Dental Bridges: Types & Who Needs Them

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Imagine you’re playing a game of building a bridge with blocks, connecting one side of a river to the other so you can cross safely. A dental bridge functions in the same way in your mouth, only it bridges the space left by a missing tooth (or teeth) rather than crossing a river. A dental bridge is a special kind of dental appliance that helps restore your smile and makes it easier to chew food.

So Why Do We Need Dental Bridges?

When you lose a tooth, it’s not just a gap in your smile. Missing teeth can cause other problems, too. Teeth on either side of the gap can shift or tilt, which can lead to biting problems. A gap can also make it harder to chew food properly and might even affect how you speak. Dental bridges in Grande Prairie help solve these problems by filling in the space with a replacement tooth, called a pontic.

Types of Dental Bridges

There are four main types of dental bridges: Traditional, Cantilever, Maryland, and Implant-Supported. Each type has its own unique way of filling in the gap.

1. Traditional Dental Bridge

It is the most common type. Conventional bridges consist of one or more pontics and are secured to the adjacent teeth, known as abutment teeth, by dental crowns. Imagine you have a missing tooth, and the dentist places a crown on the tooth before and after the gap, with the pontic in between. It creates a strong, stable bridge.

2. Cantilever Dental Bridge

A cantilever bridge is similar to a traditional bridge, but it’s only anchored on one side. It means if you have a tooth on just one side of the gap, the pontic is attached to that single tooth. Cantilever dental bridges near you are not used as much anymore because they can put a lot of force on the single supporting tooth.

3. Maryland Dental Bridge

A Maryland bridge, also known as a resin-bonded bridge, is slightly different. Instead of using crowns, it uses a metal or porcelain framework that is bonded to the back of the adjacent teeth. It’s like a pair of wings that hold the pontic in place. This type of bridge is less invasive because it doesn’t require the teeth next to the gap to be filed down for crowns.

4. Implant-Supported Dental Bridge

This type is the most modern and uses dental implants for support. Instead of being anchored to natural teeth, the pontic is held in place by implants, which are metal posts surgically placed in the jawbone. Implant-supported bridges are very strong and durable because the implants act like natural tooth roots.

Who Needs a Dental Bridge?

Not everyone with a missing tooth needs dental bridges treatment. Dentists usually recommend a bridge if:

  • You have one or more missing teeth.
  • Your teeth on either side of the gap are healthy and strong enough to support a bridge.
  • You are looking for a permanent solution that looks and feels like natural teeth.
  • A dental bridge might not be the best option if your neighbouring teeth are not strong or if you have a large number of missing teeth in a row. In such cases, other options, like dentures or implants, might be better.

The Process of Getting a Dental Bridge

Getting a dental bridge takes a few visits to the dentist. Here’s what you can expect:

1. Consultation and Preparation

The dentist will examine your mouth, take X-rays, and possibly make moulds of your teeth during the first dental bridges consultation. If you need a traditional or cantilever bridge, the dentist will prepare the abutment teeth by filing them down to fit crowns.

2. Temporary Bridge

While your permanent bridge is being made, you might get a temporary bridge to protect the exposed teeth and gums.

3. Fitting the Permanent Bridge

Once the permanent bridge is ready, the dentist will fit and adjust it to make sure it’s comfortable. They will then cement it in place.

4. Follow-Up

After your bridge is fitted, you might have a follow-up visit to ensure everything is working well. It’s important to keep up with regular dental check-ups to maintain the health of your bridge and the surrounding teeth.

Taking Care of Your Dental Bridge

Caring for a dental bridge is much like caring for your natural teeth. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss every day, and see your dentist regularly. You might need a special type of floss to clean under the pontic. Eating a balanced diet and avoiding very hard or sticky foods can also help keep your dental bridges in good shape.


Dental bridges are an excellent solution for filling gaps left by missing teeth. They help restore your smile, improve your ability to chew and speak and prevent other dental problems. By understanding the different types of dental bridges and how they work, you can better appreciate how they contribute to a healthy, confident smile.

If you or someone you know has a missing tooth, talking to a dentist in Grande Prairie about dental bridges might be the first step toward a complete and beautiful smile. Swanavon Dental Clinic can guide you through your dental bridge journey from start to finish with the help of our in-house experts.