Bridging the Gap

dental bridges

Dental bridges are long-term replacements for a tooth or small group of teeth. These custom dental devices truly act as bridges between healthy natural teeth, allowing you to have a full smile again. If you have gaps in your smile, the Bonham Dental Arts team is here to help.

How Does a Dental Bridge Work?

A dental bridge is made up of several parts, which come together to fill your smile in perfectly. The different parts of a dental bridge can include:

  • The Pontics: The pontics are the prosthetic teeth. They fill in the gaps with natural-looking replacements based on the measurements of your mouth.
  • The Crowns: The crowns are placed atop the abutment teeth (your natural teeth that serve as support for the bridge.) The crowns help keep the pontics in the correct position. Most bridges have two or more crowns, but they can have more than that based on how many teeth are missing.
  • The Frame: When a bridge frame is needed — usually when multiple teeth are being replaced — the frame is made from a biocompatible metal. Fixed bridges are set for the long term, using the back of the nearby healthy teeth for support.
  • Dental Implants: While some dental bridges use pontics with natural teeth for support, dental implants can also be used. Implants are made from biocompatible metal that’s permanently secured in the jaw and then topped with a crown for aesthetic purposes.

The Different Types of Dental Bridges

A standard dental bridge is one in which there is one or more pontics. The pontics are kept in place by the crowns cemented atop the natural teeth on either side of them. A standard dental bridge requires the removal of a small quantity of natural teeth enamel to allow for a natural crown fit.

A cantilever bridge is a unique type of dental bridge that’s designed for cases where just one tooth needs replacing. The pontic anchors to an abutment tooth on only one side. Cantilever bridges aren’t as stable and secure as standard dental bridges, but they may be a good option in certain circumstances.

A Maryland bridge uses a metal frame for an anchor rather than crowns. This frame is attached to the back of the healthy teeth around the gap. Maryland bridges don’t need crowns, but they don’t offer as much longevity as standard bridges either.

An implant bridge includes dental implants, and it’s the dental bridge type that offers the most longevity. In a dental implant bridge, the implants provide support for the pontic. In some cases, a pontic may be replaced by another implant.

Taking Care of Dental Bridges: Simple and Easy

Taking care of dental bridges is remarkably simple and easy for most patients. You need to keep up with your regular visits at Bonham Dental Arts to make sure the bridge is in good condition. Dr. Bonham will evaluate your dental bridge at each of your regular check-ups, usually twice a year.

Brush your teeth twice a day, and then floss thoroughly. Be careful when flossing the area around the bridge, as hard tugging or pulling could pull it loose. Use a soft bristle brush and non-abrasive toothpaste, as it keeps the crowns or implants in good condition.

For the most part, you can treat your bridge the same as you treat your natural teeth, however, it’s always best to avoid very challenging foods or non-foods like ice. Don’t crunch on ice, and be sure to use caution when dealing with super chewy foods like caramel.

We’re Bridging the Gap to Make a Full Smile at Bonham Dental Arts

Bonham Dental Arts is a Largo, Florida area dental practice that offers family, cosmetic, and sedation dentistry to help all patients have their best and most beautiful smile. We strive to make the office welcoming and comfortable with a children’s play area, cozy blankets, delicious snacks, and even movies playing in the waiting room. Dr. Bonham and the Bonham Dental Arts team are happy to help, so please contact us anytime to get started on your best and most stunning smile using dental bridges.