Types of Dental Bridges
Tooth loss is a common concern among adults. Gaps left by missing teeth can create discomfort, compromise oral functions, and make people self-conscious about their smiles. When a small set of adjacent teeth are lost, dental bridges are often the most appropriate dental treatment. Dental bridges replace a set of one to three teeth to enhance oral strength, function, and aesthetics.
Every case of tooth loss is unique, so the dental bridge used to address tooth loss varies from patient to patient. Here, Dr. Andrew G. Mortensen discusses the types of dental bridges available to his Fountain Valley, CA, patients and the placement process for each.
Traditional Fixed Bridges
Traditional fixed bridges are the most common type of dental bridge. A fixed bridge consists of a pontic piece (a solid piece designed to replicate up to three teeth) and two dental crowns (one on either end of the pontic). A traditional fixed bridge is held in place by the dental crowns.
When placing a traditional bridge, the teeth directly adjacent to the area of tooth loss are reshaped to accommodate dental crowns. The crowns are bonded to the teeth and act as bookends to secure the pontic, which replaces missing teeth and fills the dental gap left by tooth loss. Traditional fixed bridges are strong, durable, attractive restorations.
Implant-supported bridges are a great option for our Fountain Valley patients who desire greater comfort and security. Implant-supported bridges are supported by dental implants, which are tiny titanium screws that are surgically placed in the jaw.
Implant-supported bridges are placed over a series of dental procedures. Treatment starts with oral surgery to place the implants. After the implants heal and fuse with the jaw bone, Dr. Mortensen attaches metal abutments to the tops of implants. Abutments protrude from the gum line and serve as posts to bond dental restorations in place.
Implant-supported bridges look, feel, and function like natural teeth. They also act as artificial tooth roots, making them the only tooth loss treatment that prevents bone degeneration.
Bonded bridges are not as common as traditional or implant-supported bridges, but they are suitable in some situations. Bonded bridges are secured by metal bands (or wings) that are secured to the back of adjacent teeth with dental cement. Bonded bridges may be appropriate for patients who have strong, healthy teeth directly adjacent to the area of tooth loss.
Cantilever bridges are also not as common as traditional or implant-supported bridges. A cantilever bridge consists of a pontic piece and a single dental crown. The dental crown is placed over the adjacent tooth to hold the pontic in place. A cantilever bridge may be used when there is a natural tooth on only one side of the dental gap. Cantilever bridges lack the strength and stability of other types of dental bridges, so they should only be placed in areas of the mouth that do not receive much stress from the bite.
Dental bridges address tooth loss to strengthen the bite, improve oral functions, and enhance the smile’s appearance. To learn more about the types of dental bridges offered at Dr. Andrew G. Mortensen’s Fountain Valley dental practice, send us a message and request an appointment.