Typically, when you hear the phrase, “bridge the gap,” it’s being used figuratively. But in the dental profession, bridging the gap is a literal expression. When you’re missing one or more teeth, dental bridges actually bridge that gap between your healthy remaining teeth.
Our knowledgeable general and cosmetic dentists here at Dental Studios in Summit and Westfield, New Jersey, often use dental bridges to replace missing teeth and restore your smile. In this blog, we discuss the four types of dental bridges so you can decide which type is right for you.
Traditional dental bridges
A popular choice for a single missing tooth, traditional dental bridges consist of a false tooth held in place with crowns that fit over your natural teeth on either side of the gap. For example, if you have a knocked out tooth in between two healthy teeth, we might recommend a traditional bridge.
Our dentists custom fit and design a false tooth — also called a pontic — and crowns to fit over your natural teeth so your new bridge blends seamlessly into your smile. The teeth that hold the bridge are called abutment teeth. Traditional bridges can also be made with more than one pontic if you’re missing two teeth in a row.
Traditional bridges become a permanent part of your mouth. Most of the time, we use ceramic or porcelain fused to metal — materials that create a durable, long-lasting bridge so you can talk and chew as naturally as possible. To complete this bridge, we need to remove some of the enamel from your abutment teeth to properly fit the crowns over them.
Cantilever dental bridges
Cantilever bridges are similar to traditional bridges, but they only require one abutment tooth. A cantilever bridge is a good option if you have just one natural tooth next to a missing tooth.
One of the advantages of a cantilever bridge is that you only need one dental crown. This means we only have to prepare the enamel on one of your natural teeth to hold the crown and bridge in place.
Maryland dental bridges
Consider a Maryland bridge if you have strong, healthy, natural teeth on either side of your missing tooth and you prefer not to have dental crowns. This type of bridge is a framework of metal or porcelain that’s bonded directly to your natural teeth. Like a traditional bridge, the pontic goes in between healthy teeth to fill the gap and restore your smile.
Because they don’t require crowns, Maryland bridges are a popular choice for replacing missing front teeth. The support framework can be discreetly hidden behind your teeth, so it’s not visible when you smile or talk. And there’s no need to file away any enamel from your adjacent natural teeth.
Implant-supported dental bridges
We may recommend an implant-supported dental bridge when you’re missing several teeth in a row or if your natural teeth aren’t strong enough to support crowns and a pontic. For example, if your adjacent teeth are badly decayed or too weak to endure dental work, we can extract the weak teeth and replace them with dental implants.
Each missing tooth gets its own implant and crown. If that’s not practical, we can also suspend a pontic between two implant-supported crowns.
Implant-supported bridges are the strongest option, but they require two visits — a surgery to embed the implant into your jawbone and a follow-up appointment after it heals to place your new bridge. Like the other types of bridges, implant-supported bridges match your teeth in shape and color and function like your natural teeth.
We also offer All-on-4 implants as a revolutionary way to replace an entire set of missing upper or lower teeth.
How to choose the best dental bridge
Selecting the best bridge for your mouth depends on several factors, including:
- Your overall oral health
- Number of prosthetic teeth needed to fill a gap
- Complexity of the procedure
During your consultation, we answer your questions and recommend the best ways of replacing your missing teeth so you’re happy with the look and function of your new smile. To keep your whole mouth healthy and your smile beautiful, it’s best to replace missing teeth as soon as possible.
Call us today to schedule an appointment at the Dental Studios office in Summit or Westfield, New Jersey. You can also easily book online.