A bridge, also known as a fixed partial denture, is a dental restoration used to replace a missing tooth by joining permanently to adjacent teeth or dental implants.
There are different types of bridges, depending on how they are fabricated and the way they anchor to the adjacent teeth. Conventionally, bridges are made using the indirect method of restoration however, bridges can be fabricated directly in the mouth using such materials as composite resin.
A bridge is fabricated by reducing the teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth by a preparation pattern determined by the location of the teeth and by the material from which the bridge is fabricated. In other words, the abutment teeth are reduced in size to accommodate the material to be used to restore the size and shape of the original teeth by dental equipment in a correct alignment and contact with the opposing teeth. The dimensions of the bridge are defined by Ante's Law: "The root surface area of the abutment teeth has to equal or surpass that of the teeth being replaced with pontics".
What Types of Dental Bridges Are Available?
There are three main types of 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.
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.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?
Restore your smile
Restore your ability to properly chew and speak
Maintain the shape of your face
Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth
Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position