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Dental Bridges

If you have missing teeth, we can close — or bridge — the gaps in your smile with dental bridges. A dental bridge is a false tooth (called a pontic) that is held in place by the abutment teeth on either side of the gap. Although pontics can be made from a variety of materials such as gold, typically they’re made from porcelain to aesthetically blend in with your natural teeth.

Dental bridges literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth.

A bridge is made up of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap -- these two or more anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth -- and a false tooth/teeth in between. These false teeth are called pontics and can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants.


What Are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?
Bridges can:

  • Restore your smile

  • Restore the ability to properly chew and speak

  • Maintain the shape of your face

  • Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth

  • Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position

Types of Dental Bridges

The artificial teeth used in dental bridges are called pontics. You'll have a pontic for each missing tooth, created to be close in shape and size to the missing one(s).

Pontics are anchored to a tooth or teeth next to the gap (called abutment teeth) or to a dental implant. The four primary types of bridges include:

Traditional fixed bridge: This is the most common type of bridge. It includes a crown on either side of the pontic(s).

Maryland dental bridge or resin-bonded bridge: This is often used to replace front teeth. Instead of crowns, it uses porcelain or metal frameworks with "wings" that are bonded to the back of your teeth on either side of the gap.

Implant-supported bridge: An implant for each missing tooth is surgically embedded into your jawbone in one procedure. The bridge, which contains the pontics, is placed over them in a later procedure.

Cantilever bridge: This one is no longer commonly used. When only one side of the gap contains a natural tooth, the pontic(s) are anchored by a single crown on that natural tooth.

Advantages of Dental Bridges

Dental bridges can provide many benefits, including


  • Restoring a natural look to your mouth/smile

  • Restoring the ability to speak normally, as missing teeth can impede proper enunciation

  • Maintaining normal facial structure by preventing bone loss from the jaw at the site of the missing tooth/teeth

  • Restoring the ability to chew food efficiently

  • Preventing adjacent teeth from moving into the empty space, which can cause problems with your bite and lead to other complications


Disadvantages of Dental Bridges

Dental bridges do have some disadvantages, as well, such as


  • Future damage to the abutment teeth can compromise the bridge.

  • If the crowns are ill-fitting, bacteria and plaque may get inside and cause tooth decay.

  • The crowns may change the structure of your teeth, affecting your bite.

  • If the abutment teeth aren't strong enough to support the bridge, the bridge could collapse.

  • The abutment teeth may be weakened by the procedure(s) and have to be replaced by dental implants.


Are You a Good Candidate?

Not everyone is a good candidate for a dental bridge.

Factors that make you a good candidate include:


  • Missing one or more permanent teeth

  • Having overall good health (no severe health conditions, infections, or other health problems)

  • Having healthy teeth and a strong bone structure to support the bridge

  • Having good oral health

  • Performing good oral hygiene to maintain the condition of the dental bridge

  • You and your dentist should discuss these factors before deciding whether a bridge is right for you.

Why do I need a dental bridge?

When you have a missing tooth or missing teeth, it can affect you in a number of ways.

  • A dental bridge can address those changes, including:

  • restoring your smile

  • restoring the ability to properly chew

  • restoring your speech and pronunciation

  • maintaining the shape of your face

  • re-adjusting your bite to properly distribute the force when you chew

  • preventing your remaining teeth from moving out of the correct position




If you’re missing a tooth or a number of teeth, you have different replacement options to discuss with your dentist. There are many benefits to using dental bridges, and there are many factors — including costs — that you should consider before making a decision.

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