If you’ve lost a tooth or anticipate needing a dental replacement, chances are you’ve heard about dental bridges or “bridgework”.
Dental bridges have been around for quite a while. As far back as ancient Egypt, physicians dating to Pharaoh’s time have been using bridges to replace missing teeth. In fact, there have been multiple instances of dental bridges being used throughout antiquity by means of silver or gold wire wrapped around the teeth, or a bridge created using a donor tooth. However, it is still unclear whether these measures where used to clean up one’s appearance for the afterlife, or actually used while they were alive. Regardless, dental bridges have had centuries to develop as a technology.
Today, they have built a reputation as a time tested, reliable, and affordable solution. It also doesn’t hurt that dental technology has come a long way since the time of Pharaoh.
Most common dental bridges use one or more prosthetic teeth (pontics) to bridge the gap created by a missing tooth. In order to hold the prosthetic teeth in place, your dentist will use the adjacent teeth on either side as supports, just like a bridge over water requires supports on either side.
While bridges are most commonly supported by healthy, natural teeth that have been crowned for additional strength and support, they can also be anchored by a dental implant. This is another fairly common solution, used when the adjacent teeth aren’t healthy enough to support the bridge. Implant supported bridges are also used as part of a larger strategy for replacing multiple teeth.
An implant supported bridge uses tiny titanium posts that are carefully implanted into your gums by your dentist. These tiny posts are also biocompatible, meaning they will eventually fuse naturally with the bone in your jaw, effectively replacing your tooth’s root system. This makes the dental implant and the implant supported bridge the replacement method that mimics natural teeth most effectively in terms of function, strength, and appearance. This also makes the implant supported bridge one of the most stable bridges available.
Dental bridges generally last the patient between 5 and 8 years, which presents many patients with an important choice. “Go with a bridge and maybe have to replace it?” Or, “Pay a little more for an implant that should last forever?”
Regardless of the choice, dental bridges continue to be a reliable, safe, and virtually unnoticeable dental prosthetic that can successfully fix your smile.