Crowns and Bridges

Fixed Prosthodontic Dental Procedure (Crowns & Bridges)

Bridges are the most well-known way to replace a missing tooth. Dental bridges are a permanent appliance that is cemented in your mouth by the doctor so that it doesn’t move or come out. There are many different types and styles of dental bridges.  

Styles of Bridges

  • Traditional Dental Bridge - A traditional dental bridge is the most commonly used fixed bridge. A traditional dental bridge is where the dentist will prep the adjacent teeth on both sides of the missing tooth. The dentist will then take an impression and send the impression to the dental laboratory to have the bridge made. The bridge will be made of crowns covering the adjacent teeth fused to a pontic crown covering the area of the missing tooth. After the lab makes the crown, the dentist will cement the bridge in place. 
Bridges Before & After, Alpha Dental Care in St. Louis
  • Cantilever Bridge - A cantilever bridge is used when there are only adjacent teeth on one side of the missing tooth. A cantilever bridge is made in a dental lab like a traditional bridge and then cemented in the mouth by the dentist. A cantilever bridge is mainly used for front teeth, since the back teeth take a lot of force from biting and chewing it is not recommended for back teeth. Too much force on a cantilever bridge can break the bridge and possibly damage the teeth supporting the bridge. 
  • Maryland Bridge - A Maryland bridge is used on front teeth only. A Maryland bridge is made of a metal frame work that goes on the back surface of the adjacent teeth on both sides of the missing tooth. The metal frame work is then covered with an acrylic (pink material) to blend in with the color of your gum tissue. It then has a pontic to replace your missing tooth. Since it is used on front teeth, the Maryland Bridge is usually a ceramic or porcelain fused to metal. Both are tooth colored to match your natural teeth. 

Types of Bridges

Now that you know the different styles of dental bridges the following are the different types of material that the bridges are made of:
  • Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal (PFM) Bridge- The most commonly used type of fixed bridge and also the strongest type of bridge. It is made of metal on the inside of the bridge and porcelain tooth colored material on the outside of the bridge. 
  • All Ceramic Bridge - not as commonly used as a PFM bridge but is great for patients who may have a metal allergy. Sometimes an all ceramic bridge can have a better appearance then a PFM bridge. A shade is taken by the dentist or dental assistant so that the bridge will match your natural teeth. Zirconia Porcelain bridges, which are a type of all ceramic bridge, can even be just as strong a PFM bridge.
  • Resin (Plastic) Bridge - not used as much as PFM or all ceramic bridges. They are used for patients that grind teeth because they will not wear the opposing teeth to the resin bridge. One of their disadvantages are that they are not as strong as an all ceramic or PFM bridge. 

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