You have options for replacing missing teeth, there are 4 types of dental bridges to choose from. You can utilize these for teeth that have been extracted or have fallen out due to severe structural damage or decay. They encompass four types of dental bridges. A dental bridge consists of a false tooth or teeth (known as a pontic) anchored by abutment teeth topped with crowns. By closing gaps, dental bridges help improve bite strength, make it easier to talk, prevent your teeth from shifting into open spots, and restore your smile. Typically, the bridge teeth have a natural appearance and blends in with your existing teeth.
The four main types of dental bridges are explained below.
Traditional Dental Bridge
A traditional dental bridge adheres one or more pontic teeth to the adjacent natural teeth, also known as the abutment or anchoring teeth. Dental professionals use crowns to reinforce the abutment teeth, while they typically make the pontics from porcelain fused to ceramics or metal.
You can use a traditional dental bridge when you have healthy, natural teeth on both sides of the gap. The dental team will reshape the two abutment teeth to create sufficient space for the crown that they will cement on top and to ensure their strength in supporting the bridge during the preparation for crown placement.
Cantilever Dental Bridge
Although similar to a traditional bridge, the cantilever dental bridge uses an abutment tooth on only one side of the gap. Dentists can use it when there are no teeth on one side of the missing tooth, or when the adjacent teeth on one side of the gap are part of another prosthetic restoration.
Similar to a traditional bridge, the dental team removes the enamel from the abutment tooth to ensure stability. While the versatility of requiring only one abutment tooth makes this option appealing, a cantilever dental bridge cannot withstand as much biting force and is only suitable for placement toward the front of the mouth.
Maryland Bonded Bridge
Similar to a traditional bridge, a Maryland bonded bridge uses two adjacent natural teeth on each side of the gap. However, instead of employing dental crowns, this bridge type utilizes a porcelain or metal framework that the dental team bonds onto the backs of the abutment teeth.
Dental professionals consider the Maryland dental bridge a more conservative alternative to traditional bridges because they do not need to file the adjacent teeth for crown placement. Their strength depends on the strength of the adhesive and framework used.
Dental implants secure an implant-supported bridge in place, in contrast to frameworks or crowns. The procedure involves surgically embedding the implants into your jawbone, with one implant for every missing tooth. These implants hold the bridge in place. When it’s not possible to have one implant for each missing tooth, the dental team may suspend a pontic between two implant-supported crowns.
Implant-supported bridges are incredibly strong, durable, and able to restore normal function. The placement of this type of dental bridge is more invasive, and you’ll need to undergo two surgeries. The first involves embedding the implants in the jawbone, and the second one is for placing the bridge. So expect that the process can take a number of months to be completed.
Choosing the right dental bridge for you could depend on a number of factors, including the health of the adjacent teeth, the location of the missing teeth, and the cost of the procedure. If you have an interest in restoring your smile, get in touch with your trusted dental professional to explore the optimal choices for replacing missing teeth.