Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are aptly named because they bridge gaps between two teeth. If you have missing teeth, a dental bridge can be used to fill in the space so that it appears as though all of your teeth are intact and healthy. A bridge is composed of two crowns, one on either side of the gap where the missing tooth is located. These crowns, known as abutment teeth, are used to anchor the bridge. A false tooth or teeth (known as pontics) lie between these abutments.

The false teeth may be made from a variety of materials including porcelain, gold, alloys, or a combination of different types of materials. They’re held in place and supported by natural teeth or implants. There are a number of benefits to having a dental bridge. This restorative element is a popular treatment strategy that not only repairs the aesthetic aspects of a patient’s smile, but also the functional aspects, such as the ability to chew or speak.

At Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implant Center, we use dental bridges in a variety of situations to repair a patient’s smile. There are a number of benefits to having this type of restorative treatment done on the teeth. Bridges can be used to simply improve appearance, but it can also make it easier for patients to chew food and pronounce words properly. Dental bridges can help maintain the patient’s face shape and prevent a sunken-in appearance that can happen if teeth are missing. And bridges can also help keep the other teeth from changing position in the mouth.

Types of Dental Bridges

We offer three different types of dental bridges at Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implant Center. The type of bridge that we recommend to patients depends on the situation and the health of the patient, but each type of bridge has advantages and benefits. Our dentists determine which type of bridge would best suit the patient following a thorough evaluation.

Traditional Bridges

Traditional bridges involve two crowns on either side of the missing tooth with a pontic in between the crowns. This is the most common type of bridge that we use at Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implant Center. Typically traditional bridges are made out of porcelain that has been fused to metal or ceramics.

Cantilever Bridges

A cantilever bridge is an option when it isn’t possible to anchor the bridge to a natural tooth on either side of a gap. Situations that are most appropriate for a cantilever bridge are those where there is only one anchor tooth on one side of the gap. This type of bridge is not used very often and typically it is not recommended for use in the back of the mouth because it can put too much force on the other anchor teeth. This can cause unwanted damage so often, cantilever bridges are a second choice to implants or other restorative options.

Maryland Bonded Bridges

Maryland bonded bridges are also known as resin-bonded bridges or just a Maryland bridge. They can be made from a variety of materials including porcelain, porcelain that has been fused to metal, or even plastic with an underlying metal and porcelain framework. The porcelain or metal wings are usually fused to your existing teeth on just one side of the bridge.

Procedure for Getting a Dental Bridge

There are several steps involved in the process of putting in a dental bridge at Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implant Center, but the process is relatively straightforward. At the first appointment, the patient’s abutment teeth are prepared. In other words, the teeth on either side of the gap are recontoured such a some of the enamel is removed so that a crown can be placed over the top of them. After this part of the process is complete, an impression is taken of the teeth and a model is created. This model is used at a dental lab to create the bridge as well as the crowns and pontic.

After the first preparation visit, the dentist at Washington State Prosthodontics and Dental Implant Center will make a temporary bridge to wear until your next appointment. This bridge will protect the exposed teeth and gums while the new bridge is being made at the lab. At your second visit, the temporary bridge will be removed and the new bridge will be placed in the mouth. This bridge will likely be made of porcelain or metal and it will need to be adjusted and customized carefully so that it fits perfectly in the mouth.

Often, there are multiple visits required to make sure that a dental bridge fits properly in the mouth. It must complement the natural bite. How many visits are required depends on each patient’s individual situation. Fixed bridges are typically cemented in place for two weeks to determine whether they fit properly or not. After the initial test period, the bridge can then be permanently cemented in place.

Primary Benefits of Dental Bridges

Smile Restoration

Dental bridges are recommended for patients who have missing teeth and who would like to restore their smile. When you feel confident about the appearance of your smile, you smile more often and that improves your quality of life. This is an important consideration when trying to decide whether a dental bridge is the right option for you.

Speaking and Chewing

Another important benefit is the ability to chew properly and to speak clearly. After a patient loses a tooth or teeth, it can be challenging or uncomfortable to chew certain types of food. And the pronunciation of words can also suffer. A dental bridge can solve these issues.

Maintain the Face’s Natural Shape

If you lose a tooth, the jawbone may start to deteriorate under the area where there’s a gap. Tooth roots stimulate the jawbone to produce bone cells. So it’s important to make sure that area of the gums where the tooth is missing is still stimulated.

Prevent Teeth from Moving

A dental bridge can help you keep your natural teeth in place. When you fill in gaps along your gum line with a restorative element like a dental bridge, your other natural teeth are much less likely to drift and to become loose.