Dental Bridges: Which Type is Right for You?

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Dental bridges are a common solution when it comes to replacing missing teeth, offering restoration of chewing function, improved appearance, and enhanced oral health.

A dental bridge consists of crowns that fit over your natural teeth on both sides of the gap, with artificial teeth bridging the space in your smile.

What is a Dental Bridge?

A dental bridge is a cosmetic restoration that replaces any missing teeth you may have in your mouth. It can replace a single tooth or a row of missing teeth: the bridge literally “bridges the gap” in your smile, and can be customized to match the exact shade of your natural teeth.

Different Types of Dental Bridges

Traditional Dental Bridge

This is the most common type of dental bridge, consisting of dental crowns (caps) on both ends with artificial teeth (pontics) in between. The crowns are bonded to your natural teeth on either side of the gap, while the pontics fill in the space.

This type of dental bridge is best when healthy, natural teeth are on both sides of the gap in your smile.

Cantilever Dental Bridge

Similar to a traditional bridge but with a crown on only one end, the artificial tooth (pontic) in the cantilever bridge extends across the gap, supported by its adjacent natural tooth.

Cantilever bridges are used when you have natural teeth in your mouth on only one side of the gap.

Maryland Dental Bridge

Also known as a resin-bonded bridge, the Maryland dental bridge uses metal wings instead of crowns. These wings are bonded to the backs of your neighbouring teeth, typically when it comes to front teeth replacement.

Maryland bridges are not as strong as traditional bridges, and are not recommended for back teeth.

Implant-Supported Dental Bridge

This type of bridge is placed on dental implants instead of on your existing, natural teeth. For this bridge, dental implants are surgically inserted into your jawbone, and act as a foundation for your bridge.

Implant-supported bridges are suitable for cases with three or more missing teeth in a row. In order to determine the most appropriate type of bridge for your oral health needs, your dentist will consider factors such as your age, the number and size of your missing teeth, the condition of your neighbouring teeth, and your personal preferences.

Procedure Details

The procedure for placing your dental bridge varies depending on your chosen type.

Traditional or Cantilever Bridge

Your dentist will reshape your abutment teeth, take impressions, and provide a temporary bridge. The temporary bridge will later be removed during a second visit, and the final bridge will be bonded in place.

Maryland Bridge

Your teeth will be prepared for their metal wings, impressions of them will be taken, and a temporary bridge will be placed in your mouth. The final bridge is then bonded to your abutment teeth in a subsequent visit using dental resin cement.

Implant-Supported Bridge

Dental implants will be surgically placed in your mouth, and after a brief healing period, impressions will be taken. The final bridge will then be attached to these implants using abutments and secured in place with dental cement or screws.

Benefits and Risks of Dental Bridges

Dental bridges offer a variety of advantages when it comes to your oral health, such as natural-looking results, restoration of your chewing and speech function, and prevention of your neighbouring teeth from shifting down the road.

However, they also come with potential risks, including damage to abutment teeth, fracture of weak abutment teeth, and gum inflammation or cavities if improperly maintained.

Recovery and Outlook

Your recovery time after your dental bridge procedure will vary, with teeth and gums typically taking one to two weeks to heal. As a whole, the lifespan of a dental bridge averages between five and 15 years, although proper care and maintenance can further extend this longevity.

Caring for your dental bridge involves daily brushing and flossing, using nonabrasive fluoride toothpaste, cleaning underneath your bridge, avoiding hard or chewy foods, and maintaining regular checkups and cleanings with your dentist.

By considering the pros and cons of the different types of dental bridges available to you and consulting with your dentist, you can determine the most suitable option for restoring your smile and oral functionality.

Dr. Sol Weiss is a renowned cosmetic dentist based in Toronto, celebrated for his exceptional skills, specialized training, and extensive experience in delivering aesthetic dental solutions. With a distinguished career spanning various media appearances and educational roles, including a former Assistant Professor of Dentistry position at the University of Manitoba, Dr. Weiss has earned a reputation as a leading authority in cosmetic dentistry. His dedication to excellence, active involvement in professional organizations, and commitment to staying at the forefront of dental advancements make him a sought-after expert in North America. Leveraging advanced techniques, such as Invisalign and teeth whitening, Dr. Weiss transforms smiles, allowing his patients to achieve their dream smiles with precision and artistry.

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