It is a dental restoration procedure done to replace a missing tooth or more. The procedure works by using an artificial tooth and joining it to adjacent teeth to bridge the gap of the missing tooth. In a situation where there aren’t adjacent teeth, implants are used. The artificial tooth used as a bridge is referred to as pontic.
The pontics are made of several materials. The standard material is porcelain, which is great in blending aesthetically with the natural color and feel of your teeth. In some cases, patients prefer pontics that stand out, including gold.
Dental bridges come in fours. The four main types are:
A traditional bridge is the most common type of dental bridge. For this bridge to be installed, you need to have natural teeth on both sides of the missing tooth. This is because the false tooth used for the treatment is usually attached to the crowns beforehand. During installation, the crowns are cemented to the natural teeth while the pontic attaches to the gap of the missing tooth. The dental crowns are also known as abutments.
Like traditional bridges, cantilever bridges require support from a dental crown. The difference between the two, however, is that cantilever bridges only need support from one abutment. The dentists are professionals, so you can be assured of the stability and steadiness of the artificial tooth.
Maryland bridges are a little different from the previous two types. The support of the pontics in not be dental crowns, but rather metal or porcelain frameworks. The strength of the frameworks often determines the stability of the artificial tooth. These bridges are not common for fixing molar gaps.
Implant-supported bridges rely on dental implants to get the job done. An implant is placed to support the pontics in the gap of the missing tooth.
After x-rays to determine the state of your bone structure, you are ready for dental bridges. The process involves making a dental crown for the tooth adjacent to the gap. The crown helps anchor and support the artificial tooth that is used to bridge the space. How the procedure is performed depends on the type of bridge you get.
When getting the traditional bridges, the enamels of your adjacent teeth have to be removed. Since the pontic requires support from the abutments of the adjacent teeth, the dentist has to take out both enamels to make room for the dental crowns. This also means that the two adjacent teeth always need the protection of a dental crown.
The procedure for cantilever bridges is more or less similar to that of traditional bridges. The difference comes in where the dentist only removes the enamel of one adjacent tooth to offer support. Depending on where the missing tooth is, don’t be surprised if you need to wear a mouthguard when engaging in intense activities. This will help prevent fractured teeth and lose crowns, which is very common for cantilever bridges.
Maryland bridges do not require support from dental crowns. This means you will not need to get rid of any enamel from your healthy teeth. The bridges rely on metal or porcelain frameworks to support the pontic. To protect the stability of the attachment for a long time, the procedure is not done on molars. The reason is that molars are exposed to a lot of hard chewing that might loosen the framework, or come in the way of your bite. It is also a measure to reduce gum injuries that might push you to need gum grafting.
When it comes to implant-supported bridges, surgery is required. An implant has to be placed on your jawbone surgically. The implant acts as the support for the pontic. However, in cases where one implant is not sufficient to anchor the pontic, two implant-supported crowns are used. A patient has to go through two surgeries with an implant-supported bridge. The first surgery involves placing the dental implants in the jawbone. The other surgery is to install the pontic. It is considered the most secure dental bridge for missing teeth.