If you are missing a tooth, then crowns placed on the teeth immediately adjacent to the missing one can be used to anchor a false tooth which then “bridges” the gap.
What is a bridge?
A bridge is a false tooth that is connected to crowns on immediately adjacent teeth. The crowns serve as anchors that hold the false tooth in place, above your gum line.
What kind of bridges are there?
The most common type is a fixed bridge, which is described above. One reasons fixed bridges are so popular is that they provide a natural fit and appearance. Being fitted for a bridge is very similar to receiving a regular crown.
A second type of bridge is called the cantilever bridge. This is a false tooth that is anchored to one or more teeth on one side only, but not the other. Because the bridge is cantilevered, it does not have the same strength as a fixed bridge. It should only be used in areas where your teeth experience reduced stress; this is usually your front teeth.
A third type of bridge is called a removable bridge. Like its name suggests, it is not cemented permanently in place (as is a fixed bridge). It can be taken out and put back in. It may be available at a lower cost, but it requires extra hygiene attention.
What alternatives do I have to a bridge?
There are alternatives to bridges, and feel free to ask Dr. Ertl about their pros and cons in the context of your oral health history. One alternative is a partial denture; this is a removable appliance that can replace one or more teeth. A second alternative is a dental implant, which permanently replaces your natural tooth.
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