Dental bridge work is just one method of securing a false tooth (or pontic) in place in the mouth. It basically involves attaching a false tooth to a natural tooth on one or both sides. It is popular because it does not involve invasive surgery but is a long-term solution to tooth loss.
There are three main types of dental bridge:
- Traditional or fixed bridge. This is the most common form of dental bridge work and involves a pontic (usually made from porcelain) being attached to two adjacent teeth by dental crowns. This is a very stable way of fixing a false tooth in place because it is secured on both sides by crowns securely mounted with powerful dental resin.
- Resin bonded or Maryland bonded bridge. This bridge work is used when a tooth is missing at the front of the mouth, the purpose being to conceal the bridge itself. Resin bonded or Maryland bonded bridges are usually made from acrylic because it is lighter than porcelain. The bridge work is concealed behind the teeth and doesn't take the form of crowns on either side. Instead metal bands are attached to the adjacent teeth. This method relies on the two surrounding teeth being strong and healthy and able to cope with the strain of supporting a tooth without crowns to help.
- Cantilever bridge. Cantilever bridge work consists of anchoring the false tooth on only one side. This might be necessary if a tooth on one side of the gap is too weak to support a false tooth and the tooth on the other side takes all of the strain. This might also be necessary if there is no tooth on the other side, for example if the bridge work is taking place at the rear of the mouth.
Dental bridge work can be combined with other dental procedures, for example dental implants. In the case of a patient who has lost all of their teeth and opts for dental implants, rather than placing an implant for every single replacement tooth, the dentist will probably place a few dental implants around the mouth which can support a bridge of replacement teeth. The All-on-four procedure is able to replace a whole row of teeth with just four implants.