You can use a bridge, paired with dental crowns, to create a realistic replacement for a missing tooth. Basically you are bridging the gap created by that missing teeth by putting a trio of crowns across three spaces – the two teeth on either side of the gap and one for the gap itself. The teeth on either side of the gap are called abutment teeth and they support the crown which is placed between them for the gap filling – this crown is called a pontic. Additional pontics can be used if more than one tooth is missing, but a large set of missing teeth is usually better replaced by an implant or denture.
Depending on the size of a given gap or set of missing teeth, the pontic teeth and abutment teeth count may vary. To best support your bridge you may need two abutments on either side of the pontic strand, or for a gap which has elongated, additional pontics may be used. In any case, the way a bridge is designed and engineered will be discussed between dentist and patient. The surrounding bone tissue and gums will be taken into account as well as the specific oral locale of the soon-to-be bridge. p
Dental Bridge Types
There are three primary varieties of the dental bridge
- A traditional bridge basically means that the dentist will create a crown for the tooth or implant on the abutment teeth with the pontic crown in between. This is the most widely used bridge type. Usually these are made of ceramics or porcelain fused to a type of metal.
- A cantilever bridge would be used when there are adjacent teeth on just one side of the gap. This can put too much force on the surrounding teeth and caused damage so is, thereby, less frequently utilized.
- A Maryland bonded bridge/Maryland Bridge, which can also be referred to as a resin-bonded bridge, is often made of plastic, porcelain, or porcelain/metal fused combination. For this type, wings on either side of the bridge are bonded and affixed to your existing real teeth.
Just like your regular teeth, a crown or bridge requires optimal hygienic care and maintenance. This means that brushing and flossing must continue and that bridges and crowns should not be skipped during the cleaning. This will reduce the buildup of unwanted, damaging plaque. Crowns are even more of a reason to get consistent cleanings & checkups from your dental provider. If you do not properly care for your crowns and bridgework they can deteriorate and cause more problems for you. Further, if you have a habit of using your teeth as tools or grinding your teeth in your sleep, or when nervous, it is best that you seek advice from your dentist on how to stop. These habits can be detrimental to your hardware.