an artificial tooth, called a pontic, bookended by two dental crowns. The pontic fits snugly into the gap left by the missing tooth, and the crowns cover the teeth on either side of the gap. Traditional bridges are ideal for cases where there are natural teeth on both sides of the gap left by the missing tooth.
Cantilever Dental Bridges
Cantilever dental bridges consist of a pontic held in place by a single dental crown. The pontic fits into the gap and the crown covers the tooth on one side of the gap. Cantilever crowns are used in cases where there is only one natural tooth next to the gap.
Like traditional bridges, Maryland dental bridges are made from a pontic that relies on support from two teeth, one on either side of the gap. But instead of using crowns to hold the pontic in place, Maryland bridges use a metal or porcelain framework that is cemented to the backs of the natural teeth adjacent to the gap.
Implant-supported bridges are fixed into place with implant posts. Each end of the dental bridge is supported by an individual dental implant post. No natural teeth are needed to support the bridge. Implant-supported bridges are a good option when as many as three to five teeth need to be replaced at once.
Dental Bridge Placement Process
Placing a dental bridge normally takes at least two appointments.
During the first appointment, Dr. McDonald prepares your natural teeth on one or both sides of the gap left by the missing tooth. He must remove a small amount of natural tooth structure and shape the teeth to be crowned. The affected area of your mouth is numbed so you do not feel any pain or discomfort as Dr. McDonald works.
Once your teeth are prepared, Dr. McDonald takes impressions of the area to send to the dental laboratory that constructs your bridge. The restoration will be color-matched to your remaining teeth. Dr. McDonald may place a temporary bridge to protect your prepared teeth from damage while your permanent restoration is being made.
Once your custom bridge is ready, the second visit takes place. Dr. McDonald removes the provisional bridge and tries the permanent bridge on in your mouth to check its fit and feel. If you are happy with how your bridge looks and feels, Dr. McDonald cements it into place.
With the proper at-home oral care and regular dental check-ups, your bridge can last for years.
To learn more about dental bridges, please contact McDonald Family Dentistry by calling or sending us an email.