What is a dental bridge and what are the types of bridges

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Dental bridges, also referred to as fixed removable dentures, are made to fill in one or more spaces in your mouth left by lost teeth. Depending on your specific case, they can be supported by:

• Natural teeth
• Implants
• A combination of teeth and implants

How a bridge is done

A dental bridge is so called because it literally fills (bridges) the gaps left behind when you lose teeth. A typical bridge consists of one or more artificial teeth (pontics) that are held in place by two abutments (dental crowns).

If the supporting teeth being crowned are strong and healthy, they won’t need root canal therapy. However, parts of the teeth must be removed to create space for the crowns. Basically, your denturist files down the 2 healthy teeth on either side of the gap to prepare them for the bridge.

But if your teeth are not healthy or adequate to support the bridge, then dental implants may be recommended to provide support for the artificial tooth or bridge. Afterwards, your denturist will take impressions (molds) to custom-make your artificial tooth (or teeth) and the 2 crowns as a single piece. These three elements are referred to as a bridge.

Until your custom-bridge is ready for placing, your denturist will place a temporary bridge in the space to protect the exposed teeth and gums.

Types of bridges 

The prosthetic teeth used in dental bridges are typically made from porcelain for aesthetic reasons, though they can also be made from gold or silver amalgam. There are different types of bridges, including:

1. Traditional bridge 

A conventional bridge is made by forming a crown for the prosthetic teeth on either side of the gap and then placing the tooth/teeth between the crowns (caps) to fill the empty space. The pontic is anchored to two crowns that are bonded to the two natural teeth on either side of the gap. Traditional bridges are ideal for people with fillings because the existing fillings can be used as a foundation for the crowns.

2. Bonded bridge 

With a resin bonded bridge, the false replacement tooth is fixed with metal bands (or wings) and resin cement to the surrounding natural teeth. This type of bridge requires less work to surrounding teeth, and is less costly than a fixed bridge, though it is only offered to patients with healthy, well-maintained teeth surrounding the gap.

3. Cantilever bridge

This type of bridge is typically used in areas that are not stressed when chewing, like on the front teeth. Cantilever bridges are intended to adhere to the tooth on one side of the gap, and are used when you have natural teeth on only one side of the space where the bridge will be placed, instead of both sides.

Your denturist will help you choose the most appropriate type of bridge depending on the position of the missing tooth (teeth) and the condition of your gums, teeth, and mouth. For further assistance or to learn more about the various options for teeth replacement, please contact our denture specialists at Canadian Denture and Implant Centres in Calgary.