What Are Dental Bridges?

Mar 7, 2023 | Blog Posts

What Are Dental Bridges?

Dental bridges are among the most widely used dental restorations today. Around 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth,[1] and they rely on various tooth replacement options. If you’re missing one tooth or several teeth in a row, dental bridges in Albion may be a suitable treatment.

How Dental Bridges Work

Dental bridges take their name from the fact that they bridge the gap left by a missing tooth. They rely on two surrounding teeth to provide a foundation. The bridge is permanently attached to those teeth, with the complete span consisting of three artificial structures; crownlike structures on the supporting teeth and a false tooth in the space between them.

A variety of materials can be used for dental bridges. The most commonly used are porcelain and porcelain fused to metal. Porcelain is biocompatible, long-lasting, and looks incredibly natural. Bridges made of porcelain fused to metal use a metal base to provide additional strength.

Zirconia bridges are also sometimes used. These bridges look very natural while providing even greater strength than porcelain. Other types of ceramic materials are also used in some types of dental bridges.

Supporting Your Dental Bridge

Dental bridges rely on natural teeth for support. Your dentist will have to prepare those teeth in much the same way you would if you had a crown applied. Material is trimmed away from the outer layer of the supporting teeth. This creates a peg-like base over which the supporting crowns sit.

After the teeth are prepared, your dentist will take an impression or mold to ensure the perfect fit for your dental bridge. Then the impression is sent to a dental lab, where a custom dental bridge is created. In the meantime, you’ll have a temporary bridge to protect the prepared teeth.

Once the dental bridge is ready, you’ll come in for another appointment. The dentist applies the bridge using dental cement, providing a strong and lasting bond.

Which Cases Call for Dental Bridges?

Dental bridges in Albion are used for a variety of different situations. If you are missing one or more teeth, then dental bridges will likely be one of the potential treatment options you discuss with your dentist.

Teeth That Are Missing Entirely

A dental crown could be the best option if you have a severely decayed or damaged tooth. Material is removed from the outer layer of the tooth, and a custom crown is attached to provide lasting protection. However, dental crowns rely on the tooth’s interior being strong and healthy.

When a tooth is lost entirely, it can’t provide a foundation for a crown. Whether your tooth has already fallen out or been knocked out, or the damage is severe enough to require extraction, a dental crown can’t fill the gap left by a missing tooth.

A dental bridge fills the gap by relying on adjacent teeth for support. This makes it possible to replace the missing tooth entirely. Dental bridges are a good option in this case, although dental implants are another potential treatment.

Multiple Missing Teeth

Most dental bridges are used to replace a single missing tooth. That means you’ll have a span of three artificial teeth, two over the supporting teeth and one over the gap left by the missing tooth. However, dental bridges can sometimes replace multiple missing teeth.

If you are missing two teeth next to each other, you may have the option of having a bridge over the entire gap. This would mean four artificial teeth, two over the supporting teeth and two over the gap. If you’re missing more teeth in a row than that, a partial denture may be a more appropriate solution.

Types of Dental Bridges

Different dental bridges provide effective tooth replacement options in different scenarios. Your dentist will evaluate your case and determine which type of dental bridge or other replacement options best suit your individual needs.

Traditional Dental Bridges

Traditional dental bridges are likely what you think of when you hear “dental bridge.” They are the span of several artificial teeth that is supported by two natural teeth on either end. They suit many situations, but other specialty bridges are sometimes better treatment options.

Maryland Dental Bridges

A Maryland dental bridge does not require supporting teeth to be prepared by removing material. Instead, the bridge is attached to support teeth with thin metal wings on either end. These are permanently bonded to the supporting teeth with removing minimal enamel. These are often used when replacing front teeth.

Cantilever Dental Bridges

A cantilever dental bridge replaces a missing tooth by using only one side of the bridge as a supporting foundation. The artificial tooth is supported only on one side, so leverage while biting and chewing is a significant concern.

Implant-Supported Dental Bridges

Dental implants are posts made from titanium that can be implanted in the jawbone to provide a foundation for dental restorations. They can support crowns, bridges, or full arch restorations. In the case of dental bridges, two dental implant posts can be used to support a bridge instead of natural teeth.

Are Dental Bridges in Albion Right for You?

If you have missing teeth, come to Albion Family Dental to learn more about your options. We can evaluate your needs and determine the best treatment plan. We offer bridges, crowns, and other restoration options that could be right for you. Schedule a consultation today to find out more. Give us a call at 585-589-9044.



[1] https://www.prosthodontics.org/assets/1/7/ACP_Talking_points_for_Missing_Teeth_1-12-15.pdf