Dental bridges literally form a bridge to close any gaps between your teeth that are left by one or more missing teeth. The teeth on each side of the gap are used to support the false tooth (pontic) that fills the space. This is the conventional way for placing dental bridges, though there can be variations as to how the pontic is anchored depending on the location of the gap in the mouth, number of missing teeth, health and strength of adjacent teeth, and the type of bridge used.
The primary types of bridges are:
Traditional Fixed Bridges
This is the most popular type of bridgework and comprises a false tooth (pontic) placed between two abutting crowns. Depending on the size of the gap, there could be two or more pontics attached to the crowns. Traditional permanent bridges can be used in any position in your mouth, including missing molars, provided you have strong adjacent teeth on both sides of the gap. Moreover, this approach can be used to replace up to 6 missing teeth using 6-unit bridgework.
This type of bridgework is not as common and is only used when the pontic can only be supported by healthy teeth on one side of the gap. The pontic is bonded to only one abutment crown. This option can only be used with front teeth where you can control biting force, as opposed to back teeth that are subjected to heavy chewing forces.
Resin-Bonded or Maryland Bonded Bridges
This option consists of a pontic that is attached to a porcelain or metal frame, which is then held in place using one or two wings that are attached to the adjacent healthy teeth. Resin-bonded bridges are typically used to fill gaps in the front of the mouth. They are a good choice because they’re conservative, with virtually no preparation of the adjacent teeth to support the pontic in place. But since they’re prefabricated, the dentist may need to trim the surrounding teeth to achieve a good fit. They’re also low-risk, strong, permanent, and look very realistic.
If you’ve lost multiple teeth in a row, then implant-supported bridges can help to stabilize the bridgework. The pontics are secured to one or more implant-supported crowns spread across the gap, giving you a restoration that is just as strong as if the bridgework were anchored to your natural teeth.
Your dentist in San Francisco may recommend dental bridges if you are missing one or more adult teeth, and have strong and healthy teeth to support the bridgework. Please schedule a consultation to learn more about dental bridgework and your suitability for the procedure.