More than 120 million people in the United States are missing at least one tooth, and many of them have a dental bridge. If you’re missing a tooth, and you are interested in learning about options such as dental bridges, book an appointment online or call one of the Washington locations of Northwest Dental in Bellingham, Burlington, Arlington, Everett, or Oak Harbor.
A dental bridge quite literally bridges the gap left by a missing tooth. A bridge can have one or more false teeth, which are called pontics.
Usually, crowns are placed on the teeth on each side of the gap that the bridge will fill, and the crowned teeth serve as anchors. The teeth with the crowns are called abutment teeth and they provide support for the bridge.
Your Northwest Dental dentist may recommend a bridge for several reasons, including:
Additionally, a bridge may keep the force of your bite evenly distributed and prevent damage to your other teeth.
There are four types of dental bridges: traditional, cantilever, Maryland, and implant-supported.
Traditional bridges are the most common type and are made up of two crowns and the bridge. One of the drawbacks of a traditional bridge is that the two abutment teeth must be crowned, which is a process that damages the enamel. On the positive side, traditional bridges are quite strong.
Cantilever bridges are similar to traditional bridges but are supported by only one abutment tooth. If you only have one natural tooth beside the gap, a cantilever bridge might be the best option for you. Because they are only anchored on one side, there is some danger of a cantilever bridge acting as a lever and damaging the other teeth or dental appliances.
Instead of being supported by crowns or abutments, Maryland bridges are supported by a framework that is bonded to the teeth on either side of the gap. This procedure removes the need for the dentist to file the enamel of the natural teeth.
Maryland bridges are not as strong as traditional bridges, so they may not be the best option to replace molars.
Instead of securing pontics with crowns or framework, implant-supported bridges are supported by dental implants. Implant-supported bridges are strong and secure, but unlike other types of bridges, they require surgery to put in the implants.