A bridge is a structure built to span a physical obstacle without blocking the way underneath. In dentistry, we need to build a bridge from one healthy tooth to another to overpass a missing tooth area. Here are a few of our options:
Traditional dental bridge
A traditional bridge is the most popular type of dental bridge and can be used when you have natural teeth on both sides of the gap created by your missing tooth. A crown is made on each natural tooth and connected by a crown. This “fake tooth” looks like the others because they are all crowns. The biggest downside is that sometimes the 2 crowns that need to be made are made on healthy teeth, and this is not a conservative treatment. The teeth will act like a unit. So if one tooth gets a cavity, typically the entire bridge will need to be removed and replaced. But this option may work well for specific patients.
Maryland dental bridge
A Maryland bridge uses a metal or porcelain that is bonded onto the backs of the neighboring teeth of a space in the mouth. Like a traditional bridge, a Maryland bridge can only be used when you have a natural tooth on each side of the gap caused by the missing tooth or teeth. This is a much more conservative treatment option when compared to a traditional bridge. However, some tooth structure will still need to be removed on the back side of the tooth. With this option the biggest concern is the bridge coming loose or breaking, especially for those that grind their teeth.
With the Carlson Bridge, you no longer need to sacrifice two healthy teeth. For this minimally-invasive procedure, we only need to roughen the surfaces of those two neighboring teeth. We then attach the false tooth – known as a “winged pontic” – to those teeth with Composite (filling material) and shape, contour and adjust the bridge as needed so it both looks and functions just like a natural tooth. With this option, there is also a concern for the bridge loosening or breaking, especially for those that grind their teeth. But because it is made out of a composite resin (tooth colored filling) material, it can be repaired by most dentists.
As an alternative, a dental implant can be surgically placed in the jawbone to hold a false tooth in position. Two dental visits are required for this popular treatment option. During your first visit, the implant will be surgically placed in the jawbone, and once the implant site has healed, the bridge will be positioned at a later appointment.
Ask your dentist which option is right for you.
Read more about implants here