Dental bridges are fixed removable dentures which replace missing teeth. Natural teeth, implants, or a combination of teeth and implants can support a dental bridge. Traditionally, dental bridges are placed by creating a crown atop a tooth or implant on each side of the gap made by a missing tooth. A false tooth or teeth is then placed between the crowns, filling the space.
Traditional bridges may be made of either ceramics or porcelain fused to metal. Other types of bridges may be used for different dental needs. A Maryland bonded bridge (also known as a resin-bonded bridge or acid-etched bridge) uses wings (which are bonded to the back of existing teeth) and metal framework to support the false tooth. A cantilever bridge is supported by one or more crowns on a single side of the gap.
Part of the tooth is removed in order to make room for the crown that will support the bridge. Some teeth may require root canal treatment prior to placement to ensure a healthy, strong foundation for the crown and bridge. Bridges take at least two visits to place, but often require more depending on the amount of work needed. During the initial visit, the dentist examines teeth and prepares them for the crown. A temporary crown or “cap” will protect the tooth until the permanent is placed. During this same appointment, the dentist may take impressions used to create your dental bridge.
When well cared for, bridges last an average of five to seven years. To prevent failure, take care of your oral hygiene. Cavities are the leading cause of bridge failure. Brush and floss your teeth as instructed for lasting results and a continued healthy smile.