Bridging the gap with a dental bridge in San Francisco
The gap left by missing teeth can cause the remaining teeth to drift, which can affect the bite, cause jaw soreness, and cause excessive wear on the opposing teeth. Additionally, the drifting teeth can create new places for plaque to be trapped, increasing the risk of periodontal (gum) disease and tooth decay. Dental bridges serve a cosmetic purpose as well, filling in the gaps in your smile. Dental Implants are preferred by many patients for the replacement of missing teeth; however, dental bridges are initially more economical for those on a tight budget. Three forms of dental bridges are in use today:
- Traditional fixed bridge – A traditional dental bridge is a replacement tooth (pontic) connected between two dental crowns, filling the gap left by a missing tooth. The crowns are cemented over the prepared teeth (abutment teeth) adjacent to the gap. This is termed a fixed bridge, as it is not removable, unlike a partial denture that is removable. A fixed bridge can be used to replace one or more teeth that have been lost.
- Cantilever bridge – This style of bridge can be cemented to only one prepared abutment tooth. It can be used when there are anchoring abutment teeth only on one side of the gap.
- Maryland dental bridge – Also called a resin-bonded or Maryland bonded bridge, it is mainly used on front teeth that do not sustain the biting pressure that back teeth do. The replacement tooth is connected to metal or porcelain wings, which are then bonded to the adjacent abutment teeth with resin cement. A Maryland bridge requires less abutment tooth reduction for placement.
There are several materials used in the making of dental bridges: porcelain and metal, porcelain and gold, or high strength materials such as alumina or zirconia or all metal/gold. Several aspects determine which material should be used, such as position in the mouth, budget, and bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching), among other factors.