A bridge is essentially an artificial tooth that is placed into a gap where a tooth is missing, which is then bridged to the adjacent teeth on either side, so it creates a secure, long-lasting brace for the artificial tooth and the teeth surrounding it. Missing teeth can occur as a result of decay, sports, accidental impacts, periodontitis, and oral cancer. Having a gap in your smile can increase the risk of having your teeth shift within your jaw, creating misaligned teeth that prevent the person from biting down all the way, and this can even create quite a bit of pain. Not to mention the deterioration of visual appeal when regarding a missing tooth within your smile.
Depending on your situation, in which your dentist will choose the best option for you based on their experience and expertise, you will receive one of three types of dental bridges.
1. Traditional Fixed Bridge - This process is the most common and works very well in many situations of missing teeth. Using this method, two porcelain crowns are placed on the teeth that surround the gap that creates a stronger foothold for the bridge anchors, and also give all the benefits of a porcelain crown to those two teeth. The bridge holds the tooth in place, and the false tooth that fill the gap may even be fused to the crowns on either side, depending on the situation.
2. Cantilever Bridge - This type of bridge is commonly used when only one tooth is present on either side of the gap. This sort of bridge is only used in areas that don't take on much of your bite force when using your teeth because it isn't as strong as a fixed bridge.
3. Resin Bonded Bridge - This bridge is similar to a fixed bridge but uses different materials to affix the artificial tooth. Metal bands are used to surround the teeth on each side of the gap, in which those bands are bonded with dental resin, which hold the fake tooth in place. This bridge is designed for areas of the smile that have less stress during eating and drinking.
The process for each dental bridge procedure is relatively the same. Similar tasks involve fitting surrounding teeth with crowns for added stability and enhanced visual appeal. A temporary bridge is affixed while you wait for the crowns to come back from the lab. Then, the final visit will have your dentist putting on the permanent solution. Usually, we will want to see you soon after, so we can check for proper fit and adjust the bridge if necessary.