What Is A Dental Bridge? A Comprehensive Guide

Our teeth endure a lot throughout life’s journey. From the childhood joy of crunching on lollipops to the occasional neglect of brushing during late-night study sessions, our dental history is marked by various adventures. So, it’s not uncommon to find ourselves missing a tooth or two as we navigate into our senior years.

Fortunately, modern dentistry presents us with solutions to bridge those gaps — quite literally. Dental implants, bridges, and dentures are reliable options to restore our smiles and dental functionality. But for those of us who want to avoid dentures and haven’t studied dentistry (let’s face it, most of us!), we may be left wondering: what is a dental bridge, and should you get one?

In this comprehensive guide, we break down the details of dental bridges and implants and why you might choose one solution over the other. 


When you lose a tooth or multiple teeth, it can impact your smile and your ability to chew properly and maintain proper oral health. A dental bridge is a common solution to this problem. It literally “bridges” the gap created by one or more missing teeth. This fixed dental restoration is anchored onto the neighboring teeth (abutment teeth) on either side of the gap and consists of one or more artificial teeth (pontics) to fill the space.

Dental Bridge vs Dental Implant

Dental implants are small threaded posts that replace missing tooth roots. A surgeon places the dental implant into your jaw during oral surgery. Once the implant heals, your dentist places a crown on top.

Dental bridges, on the other hand, fill in for missing teeth without replacing the roots. At its most basic, a bridge consists of crowns that are placed over your natural teeth on each side of the missing tooth and an artificial tooth that fills in the gap between them.


The lifespan of a dental bridge can vary depending on factors such as oral hygiene, the material used, and the individual’s overall dental health. However, on average, dental bridges can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years or even longer with proper care and maintenance.

Is a Dental Bridge Permanent?

Contrary to popular belief, dental bridges are not necessarily permanent fixtures. They are designed to be durable and long-lasting but may require replacement or maintenance over time. Proper oral hygiene, including regular brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings, is essential for maintaining the longevity of a dental bridge.


When it comes to restoring a missing tooth or teeth, dental bridges offer both functional and aesthetic benefits, allowing individuals to regain their smile and chewing ability. However, not all dental bridges are created equal. Let’s look at the different types of dental bridges, exploring what they are, how they work, and when they are used.

Traditional Dental Bridge

This type of dental bridge is perhaps the most common type used to replace missing teeth. It consists of one or more pontic teeth (artificial teeth) anchored by dental crowns on either side of the gap. These crowns are placed over the natural teeth adjacent to the missing tooth, serving as abutments to hold the bridge securely in place.

The process begins with the preparation of the abutment teeth, where a portion of enamel is removed to accommodate the dental crowns. Impressions of the teeth are then taken to ensure a precise fit for the bridge. A temporary bridge may be placed while the permanent one is being fabricated. Once ready, the custom bridge is cemented onto the abutment teeth, effectively filling the gap left by the missing tooth. 

Standard dental bridge recovery time varies, with most patients feeling better within just a few days. Traditional dental bridges are a great option for individuals with healthy teeth adjacent to the gap and looking for a non-invasive option to replace their missing tooth or teeth.

Maryland Dental Bridge

Also known as a resin-bonded bridge, the Maryland dental bridge offers a conservative alternative to traditional bridges. Unlike traditional bridges, which require reducing adjacent teeth, Maryland bridges rely on metal or porcelain wings bonded to the back of adjacent teeth for support.

Maryland bridges feature a metal or porcelain framework with artificial teeth attached. The wings on either side of the bridge are bonded to the back of adjacent teeth using a dental adhesive, providing stability without the need for crowns.

Maryland bridges are often recommended for replacing front teeth or in situations where minimal alteration of adjacent teeth is desired. However, they may not be suitable for replacing molars or in cases where significant biting forces are exerted.

Implant-Supported Bridge

Implant-supported bridges offer an excellent option for those seeking a more permanent and stable solution. These bridges are anchored to dental implants surgically placed in the jawbone, providing unparalleled support and mimicking the teeth’s natural function.

Dental implants, made of titanium, are first inserted into the jawbone to replace the missing tooth roots. Once the implants have fused with the bone through a process called osseointegration, custom bridges are attached to the implants using abutments. This results in a strong and durable restoration that looks, feels, and functions like natural teeth.

Implant-supported bridges are ideal for individuals missing multiple adjacent teeth or those with insufficient natural teeth to support traditional bridges. They offer exceptional stability and longevity, making them a preferred choice for many patients.

Cantilever Dental Bridge

Similar to traditional bridges, cantilever bridges consist of pontic teeth supported by dental crowns. However, unlike traditional bridges that require a crown on each side of the gap, cantilever bridges only need one abutment tooth for support.

The pontic tooth is supported by a single dental crown cemented onto an adjacent natural tooth. This type of bridge is often used when only one adjacent tooth is available for support or when teeth are missing on only one side of the gap.

Cantilever bridges are typically recommended in specific situations where traditional or implant-supported bridges are not feasible. However, they may not be as stable as other types of bridges, especially in areas of the mouth that experience significant chewing forces.


Deciding how to treat dental damage is a major decision that can impact your quality of life. To make the decision a bit clearer, let’s examine the pros and cons of a dental bridge.

Pros of Dental Bridges

  • Natural-looking restoration: Dental bridges are designed to mimic the appearance of natural teeth, providing a seamless and aesthetically pleasing solution for those with missing teeth. They can be customized to match the color, shape, and size of surrounding teeth, ensuring a natural smile.
  • Restores function for chewing and speaking: By filling the gap left by missing teeth, dental bridges restore the ability to chew food properly and speak clearly. This enhances overall oral function and can improve quality of life, allowing individuals to enjoy a varied diet and communicate effectively.
  • Prevents neighboring teeth from shifting: When a tooth is lost, the adjacent teeth may gradually shift into the empty space, leading to misalignment and bite problems. Dental bridges help maintain the proper alignment of neighboring teeth by filling the gap and providing stability.

Cons of Dental Bridges

  • Requires strong teeth to support: Dental bridges rely on the support of adjacent teeth to hold them in place. These supporting teeth must be healthy and strong enough to withstand the additional stress of supporting the bridge. In cases where the supporting teeth are weak or compromised, alternative treatment options may be necessary.
  • Risk of future damage to supporting teeth: Preparing the abutment teeth for crown placement may involve removing a portion of its enamel. This process can weaken the structure of the supporting teeth and increase the risk of decay or other issues in the future. Regular monitoring and maintenance are essential to minimize this risk.
  • Needs to be cleaned well to prevent decay: Proper oral hygiene is crucial for maintaining the health of dental bridges and the surrounding teeth. Food particles and bacteria can accumulate around the bridge, increasing the risk of decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Thorough brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental check-ups and cleanings, are essential for long-term success.
  • Can be costly, depending on the type and materials used: The cost can vary depending on factors such as the type of bridge (traditional, cantilever, Maryland), the materials used (porcelain, metal, ceramic), and the complexity of the case. While dental bridges offer a durable and effective solution for tooth replacement, they can represent a significant financial investment for some individuals. It’s important to discuss the cost and payment options with your dentist beforehand.


Are you missing one or more teeth and considering dental restoration options? Dental bridges can be an excellent solution for restoring your smile and improving oral function. However, determining whether you’re a good candidate for a dental bridge requires careful consideration of various factors.

  1. Sufficient Tooth Support

A key consideration for candidacy is the presence of strong and healthy teeth adjacent to the gap left by the missing tooth or teeth. These neighboring teeth serve as support for the dental bridge. Dr. Rashti will evaluate the condition of these teeth to ensure they can withstand the additional stress of supporting the bridge.

  1. Good Oral Health

Candidates for dental bridges should have good oral health and be free from gum disease, decay, or other health issues. Poor oral health has been linked to chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease or diabetes, so it’s important to maintain regular visits to your dentist. Addressing any existing dental problems before a bridge placement is essential to ensure long-term success.

  1. Commitment to Oral Hygiene

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is crucial for the longevity of dental bridges. Candidates should be committed to brushing and flossing regularly and attending routine dental check-ups and cleanings to prevent decay and gum disease around the bridge.

  1. Bone Density and Gum Health

Adequate bone density and healthy gum tissue are essential for supporting dental implants, which may be used as anchors for the bridge. Dr. Rashti will look at the health of your jawbone and gums to determine whether dental implants are a viable option for you.


Enhance your dental health with the expert care from MR Dental Aesthetics. Dr. Rashti’s approach always starts by assessing a patient’s overall oral health and function before proceeding to any cosmetic procedure. She works with each patient one at a time, treating everyone with respect, dignity, and kindness, especially phobic patients. As a trusted Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist, Dr. Rashti’s comprehensive approach goes beyond looks; it’s about crafting a long-lasting foundation for lasting dental health and wellness. 

By focusing on preventive measures and offering a range of services, including full mouth reconstructiondental implantsTMJ treatmentperiodontal treatment, and more. Dr. Rashti ensures that you have a worry-free smile that stands the test of time. Contact MR Dental Aesthetics and schedule your appointment today!

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