Dental bridges are used to hide one or more teeth that have been removed. Bridges can provide a variety of benefits. One of the benefits is cosmetic, to fill the empty gap in a person’s smile. Bridges aren’t just aesthetically justifiable, however, they can also prove beneficial in maintaining the shape of a person’s face, relieving pressure off other teeth when chewing or biting, and improving the strength of the dental arch. San Francisco Dental Arts offers a variety of different types of bridges to best suit your smile.
It is important to know the two different types of teeth when learning about dental bridges. The pontic, the false tooth, is the tooth that covers the gap. The abutment teeth are natural teeth, and they support the pontic either side of the gap.
The procedure will take two visits to one of our dentists. The first will be to take impressions of the teeth, so we can create a model and send it to a dental lab. In this way, we can make a custom-made bridge that comfortably fits your mouth.
The dentist will also file down the two abutment teeth in preparation for their dental crowns, assuming the patient is having a traditional bridge. A temporary bridge will be provided to protect the prepared teeth until the bridge is ready.
When the patient visits for the second time, the temporary bridge will be replaced by the custom-made bridge, and adjusted until it fits correctly. Any follow-up visits depend on how well the bridge sits in the mouth, and whether further adjustments need to be made.
Types of Bridges
A traditional dental bridge is made up of two crowns that are placed on abutment teeth, with a false tooth in the middle covering the gap. This is the most common type of bridge, and is only possible when there are two natural teeth on either side, to support a false tooth over the gap.
A Maryland bridge is similar to the traditional bridge, as it also needs natural teeth to be on both sides of the gap. A Maryland bridge, however, holds the false tooth in place via metal bands that are placed on the back of the teeth. Maryland bridges are ideal for teeth at the front of the mouth, as the metal bands are hidden. This bridge is less ideal for the back teeth due to the pressure molars exert when chewing.
Cantilever bridges are when there is only one abutment, or natural tooth, available to bridge. In this case, a bridge is formed with the abutment tooth and a false tooth. This type of bridge is generally inadvisable in the back of the mouth, as it is weaker compared to other bridges, and has a higher chance of fracturing.
Caring for Bridges
Bridges last 5 to 7 years, provisional to the maintenance of good oral health. Bridges have been known to last even longer if good brushing and flossing techniques are used. San Francisco Dental Arts can advise you on the best type of bridge for your mouth, and how to keep your dental bridge in good condition. To make a dental bridge appointment now, call us at 415-854-9396.