If you are missing teeth, your dentist can close — or bridge — the gaps in your smile with dental bridges. A dental bridge is a false tooth (called a pontic) secured by the abutment teeth on either side of the gap. Although pontics can come from a variety of materials such as gold, they’re also made from porcelain to blend in with your natural teeth.

Benefits of Dental Bridges:

They can:

  • Restore your smile
  • Restore the ability to chew and speak
  • Maintain the shape of your face
  • Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position

Dental bridge types and their properties

Not everyone would want the same Dental bridges so there four main types of dental bridges:

  • traditional
  • cantilever
  • Maryland
  • implant-supported

Traditional dental bridge

This bridge consists of a false tooth or teeth held in place by dental crowns cemented onto each of the abutment teeth. This is the most popular type of dental bridge and compliments when you have natural teeth on both sides of the gap created by your missing tooth.

Cantilever dental bridge

Even though it’s like a traditional bridge, the pontic instead stays by the use of a dental crown that’s cemented to only one abutment tooth. For this bridge, you only need one natural tooth next to the missing tooth gap.

Maryland dental bridge

With much similarity to a traditional bridge, Maryland dental bridges use two natural abutment teeth, one on each side of the gap. But, while a traditional bridge uses dental crowns on the abutment teeth, a Maryland bridge uses a framework of either metal or porcelain that’s bonded onto the backs of the abutment teeth. Also it can only work when you have a natural tooth on each side of the gap caused by the missing tooth or teeth.

Implant-supported dental bridge

As implied, implant-supported bridges use dental implants to replace every missing tooth, and these implants hold the bridge in position. If one implant for each missing tooth isn’t possible, the bridge may have a pontic suspended between two implant-supported crowns.

How to get a Dental Bridge?

Once you have decided that you want a dental bridge, look for a dentist in your area (whether using parsapages or yellow pages) that specializes in dental bridges and book your consultation. After your consultation then your appointment. Upon the first appointment for getting a dental bridge, creation of the abutment teeth are completed. To prepare, the teeth are re-contoured by removing a part of enamel to allow room for a crown to be placed over them. Then the impressions of the teeth are made, which serve as a model from which the bridge, pontic, and crowns will be made by a dental lab. The dentist will make a temporary bridge to be worn so as to protect the exposed teeth and gums while the bridge is being made.

At the second visit, your temporary bridge will be removed and replaced with the new porcelain or metal bridge once checked and adjusted, as necessary, to achieve a proper fit. Many visits may be required to check the fit of the metal framework and bite. This is dependent on each individual’s case. If the dental bridge is a fixed bridge, your dentist may cement it in place for a couple of weeks to make sure it is fitting. Few weeks after, the bridge is cemented into place. 

Cost for Dental Bridges

 Dental bridges are an affordable tooth replacement option. The cost varies depending on your location, but some dental insurance will pay a percentage of the fee depending on your individual dental plan.

How Long Do Dental Bridges Last?

Usually they can last anywhere between 5 to 15 years and even longer. Once good oral hygiene and regular checkups are practiced, it is not unusual for the life span of a fixed bridge to be over 10 years.

Can you eat with a dental bridge?

After you get a dental bridge it should actually make eating easier, but until you become accustomed to the bridge, eat soft foods that have been cut into small pieces.

Will the Dental Bridge Change How I Speak?

It can be difficult to understand someone when their teeth are missing. So wearing a dental bridge will help you speak better, if not improve it.

How Do I Care for a Bridge?

 Generally constant plaque and tartar build-up can result in decay, cavities, tooth loss and disease if not cleaned regularly. Its best to try and remain teeth healthy, for the success of the bridge (depending on the type selected) depends on the solid foundation offered by the surrounding teeth. Brushing twice a day and flossing and using an antiseptic mouthwash daily help prevent tooth decay and gum disease that can lead to tooth loss. Your dentist or dental hygienist can show how to brush in the right way as well as floss the teeth. Regular cleaning schedules will help diagnose problems at an early stage when treatment has a better prognosis. Ensure a balanced diet for proper nutrition as this is also important.