A dental bridge or a tooth bridge (also called pontic) is a custom-made false tooth or a tooth that is permanently placed between two healthy teeth, filling in the area left by a missing tooth or teeth. The bridge is held in place by porcelain crowns placed on the healthy teeth on each side of space to be filled. Tooth bridges reduce the risk of gum disease, limit the shifting of remaining teeth, help correct some bite problems and help improve speech.
Types of Dental Bridges
There are three main types of dental bridges:
- Traditional bridges involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between. Traditional bridges are the most common type of bridge and are made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics (ceramic bridges).
- Cantilever bridges are used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth.
- Maryland bonded bridges (also called a resin-bonded bridge or a Maryland bridge) are made of plastic teeth and gums supported by a metal framework. Metal wings on each side of the bridge are bonded to your existing teeth.
Dental Bridge Procedure
During the first visit to a bridge dental clinic for getting a dental bridge, the abutment teeth are prepared. Preparation involves recontouring these teeth by removing a portion of enamel to allow room for a crown to be placed over them. Next, impressions of your teeth are made, which serve as a model from which the bridge, pontic, and crowns will be made by a dental laboratory. Your dentist will make a temporary bridge for you to wear to protect the exposed teeth and gums while your bridge is being made.
During the second visit, your temporary bridge will be removed and the new permanent bridge will be checked and adjusted, as necessary, to achieve a proper fit. Multiple visits may be required to check the fit of the metal framework and bite. This is dependent on each individual’s case. If the dental bridge is a fixed (permanent) bridge, your dentist may temporarily cement it in place for a couple of weeks to make sure it is fitting properly. After a couple weeks, the bridge is permanently cemented into place.
Cost of Dental Bridges
The cost of dental bridges varies depending on the type of bridge selected and the area of the country in which the procedure is performed. Dental insurance will typically pay a percentage of the fee depending on the individual dental plan.