What Is a Dental Bridge? A Solution for Missing Teeth

Did you know that losing a tooth can have multiple effects? It can affect how you eat. It can make you feel self-conscious about your appearance and may even lower your self-esteem if you feel embarrassed to smile. The long-term effect of a missing tooth is progressive bone loss in your jaw where the tooth used to be. Have you recently lost a tooth (or teeth)? Taking care of that gap will help you avoid these effects. One of the treatment options available to repair a gap due to missing teeth is a dental bridge.

What is a dental bridge? How will it help to fix your teeth? What is the procedure like and what are the benefits of dental bridges?

Keep reading for the answers to all your questions and more.

What Is a Dental Bridge?

A dental bridge is comprised of crowns that attach to the teeth surrounding a missing tooth or teeth. Bridges are permanent fixtures that appear and act like the teeth they are replacing. It is a prosthetic for the missing teeth.

The Types of Dental Bridges

There are four types of dental bridges:

  • Traditional
  • Cantilever
  • Maryland
  • Implant-supported

Traditional bridges can be constructed with metal, ceramic, or porcelain fused to metal. This most common bridge features crowns that attach to abutment teeth (the teeth surrounding the gap) to secure a replacement tooth (pontic) in place.

In a cantilever bridge, the pontic is only attached to a crown on one side of the tooth. This type of bridge is not very common, as it is not strong enough to support molars. It is typically used to replace a missing front tooth.

A Maryland bridge can be made of ceramic or porcelain fused to metal and is most often used to replace a missing front tooth. The Maryland bridge connects to the back of abutment teeth with wings secured with resin. This bridge is more conservative as the adjacent teeth do not need to be prepared for a crown.

An implant-supported bridge is similar to a traditional bridge. However, instead of crowns holding the pontic in place, a dental implant holds the structure in place.

The Benefits of Dental Bridges

There are many reasons why you may have missing teeth. These include:

  • Decay
  • Periodontitis/gum disease
  • Accidents/injuries
  • Old age
  • Medication side effect

Losing a tooth can do more than potentially making you feel self-conscious. Your bite may become uneven, affecting how you chew or talk. The teeth surrounding the missing tooth may start to tilt or rotate. Furthermore, you may begin to suffer from pain in your jaw.

Thankfully, bridges can help solve these problems. In addition to restoring your smile, bridges realign your bite or fix teeth that have become rotated or shifted. Bridges can also ensure that the bone in your jaw and your remaining teeth stay healthy and in place.

The Procedure for Installing a Dental Bridge

The dental bridge procedure is straightforward and usually requires at least two visits.

During the first visit, the dentist will remove enamel from the abutment teeth in preparation for receiving the crowns. The dentist will take an impression of the prepared teeth so the bridge, crowns, and pontic(s) can be made in a dental lab. At Cypress Dental, we use a CEREC Primescan AC intraoral scanner to create a digital scan of your teeth. Through taking a digital impression rather than a traditional impression, dental appointments become more comfortable, and the time needed to create the permanent crowns, bridges, and pontic(s) is significantly reduced. The patient will go home with a temporary crown that keeps everything in place until the permanent prosthesis can go in.


During the second visit, the permanent crowns, bridges, and pontic(s) are cemented in place. The dentist may use temporary cement first in case adjustments are need or if a patient needs to have a trail with the prosthesis. Once a proper fit is secured, the dentist will apply permanent cement.

Taking Care of Missing Teeth

To be a good candidate for a bridge to replace your missing teeth, you need to have both good oral health and good overall health. Your teeth and bone structure should be sturdy. Once you have a shiny, new bridge, you will need to practice good dental bridge maintenance. If you're looking to replace a missing tooth and you need a dentist in Vancouver, contact us today to make your dental bridge appointment.