A dental bridge, as its name suggests, is akin to a structural bridge, filling the gap left by one or more missing teeth. But what exactly does a dental bridge look like? This question may hover in minds, especially of those considering dental bridges as an option to restore their bright, beautiful smiles.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at dental bridges and their appearance.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is an artificial tooth structure designed to replace a missing or damaged tooth. It can replace one or several teeth in a row.
The bridge comprises two crowns that fit over the existing teeth on either side of the missing tooth (these are known as ‘abutment teeth’), and a false tooth in the middle, known as pontics.
What does a Dental Bridge Look Like?
A dental bridge resembles a series of connected teeth. The abutment teeth are prepared by removing some enamel to allow the crowns to fit over them. These crowns are then permanently attached using dental cement, securing the bridge in place.
The materials used to create these bridges can vary, but they often include resin or porcelain. Porcelain is a popular choice because of its strength and resemblance to natural tooth enamel.
In some cases, porcelain fused to metal to increase strength, especially for longer bridges. Once attached, the bridge sits against the gums, blending in with your existing teeth. A high-quality bridge should be almost unnoticeable to anyone unaware of its presence.
Different Types of Dental Bridges
There are a few common types of dental bridges, each with a slightly different appearance:
Traditional Dental Bridge
A traditional dental bridge uses dental crowns on the teeth on either side of the gap to anchor one or more fake teeth called pontics in between.
The crowns and pontics are custom-made to match your natural teeth color, shape and size for a seamless fit. This is the most common type of dental bridge.
A cantilever bridge has crowns and pontics like a traditional bridge, but only anchors to one adjacent tooth rather than both sides. This can be used for single tooth gaps towards the back of the mouth.
Maryland Bonded Bridge
As the name suggests, a Maryland bonded bridge uses a metal framework bonded to the back of adjacent teeth for support rather than crowns.
The metal clasps may be visible from certain angles depending on placement.
For an implant-supported bridge, the pontics connect to artificial tooth roots called dental implants that are surgically embedded into the jawbone for stability. It looks much like a natural row of teeth.
When properly placed by an experienced dentist, all types of dental bridges can beautifully restore smiles depleted by missing teeth.
With realistic materials like porcelain and strategic support from dental implants or bonded metal, modern bridges are comfortable, functional and attractive replacements.
How Does a Dental Bridge Work?
A traditional dental bridge works by using the healthy roots of the abutment teeth to support the bridge. However, if multiple teeth need replacing or if the adjacent teeth are healthy, an implant-supported bridge might be a better option.
This type of bridge uses dental implants as anchors instead of natural teeth. The implants provide the support needed without impacting the health of the surrounding teeth. This is particularly beneficial when replacing three or more teeth in a row, as a longer bridge may place excessive stress on the natural teeth.
Benefits of Dental Bridges
Choosing a dental bridge as a tooth replacement solution offers several benefits:
- Affordability: Compared to dental implants, bridges are often a less expensive option, and insurance typically covers them.
- Convenience: A bridge doesn’t require any preparatory procedures (other than tooth extraction if needed), unlike dental implants that may require a bone graft first.
- Speed: A dental bridge can usually be placed in just one or two appointments.
- Promotes Better Oral Health: A dental bridge prevents your other teeth from shifting out of place and into the gap where a tooth or multiple teeth are missing.
Dental bridges offer a practical and cosmetically appealing solution for missing teeth. If you’re considering a dental bridge, remember to discuss all your options with your dentist to ensure you choose the best solution for your specific needs.
At Prime Dentistry, we provide a range of tooth replacement options – bridges, implants, dentures, or any combination of these – to serve our patients effectively. Call (215) 742-1200 today to schedule a consultation or request an appointment.
We look forward to providing you with quality tooth replacement services.