A dental bridge is a dental treatment for replacing a missing tooth. A bridge can sometimes be used to replace more than one missing tooth. It is a requirement that the tooth/teeth being replaced has at least one tooth behind it and one tooth in front of it.
Let’s say for instance that a patient is going to lose their first molar and decides to have a bridge made to replace the tooth. Typically, the tooth is extracted and given time to heal. Once the site has healed sufficiently, the tooth in front of the missing space and behind the missing space are prepared in the same manner they would be for a dental crown. These teeth are considered the “abutments” of the bridge. After impressions are taken and models are made, a dental lab fabricates a bridge. A bridge is essentially two (or more) crowns connected, and the connection, called the “pontic”, is what replaces the missing tooth. The pontic is made to adapt to the gum tissue that has heeled after the extraction.
The preferred material for making dental bridges has changed a lot over the years. Nowadays, there are tooth colored metals that can be utilized to make amazingly strong bridges. When superior esthetics are necessary, like for front teeth, ceramic can be layered on top of metals to make them appear more realistic.
For a very long time, dental bridges were “state of the art” dental treatment for patients that did not want to have removable partial dentures. As dental implants became more and more predictable, bridges began to fall out of favor in dentistry. As implants became more and more cost effective, bridges are getting closer and closer to be a thing of the past in dentistry. In most cases where a dental bridge is an option, a dental implant is a better option.