What is a Tooth Bridge?

A tooth bridge is one of three options to replace a missing tooth. There are both advantages and disadvantages compared to implants or partial dentures. There are traditional tooth bridges, cantilever bridges, Maryland bridges, and implant-supported bridges. Each type of bridge aligns with specific situations in the location and health of adjacent teeth.

Why Choose a Tooth Bridge?

Maybe you had a permanent tooth that didn’t come in after losing your baby tooth. Perhaps you had a tooth break or had to have a tooth pulled. Those might be reasons you have a gap in your bite. A tooth bridge or dental bridge could provide a solution to fill that gap.

A missing tooth can cause a variety of issues. It can affect your bite and make it uncomfortable and more difficult to chew. It can also detract from the appearance of your smile. Therefore, making you feel less confident. 

The main reason to get a bridge is to restore your bite and smile. The advantages of bridges are that they are faster and less expensive than tooth implants. Dental bridges can be completed in a few visits to the dentist’s office. However, they are also less durable than implants and only last 15 years. With proper care, many dental bridges last around 15 years.

Traditional Dental Bridge

The traditional dental bridge takes advantage of the two teeth next to the gap to create a bridge with a new false tooth, called a pontic. This requires the two adjacent teeth to be reduced so that two crowns can be placed over those teeth while the pontic bridges the gap. The neighboring teeth help form a strong bond with the crown material, which is usually made of porcelain. The traditional dental bridge provides a durable solution. The success of a bridge depends on the health of the teeth that support it. 

Cantilever Dental Bridge

A cantilever dental bridge works much like a traditional bridge, but with only one tooth involved. Cantilever dental bridges are not as strong as traditional bridges. However, they can still be a good solution, for example, to replace a missing molar in the back of your mouth.

Maryland Tooth Bridge

In dentistry, a Maryland bridge provides a less invasive way to fill a gap between the front teeth, because it doesn’t require the reduction of the adjacent teeth. Instead, the Maryland bridge consists of a pontic on “wings” made either of metal or tooth-colored material. The dentist attaches the wings to the back of the teeth on either side of the gap. Metal has been used to create these bridges for a long time because it is strong, but it darkens the appearance of the teeth. Now, the wings on a Maryland bridge can be made of lighter colored material, which retains the natural appearance of the teeth involved in the bridge. 

They are less invasive and more affordable, but they tend to be less durable than traditional dental bridges because they are simply attached to the back of the teeth next to the gap.

Implant-Supported Tooth Bridges

When multiple teeth are missing, or if the adjacent teeth are not able to support traditional bridge methods, an implant-supported bridge may be needed. This would involve implanting supporting screws on either side of a gap so that three false teeth could be created to cover the entire gap. The implants would help prevent the loss of bone mass in the jawbone, which is an important consideration. Dental implants involve surgery and several steps that can span more than a year.

At Westdale Dental, our dentists will evaluate your missing tooth gap and the teeth next to it in order to determine our recommendation for you. Your budget and the urgency of your tooth replacement will also factor into your decision of the dental bridge type best suited to you. Our financing options and Westdale Dental Membership Plan can help make your dental bridge work more affordable.

When you have questions or concerns about your teeth, please call us to get answers. We care about your dental health and want to make it possible for you to have the best smile possible.


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