Whether you’re missing teeth due to tooth decay, an oral injury, an illness, or lack of a proper dental hygiene routine, dental bridges are a great natural-looking solution to close the gap in your mouth. Dental bridges can be used to fill in either one tooth-spaced gap or multiple tooth-spaced gaps depending on the extent of the damage.
Oftentimes, teeth can fall out due to extensive tooth decay or other issues. Sometimes, people tend to lose teeth as they get older. Dental bridges aren’t just for missing teeth, however; they can also be used to cover up cracked or damaged teeth and prevent them from getting worse. Keep reading to learn more about dental bridges to see if this is the right solution for your teeth problems.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
As the name suggests, a dental bridge is an appliance that literally “bridges” or closes gaps between teeth. Dental bridges can be made out of a variety of materials such as metal (cobalt/chromium combination, silver, palladium, or gold) or porcelain. In some cases, they can even consist of a combination of both porcelain and metal.
Porcelain is the most commonly used material, though, because it’s the most natural-looking and is easier to blend in with your existing teeth. Dental bridges are composed of pontics (false teeth) and the surrounding teeth are referred to as abutments.
When your dentist installs a dental bridge, they essentially attach the pontic(s) to the surrounding abutment to hold it in place. Dental bridges can either be fixed (permanent) or removable (temporary). Permanent dental bridges are more commonly used as they’re much lower maintenance and can typically last approximately 10-15 years before they need to be replaced. Temporary dental bridges usually require more maintenance and separate cleaning after being removed as they’re more prone to food particles being lodged inside them. These are sometimes referred to as removable partial dentures.
Types of Dental Bridges
Depending on your specific needs, there are several types of dental bridges that your dentist my recommend. Permanent dental bridges are the most common type as they’re usually more affordable and lower maintenance followed by implant-supported bridges. Keep in mind that some dentists specialize solely in specific types of dental bridges and may need to refer you to a specialist if you choose a type that they’re not qualified to install.
All dental bridges are made to look exactly like your natural teeth in terms of shape, size, and colour so no one will ever know the difference.
Permanent or Fixed Dental Bridges
Dental crowns are used to secure the pontics firmly in place. To eliminate the chances of misalignment occurring over time, the dental crowns are affixed directly to the abutment teeth using a strong dental adhesive/cement. Permanent dental bridges are the most common and traditional form of this procedure. They’re very easy to maintain and can be cared for just like your natural teeth.
Cantilever Dental Bridge
Cantilever dental bridges are almost exactly like permanent or fixed bridges, with one main difference. Rather than being cemented to abutment teeth on both sides of the gap, the pontic is only affixed on one side. Unlike the more traditional permanent dental bridge, a cantilever bridge only requires the use of one natural tooth to act as a stable supporting structure instead of two teeth. In this sense, a cantilever dental bridge can also be considered a partial bridge.
Maryland Dental Bridge
Named after the U.S. state in which it was invented, the Maryland dental bridge is also very similar to the traditional permanently affixed dental bridge. The difference here is that instead of using dental crowns to affix the pontic to the abutment teeth on both sides of the gap, this method employs a metal or porcelain structure. The dental structure is bonded directly onto the backs of the abutment teeth rather than the sides facing the gap.
Implant-Supported Dental Bridge
Perhaps the most distinctive dental bridge method out of the group, implant-supported dental bridges employ dental implants as their main support structure. For every missing tooth, one implant is surgically placed to secure the replacement bridge in place. If, for whatever reason, it’s not possible to insert one implant per missing tooth, then your dentist will most likely have to insert a pontic between the implant-supported crowns to even the playing field.
Implant-supported dental bridges are considered to be the most durable and longest lasting version of this procedure, but it comes at a cost—and we don’t just mean financially-speaking. Two surgical procedures are required to install implant-supported dental bridges.
The first procedure is to imbed the implants directly into the jawbone for structural security. The second procedure is to actually secure the bridge itself in place. Although this is the most reliable dental bridge procedure, it’s also requires a greater time commitment than its counterparts as it can take months to complete.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?
There are many benefits to getting dental bridges. Permanent or fixed dental bridges, in particular, can help you restore your smile to its former glory and regain your confidence in the process. Here are a few reasons why you should consider getting a dental bridge if you’re missing teeth:
- Dental bridges close gaps between teeth, reducing the risk of tooth decay in your surrounding teeth and other oral health problems
- Permanent dental bridges are easy to care for and don’t need to be removed for separate cleaning; you can brush and floss them just like your natural teeth
- Dental bridges are made to easily blend in with your other teeth so no one will know you have them
- Permanent dental bridges last for many years before they need to be replaced
- Crowns can actually help strengthen abutment teeth even more
- Dental bridges boost your confidence so you can start showing off your smile again
As a permanent fixture of The Kingsway community in Etobicoke for over 25 years, Princeview Dental is proud to provide a variety of cosmetic dental treatments including installing dental bridges for our patients. We want to be a part of your dental health journey. Contact us today to book an appointment!