3 Types of Dental Bridges

Types of Dental Bridges

“A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear” – Author unknown . A smile can be your best accessory.  It is also a necessary part of your oral health.  If you are one of the many people that have to deal with the loss of a tooth there is good news; you have many options to replace your lost tooth and maintain your beautiful smile.

A lost tooth can be replaced with an implant, denture or bridge.  A dental bridge is a fixed solution and is viable in many different situations. A bridge is comprised of a fake tooth to replace the one that was lost and crowns that are installed on both adjacent teeth.   A bridge can be an effective solution to replacing the lost tooth and restoring your confidence in your smile.  Bridges also have several health benefits such as distributing the pressure of chewing and preventing your remaining teeth from shifting.  If you are considering this procedure, carefully consider which of the three types of dental bridges will work best for you.

Traditional bridges

Traditional bridges are the most commonly used type of bridge.  This type of bridge is used when there is a missing tooth between two other well anchored teeth.  The traditional bridge is built using crowns that attach to the existing teeth and help support the false tooth, or pontic, that is inserted into the gap.

Your dentist will have to prepare the natural, adjacent teeth for the bridge.  This is done by removing the enamel from the natural teeth to get them ready for crowns.  The down side to this is that enamel cannot be replaced so once it is removed; these teeth will always require crowns.

Cantilever bridges

A cantilever bridge is very similar to a traditional bridge except that it is only connected to one adjacent tooth.  This type of bridge can be used if there are not two natural teeth available.  This is also a good option if an adjacent tooth is not strong enough to support a traditional bridge.  There are some potential consequences to this procedure.  The natural tooth will need to have the enamel removed to make room for the crown.  Also, because there is only one natural tooth acting as an anchor for the false tooth, there is a higher risk of damage or fracturing.

Maryland bonded bridges

Maryland bonded bridge are an interesting alternative to the traditional types of dental bridges.  Maryland bonded bridges work by bonding the replacement tooth to the back of the adjacent teeth.  This means that crowns and enamel removal are not necessary.  The downside to this type of bridge work is that the bridge is only as strong as the bonding agent.  If the bonding material deteriorates the bridge may become ineffective leading to damage or loss of the false tooth.

Maryland bonded bridges have been used for more than 20 years and have come a long way.  In the beginning years this type of bridge was attached to the natural teeth with metal type wings.  These wings often caused damage to the natural teeth as well as discoloration leading to teeth that did not match.  These issues have been resolved with time and technological advancements.  The bonding agent is now a strong resin, eliminating the damage and discoloration issues.

Which bridge is right for you?

There are many things you should consider when deciding on a dental bridge.  The chewing pressure and force that is exerted on a bridge is important.  If you are considering a bridge to replace a molar that is subject to intense pressure from daily chewing, discuss this in depth with your dental bridge dentist.  A cantilever and Maryland bonded bridge may not be able to handle as much direct pressure and regular usage making a traditional bridge a better option.  In addition, your dentist will look at your bite and the surface area of the lost tooth in determining the best procedure for replacement.

You also need to consider your unique dental needs and the tools you have available.  If the tooth you are hoping to replace does not have two adjacent teeth available a traditional bridge may simply not be an option.  A cantilever bridge can be an excellent alternative if you only have one adjacent natural tooth or if one of the adjacent teeth is already being used to anchor a different prosthetic.

Once you and your dental professional have chosen the perfect dental bridge for you, it is important that you properly care for your new dental work.  When you have a bridge installed you should make sure it fits comfortably and perfectly prior to leaving your dentist’s office.  You will also want to avoid foods that may cause problems such as particularly hard or sticky substances.  In addition, it is critical you practice good oral hygiene with regular brushing and flossing.  You should also maintain regular visits with your dentist to make sure your dental work and oral health is in tip top shape.

When making decisions about your best accessory, and your oral health, work with an experienced team and accomplished dental bridge dentist in Arizona.  You have many choices and we would be honored to partner with you in finding your perfect dental solution.