Dental bridge treatment is one of the ways to replace lost teeth without the use of a dental implant or denture. As seen from the pictures, a false (pontic) tooth is held in place by being bonded to the two teeth on either side of the space, literally bridging the gap between two teeth. The one or two supporting teeth are known as abutment teeth.
The pontic can be made from different materials depending on its position in the mouth and patient preference. Common materials include porcelain, gold, alloys, or a combination of these materials. If the teeth adjacent to a gap are not strong enough, or if the gap that needs filling is too big, a dental implant may be placed to support the bridge.
If you are considering getting dental bridge treatment, there are four types of placement that your dentist may recommend:
Traditional dental bridges pictures
This is the most popular type of dental bridge. It comprises one or multiple pontics anchored to the teeth adjacent to the gap using crowns (abutments). Traditional bridges are recommended for patients with healthy natural teeth on either side of the gap. The assembly is strong enough to replace both front and back teeth. One shortcoming, though, is that a portion of the tooth enamel of the healthy adjacent teeth has to be removed for the crowns to be cemented on top.
This type of bridge is similar to a traditional bridge, except that the pontic is anchored to only one tooth rather than two on either side. This option is usually recommended for patients with only one healthy natural tooth on one side of the gap. The pontic is bonded via a crown. Though cantilever bridges are strong, the lever effect increases the risk of loosened crowns or fractured abutment tooth if excessive pressure is applied on the fake tooth.
This is an alternative to traditional bridges if you don’t want to damage your natural teeth. The pontic is held in place by a porcelain or metal framework that is attached to the back surface of healthy natural teeth on either side of the gap. The advantage of Maryland bridges is that the healthy teeth don’t need to be filed. However, the tooth replacement is not as strong as with traditional braces, making it likely to fail if used for the molars.
Implant supported bridges
This option is ideal for patients with multiple missing teeth. The pontics are supported by implants rather than crowns or frameworks. Because of the strength and reliability of implants, the resulting bridgework is as strong as for traditional supported bridges. However, the procedure takes longer as you have to wait for the dental implant to be placed and heal before the bridge can be cemented.
Advantages of dental bridge treatment
Dental bridge treatment offers a few benefits, including:
- Restoration of the function of your mouth – chewing and speaking
- Restoration of your smile
- Proper distribution of mastication forces
- Preventing the remaining teeth from shifting out of position
- Maintaining the shape of your face
Please get in touch with your dentist’s office to find out whether you are a suitable candidate for dental bridges, or to discuss about alternative tooth replacement options, like dental implants and dentures.