Bridges

Ceramic BridgeMetal Ceramic Bridge

Bridges are used to replace missing teeth and, as the name implies, bridge a gap left in the mouth by a missing tooth. In simple terms, a bridge consists of crowns placed on the teeth adjacent to the gap (abutment teeth) and the middle part (pontic) shaped in the form of a missing tooth. (see picture) Bridges can replace one or more missing teeth and when done correctly the final result can be very satisfactory (see picture).

The downside of bridges is the necessity to cut down and fit crowns onto two often sound teeth that otherwise would not need such restoration, and thereby subjecting such teeth to significant injury. A bridge is most useful when a tooth that needs to be replaced is adjacent to teeth that also are in need of extensive reconstruction and therefore require placement of crowns because of their condition.

Another disadvantage is the fact that the wellbeing of the whole bridge rests on the wellbeing of the abutment teeth. Should anything happen to one of the abutment teeth the whole bridge will have to be removed. As with any other dental treatment there is a place for bridges in dentistry, although with advances in dental implantology many fewer bridges are now made.

Bridges can be made of gold, porcelain, or a combination of gold and porcelain depending on the aesthetic and functional requirements.

A more conservative approach to making bridges is the so-called Maryland or adhesive bridge. A Maryland bridge consists of a false tooth with a small metal wing on a side that is bonded to the back of the tooth on either side of the gap. This allows good, often long-lasting retention and does not require much trimming of the abutment teeth.  However, although these kinds of bridges are less destructive than a conventional bridge, they may not last as long.