What Is a Dental Bridge?

brian rich dmd

People with missing teeth have multiple treatment options to discuss with the dentist. Did you know that your dental care provider can use dental bridges in Knoxville, TN, to close the gaps in your smile? 

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Dental Bridge: A Closer Look

What Exactly Is It?

A dental bridge refers to a restorative solution used to replace missing teeth. While it fills the gap with one or more artificial teeth, it uses the surrounding teeth as support. Moreover, a dental bridge consists of an abutment and a pontic. 

While abutments are the natural teeth or dental implants that support the bridge, pontics refer to artificial teeth that bridge the gap between the abutments. A dental bridge can have multiple pontics if you’re missing two or more teeth in a row. 

Furthermore, dentists usually place crowns over abutment teeth. These crowns are often called retainers because they’re attached to the pontic with connectors. 

What Are the Different Dental Bridge Types?

Traditional Dental Bridge

A traditional dental bridge requires retainers or crowns to attach to the abutment teeth. Your dentist may use fixed or rigid fixed-fixed connectors to connect both retainers. However, depending on your situation, they may allow for more deviation on one of these connectors using the fixed-movable option. While fixed-fixed dental bridges need the abutment teeth to be parallel to each other, fixed-movable bridges allow some movement.

Cantilever Dental Bridge

Dentists use a cantilever dental bridge when there’s only one abutment tooth on the side of a missing tooth or teeth rather than two. They place a dental crown on the adjacent natural tooth next to the missing tooth gap to hold the bridge. Although a cantilever bridge is ideal if you have teeth on only one side of the gap, placing it in the back of the mouth subjects your existing teeth to too much force that may cause damage to them. 

Maryland Dental Bridge

The Maryland bridge is an adhesive or resin-bonded bridge that won’t require crowns on the abutment teeth. The dentist uses adhesive to attach the wings on the pontics’ sides to the abutment teeth. Consequently, the Maryland bridge is ideal for restoring missing front teeth. However, it’s important to note that although it may require less preparation and a less invasive procedure, it may not be as secure as a traditional bridge. 

Implant-Supported Dental Bridge

While an implant-supported bridge is similar to a traditional bridge, it doesn’t use retainer crowns placed over natural teeth. The dentist attaches the bridge to one or more biocompatible metal posts that they surgically implant into the jawbone. Since these posts serve as artificial tooth roots, the surrounding teeth won’t have to support the bridge.

However, it’s worth noting that candidates for dental implants must be in good general health. In addition, they must also have enough jawbone density to support the implant. 

How Can I Care for My Dental Bridge?

While a dental bridge offers durability, you can’t expect it to last forever. However, you can keep your dental bridge in good shape for as long as possible if you maintain a good oral hygiene routine, including regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Avoiding hard, tough, and chewy foods and seeing your dentist every six months for checkups and routine cleanings will help you get the most out of your dental bridge.

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Learn More About Dental Bridges in Knoxville, TN!

Whether you’re coming in for a regular checkup or need restorative work, Brian Rich, DMD, is here for you. Contact our office today to make an appointment. 

General, Cosmetic, and Restorative Dentistry

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