What is a Dental Bridge

A dental bridge is used to “bridge the gap” which exists due to one or more missing teeth. Bridges are comprised of at least two crowns for the teeth on each side of the gap. These teeth which act as anchors for the bridge are called abutment teeth. A prosthetic tooth or multiple prosthetic teeth are then placed in between. The prosthetic teeth are called pontics. They are typically created from gold, alloys, or porcelain. In most cases, dental bridges are supported by the natural teeth, however, implants can also be used.

The following at the top benefits associated with dental bridges:
* Bite forces are evenly distributed
* Facial shape is maintained
* Protect movement of the remaining natural teeth
* Restored ability to speak and chew
* Smile restoration

The three types of dental bridges include:

1. Traditional bridge: this type of bridge involves creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with the pontic in the middle. These are the most common type of bridge used and are typically created from ceramics or porcelain fused to metal.
2. Cantilever bridge: this type of bridge is used when there is only one adjacent tooth next to the missing tooth. This solution is no longer commonly used. It is not recommended for use in the back of the mouth as it can cause too much force on the remaining teeth and result in damage.
3. Maryland bonded bridges or resin-bonded bridge: this type of bridge is made from one of the following: porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or plastic teeth and gums which are supported by a porcelain or metal framework. Metal or porcelain wings, which are commonly on one side of the bridge, are bonded to the existing teeth.

Dental Bridge Process

The initial visit for a dental bridge will involve preparing the abutment teeth. The process for preparing the teeth includes the removal of a portion of the enamel. This allows enough room for the placement of a crown. The next step of the process includes obtaining impressions of the teeth. These impressions will be a model for the creation of the bridge, pontic, and crowns. These pieces will be created in a dental lab. The dentist will create a temporary bridge which protects the exposed teeth and gums while the permanent bridge is being developed.

During the second phase of the procedure, the dentist will remove the temporary bridge. They will then check and adjust the new porcelain or metal bridge to ensure it fits properly. Although it can vary, there may be multiple visits needed in order to ensure a perfect fit of the bite and metal framework. In cases of a fixed dental bridge, the dentist may use a temporary cement to keep it in place for a couple of weeks and ensure proper fit. Once the fit is confirmed, the bridge will be permanently cemented into place.

Cost and Life Expectancy

As with most dental procedures, the cost for dental bridges can vary based on factors such as the type of bridge and the geographical area. While it depends on the individual plan, dental insurance often covers a portion of the treatment cost. It is possible for dental bridges to last 5-15 years or more. When good oral hygiene is practiced and the patient continues to visit the dentist, the bridge can often last for more than 10 years.


It is critical to keep the remaining natural teeth healthy. A successful bridge heavily relies on the surrounding teeth to provide a secure foundation. Good oral hygiene includes twice daily brushing and daily flossing. It is also important to continue making regular visits to the dentist for exams and professional cleanings. If there are any issues with the bridge or adjacent teeth, they should be addressed right away.

What is a Maryland Bridge

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