Dental Bridges

What are Dental Bridges?

These are dental prosthetic devices that are used to bridge the gap between missing teeth in a patient’s mouth. The dentist normally cements these dental bridges in the gaps between the existing teeth or dental implants. The dental bridges are usually made of materials like gold, porcelain that are metal fused or a combination of these materials. The dentist uses a dummy tooth called pontic to permanently anchor two or more adjacent teeth or abutment teeth, using a crown.

Types of Bridges

Dental bridges come in 3 major types:

  1. Traditional Bridges
    This type of bridges comprises of one or more pontics that are held together in place by dental crowns, which are called abutments. These are then cemented to the teeth next to the missing tooth or teeth. This is the most common type of bridge and is made of either porcelain or ceramics fused to metal. These bridges are really strong and can be used to replace molars.
  2. Cantilever Bridges
    This type of dental bridges is usually used in cases where adjacent teeth are present only on one side of the missing tooth or teeth. This means that a single abutment on one side is used to support the pontic instead of both sides in a traditional bridge.
  3. Maryland Bridge
    This type of dental bridges are usually holds a pontic in place using a framework of metal or porcelain. It also called an adhesive bridge. This type of dental bridge uses wings on either sides of the pontic that are then attached to the abutment teeth. This process in turn creates little to no damage to the existing teeth. These are usually used for the front of the mouth since they are not as strong as traditional bridges. It also has an opaque nature giving it an artificial look.


The dental bridges are beneficial for the following reasons:

  • Does not require surgery. 
  • Restore the dental functionality and oral health.
  • Affordable and is a low-risk treatment for missing teeth.
  • Prevents shifting of the teeth and change in occlusion (bite) by missing teeth replacement.
  • Reduce speech impediments
  • Prevents Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ),
  • Reduces risk for periodontal disease due to missing teeth.
  • Helps maintain the shape of the face


  • Decay of the tooth under the crowns of the bridges and the adjacent teeth will lead to replacement of the dental bridge.
  • Dental bridges have an artificial look and can also be ill fitting at times leading to discomfort for the patient.
  • Bridges need to be replaced every 5-7 years. 


The dentist will conduct an examination of the gums and the adjacent teeth and make sure they are healthy and there is no decay or breakage of the teeth. In case of any decay, the dentist will try to restore them before installing the dental bridge. Once the procedure is decided upon, the dentist will administer a local anaesthetic to the patient. The abutment teeth are re-contoured as a part of the preparation process to placing the crown. The dentist will remove a part of the enamel to make room for placing the crown. The dentist will then take impressions of the existing teeth that will serve as a model for the manufacture of the bridge, pontic, and crowns. The bridge will have to be fabricated and will take some time. The dentist will use a temporary bridge to cover the exposed teeth and gums till the dentist receive the bridge and fix it, which usually is done in the next visit. Once the dentist receives the fabricated dental bridge, the temporary bridge will be removed and the new porcelain or metal bridge will be fitted and cemented into place. This restoration is made to fit perfectly to avoid any issues in the future.

Proper oral Hygiene and maintenance of the teeth and the bridge is recommended for longevity of the remaining teeth and in turn the dental bridge.

Authored By Dr Sanjay N - Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopaedics, Bangalore

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