The word “bridge” is defined as “a structure that spans a chasm.” It may trigger a mental picture of the Golden Gate Bridge or some other proud overpass, but a dental bridge serves essentially the same purpose. It fills the gap in your smile created by a missing tooth or several consecutive missing teeth. Modern dentistry provides other options for that situation, but a bridge remains a sound dental solution in many cases. Sacramento dentist, Dr. Kosta Adams and his daughter, Dr. Kristen Adams explain more about dental bridges.
There are four types of dental bridges.
For a traditional bridge, teeth adjacent to the gap are shaped to hold porcelain crowns. The dental bridge consists of those crowns on either side of an attached pontic – an artificial tooth. The crowns are bonded onto the prepped teeth to hold the pontic securely in place at the site of the missing tooth. This is sometimes called a crown and bridge unit, or a fixed bridge because it cannot be removed by the patient. The disadvantage of this type is that otherwise healthy teeth have to be reduced (ground down) to house the crowns.
A cantilever bridge is used when there is an adjacent tooth only on one side of the gap. It works to restore the furthest posterior tooth in a tight space that isn’t subject to much lateral (side to side) stress from chewing. It isn’t as strong as a traditional bridge, since it is only supported on one side.
A Maryland bridge is a metal frame that supports a plastic replacement for gum tissue and teeth. It has metal wings on each side that are bonded to existing teeth. Most patients today want a metal-free and more permanent solution. However, this resin-bonded bridge is a lower-cost option that requires little or no shaping of adjacent teeth.
An implant-supported bridge may be appropriate for the patient who is missing several teeth. Dental implants are placed in the jawbone at either end of the gap. The bone fuses solidly with these implants. The implants hold abutments. They support bridgework consisting of multiple pontics, which is cemented in place. It is a cost-effective alternative to using a dental implant to restore all of the missing teeth, and it provides some bone stimulation.
Dental bridges usually have to be replaced periodically and they require a little extra hygiene effort. However, they can be a good solution for the patient who is not a candidate for dental implants. Is a dental bridge right for you? Find out by calling (916) 999-1302 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kosta or Dr. Kristen Adams.