We’re fortunate to live in a time when we have so many options to resolve dental issues. Take missing teeth, for example. Dental patients have a variety of different methods available to choose from when they decide to replace one or more missing teeth. One of the most popular is a dental bridge. In this article, we provide basic information about bridges and why they can be an excellent choice for some people.
Types of Dental Bridges
Generally speaking, a dental bridge is an appliance that consists of one or more artificial teeth mounted onto a metal frame that attaches to the patient’s adjoining teeth. There are four types of dental bridges available:
- Traditional bridge – A traditional dental bridge fits into the space left behind by the missing teeth inside the patient’s mouth. This type of bridge attaches to the natural teeth on each end. Those natural teeth are affixed with crowns to make them strong enough to support the bridge.
- Cantilever bridge – This appliance is used when only one natural tooth is available to support the bridge. Once again, the natural tooth is strengthened by a crown to provide a stable base for the bridge.
- Maryland bridge – This device is similar to the traditional bridge in that it is supported by the patient’s natural teeth on each end, but the appliance includes framework that is bonded onto the back of each adjoining tooth (rather than being attached to crowns on the abutment teeth).
- Implant-supported bridge – Rather than being supported by adjoining crowned teeth or framework cemented onto the back of natural abutment teeth, an implant-supported bridge is held in place by dental implants on each end.
Advantages of a Dental Bridge
There are several reasons why bridges are such a popular tooth-replacement option. Modern bridges can be made to exactly match the shade of the patient’s existing teeth, making them look entirely natural. Bridges are not removable by the patient, so there’s no need for any type of special cleaning routine, as is the case with partial dentures, for example. Today’s dental bridges are extremely durable and often last for at least 10 years or longer if properly cared for. And with the exception of implant-supported bridges (which require surgical insertion of the implants), dental bridges are minimally invasive.
To find out more about dental bridges, and to determine if this is the right choice for you, schedule an appointment with your dentist today.