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Bridging the Gap: Understanding the World of Dental Bridges

What is a Dental Bridge

A dental bridge substitutes one or more lost teeth, relying on abutments for support. Abutments can either be intact teeth or implants.


In the bridge’s center are false teeth (pontics) crafted from ceramic, porcelain, metals, or resin. Dental bridges offer customization to match the natural shade of your teeth, ensuring a uniform smile.

What are the Four Types of Dental Bridges

The various types of dental bridges hinge on their attachment methods. The dentist may recommend:

Traditional Dental Bridge

The traditional dental bridge is the most widely used type. It is used for gaps that have adjacent health teeth. This dental bridge has dental crowns on both ends covering either tooth.

Cantilever Dental Bridge

In this type of dental bridge, only one end anchors to the artificial tooth with a dental crown. The pontic is left to hang or extend over the gap. This bridge is used only when natural teeth are on one side of the gap.

Maryland Dental Bridge

This kind of dental bridge is frequently employed in front tooth gaps. It has metal or porcelain wings bonded to the backs of neighboring teeth to secure the bridge.

Implant-Supported Bridge

The implant-supported bridge is comparable to the traditional dental bridge. The difference is that the abutments are dental implants instead of natural teeth. It is often used when three more missing teeth are in a row.


Implant-supported bridges take two surgeries to complete. The first surgery is to fuse the implants into the jawbone. The second surgery is to bond the bridge in place. Getting an implant-supported bridge can take 3-6 months to complete.

Patient getting tooth extracted at the dentist.
Happy senior women getting her teeth fixed at the dentist.

Do I Need a Dental Bridge

Here are factors that make you an ideal candidate for a dental bridge:

  • Good oral health to avoid complications.
  • Healthy teeth and bone structure capable of supporting the bridge.
  • No severe medical conditions.
  • The ability to maintain good oral health to preserve the condition of the dental bridge.

Are Dental Bridges Worth It: Pros and Cons

Dental bridges have advantages and risks. Your dentist will work with you to decide which dental restoration option is best for your case. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks to keep in mind when using dental bridges.

Pros of Dental Bridges

Dental bridges can:

  • Providing a natural-looking solution for tooth loss.
  • Restoring aesthetic balance to the smile.
  • Restoring the ability to chew and evenly distribute bite force.
  • Restoring speech and pronunciation.
  • Maintaining facial structure integrity by preventing bone loss in the jaw where the missing tooth/teeth are.
  • Maintaining the correct position of remaining teeth and preventing them from shifting into the gap.

Cons of Dental Bridges

There are risks in dental bridges, such as:

  • Potential decay under bridge caps if the teeth abutments are not correctly fitted. Here at “Bellevue Dentist”, a comprehensive dental cleaning education for dental bridges will be instructed to maintain the oral health for a long-lasting predictable outcome.
  • If the dental bridge is not cleaned and maintained regularly, plaque and bacteria can cause gum inflammation or cavities.
  • If abutment teeth are not strong enough or are damaged, it can compromise the dental bridge, therefore the abutments of the future dental bridge will be thoroughly examined to assure a durable outcome to avoid any technical or biological complications.

Teeth and Dental Bridge Preparation

Depending on the type of crown, the initial visit is to prepare the teeth that will become the abutments of the dental bridge.


  • Teeth examination: Your dentist will assess your dental and overall health. They may take X-rays to study the teeth roots and surrounding bone structure.
  • Tooth preparation: Depending on the type of dental bridge, the dentist will prepare the abutments. They will administer local anesthesia for your comfort.
    • Traditional or Cantilever Dental Bridge: A thin layer of enamel is removed to ensure a snug fit for the crowns of the dental bridge.
    • Maryland Dental Bridge: Minimal enamel removal on the backs of adjacent teeth is necessary to accommodate the bridge.
    • Implant-Supported Bridges: Your dentist will place dental implants into your jawbone. The jaw bone may take six months to heal. Once the dental implants are fully fused to the jaw bone, the dentist will attach small connector posts that extend slightly past the gum line.
  • Take dental impressions: Impressions of your teeth are taken and sent to the laboratory, where technicians create your custom dental bridge.
  • Temporary bridging: While your permanent dental bridge is being crafted, your dentist may recommend temporary bridging for improved chewing or biting.

Dental Bridge Fitting

After the dental bridge is completed, your next appointment focuses on fitting the bridge.

  • Fitting the dental bridge: Local anesthesia is first administered to the gum and surrounding tissues. The dentist removes the temporary dental bridge. Then, they will put the dental bridge to the abutments and check its fit both clinically and with radiographs. They will also confirm if your bite is balanced. Bite adjustments are crucial step to assure durable outcome for the dental bridge.
  • Securing the dental bridge: The new dental bridge is bonded in place. In implant-supported bridges, the dentist may use tiny screws.

How Long Do Dental Bridges Last

Dental bridges can last 15-25 years on average. With proper oral care and maintenance, its lifespan can extend longer, therefore the dental cleaning instruction at the end of the appointment is the most important step at the “Bellevue Dentist” and a thorough comprehensive education will be given to you to assure a long lifetime of the dental bridge

When Should I Call My Dentist?

Book an appointment with your dentist earlier than your follow-up check-up:

  • If your dental bridge feels loose.
  • If you notice any cracks in the bridge.
  • If you experience teeth sensitivity.
  • If your gums are sore or bleeding.
  • If you experience pain while chewing.

How to Care for Your Dental Crown

There is a risk of decay for teeth abutments if plaque stays  around the dental bridge or crown. Therefore, oral health maintenance is a must. 

  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss two times a day with floss threaders or super floss. Flossing techniques will be explained to you in detail at the end of the treatment.
  • Regularly meet your dentist for cleaning and exams.

After-Procedure Care and Recovery

After the anesthesia wears off, expect soreness in the gum and surrounding tissue. It may take up to two weeks for the gum and teeth to heal. In implant-supported bridges, recovery may be longer due to small incisions in the gums. Your dentist may prescribe over-the-counter pain medications for relief.

Navigating Your Smile's Future with Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are an option in teeth restoration. They require good oral habits to make them last longer. They have different types depending on where the gaps are located and the number of missing teeth. Want to know more about what dental restoration solution is best for you? Consult with Dr. Najafi and Dr. Jayne at Bellevue Dentist. Schedule an appointment with us to begin today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Distinguishes Dental Bridges from Dental Implants?

A: A dental bridge covers a gap on top of the gums. A dental implant is a false tooth mounted on a screw that is connected to the jaw bone. Bridges are faster to make and less expensive. They are often covered by dental insurance. However, while implants require surgery and require months to finish, they look more natural and will prevent preparing the neighboring teeth.


Q: Is Getting a Dental Bridge Painful?

A: No, your dentist will give you local anesthesia first in both procedures: preparing your teeth for dental bridges and fitting one.


Q: How Long Are Dental Bridges Made?

A: Dental bridges can take 1-3 weeks to be made by a local dental laboratory and sent to your dentist’s office.


Q: How Much Would a Dental Bridge Cost?

A: A dental bridge can cost from $2,000-$8,000ndepends on the abutments if they are teeth or implants. Dental insurance may cover the costs fully or partially. Factors that impact the price include the number of teeth covering the gap, the type of dental bridge, and geographic location.

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