A dental bridge is used to bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. It is a permanent, fixed restoration much like a crown only a bridge consists of 2 or more connected crowns. The dental bridge is consisted of two components – an abutment and a pontic. The abutment is the existing tooth that has been prepped for a crown and is used to anchor the bridge in place. An abutment crown can be placed over a natural tooth or even over an implant. The pontic is the tooth that fills in the gap where a tooth or teeth are missing. Bridges are beneficial because they help to restore a patient’s smile while maintaining the shape of their face, they restore a patient’s ability to chew or speak, prevent your remaining teeth from changing position and help to distribute the force of your bite.
There are three different types of bridges – the traditional bridge, the cantilever bridge, and the Maryland bridge. A traditional bridge is the most commonly used type of bridge and is typically three units – an abutment crown on each side with a pontic in the middle. The cantilever bridge is used when there is only one tooth available to be used as an anchor for the bridge. Cantilever bridges are not recommended for the back of the mouth because of the amount of force that would be put on them. A Maryland bridge is where a pontic is created to fill the gap due to a missing tooth and instead of creating abutment crowns the pontic has metal or porcelain wings on each side that are then bonded to the existing teeth.