We all know that a beautiful smile can light up a room, but what happens when you’re missing a tooth or two? Gaps in your smile can affect not only your appearance but also your dental health. This is where dental bridges come into play. Dental bridges are a fantastic solution for those looking to restore their smile and improve their oral health. Let’s dive into what dental bridges are, how they work, and their numerous benefits.

What are Dental Bridges?

Dental bridges are fixed dental restorations used to replace one or more missing teeth. They “bridge” the gap created by missing teeth by anchoring to the neighbouring teeth or dental implants.

Types of Dental Bridges

Traditional Bridges

Traditional bridges are the most common type. They involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between.

Cantilever Bridges

Regular dental check-ups offer numerous benefits for your oral health and overall well-being. By prioritizing routine visits to Ottawa Smiles Family Dental.

Maryland Bonded Bridges

Also known as resin-bonded bridges, these are made of porcelain fused to metal or ceramic teeth and gums, with wings on each side that are bonded to your existing teeth.

Implant-Supported Bridges

These bridges are similar to traditional bridges but are supported by dental implants instead of natural teeth. This type provides excellent stability and durability.

How Dental Bridges Work

Getting a dental bridge typically involves multiple steps:

  1. Consultation and Planning: Your dentist will examine your teeth and discuss the best bridge option for you.
  1. Tooth Preparation: The abutment teeth are prepared by removing a portion of enamel to accommodate the crowns.
  1. Impressions: An impression of your teeth is made to create a model for the bridge.
  1. Temporary Bridge: A temporary bridge is placed to protect the exposed teeth and gums while your bridge is being made.
  1. Final Fitting: The temporary bridge is removed, and the new permanent bridge is adjusted and cemented into place.

Benefits of Dental Bridges

Improved Aesthetics

Dental bridges restore your smile by filling in gaps, giving you a complete and natural-looking set of teeth.

Enhanced Dental Functionality

Enhanced dental functionality refers to improvements in the performance, health, and aesthetics of the teeth and gums.

Prevention of Teeth Shifting

Missing teeth can cause neighbouring teeth to shift into the gap, leading to bite problems and other dental issues. A bridge keeps your teeth in their proper position.

Maintenance of Facial Structure

Missing teeth can lead to bone loss in the jaw, which can affect your facial structure. Dental bridges help maintain the shape of your face by supporting your jawbone.

Materials Used in Dental Bridges

Dental bridges can be made from various materials, including:


Porcelain bridges are highly popular due to their natural appearance. They can be matched closely to the color of your natural teeth, making them an excellent choice for visible areas of the mouth.

Metal Alloys

Metal bridges, often made from alloys such as gold, palladium, or nickel-chromium, are known for their exceptional durability. They can withstand strong chewing forces, making them ideal for molars and other areas subject to significant pressure.


Zirconia bridges are increasingly popular because they offer a combination of strength and aesthetics. Zirconia is a type of ceramic that is incredibly strong and can withstand significant wear and tear, making it suitable for both anterior and posterior teeth.

Who Needs a Dental Bridge?

Ideal candidates for dental bridges are those who have one or more missing teeth but have healthy teeth or implants on either side of the gap. Conditions that might necessitate a dental bridge include tooth decay, injury, or congenital absence of teeth.

Preparation for a Dental Bridge

Initial Consultation

Your family dentist will review your medical history and conduct a thorough examination to determine if a dental bridge is the right solution for you.

Dental Examination and Imaging

X-rays and impressions of your teeth will be taken to plan the placement and design of your bridge.

The Procedure of Getting a Dental Bridge

Tooth Preparation

The abutment teeth are reshaped to fit the crowns that will secure the bridge. This involves removing a portion of the enamel from these teeth to create space for the crowns, ensuring a proper fit and stable support for the bridge.

Taking Impressions

Precise impressions are essential for crafting a bridge that fits correctly and functions effectively. The dentist uses a special dental putty or digital scanner to capture an accurate mould of your teeth and gums, which is then sent to a dental lab where the bridge is custom-made.

Placing a Temporary Bridge

A temporary bridge is installed to safeguard the prepared teeth and gums while the permanent bridge is being made. This temporary solution helps maintain the aesthetics of your smile and allows you to eat and speak more comfortably during the waiting period.

Fitting the Permanent Bridge

The temporary bridge is removed, and the custom-made bridge is checked for fit and comfort before being permanently cemented in place. The dentist will ensure that the bridge aligns well with your bite and makes any necessary adjustments to guarantee optimal function and appearance.

Post-Procedure Care

Immediate Aftercare Tips

Avoid eating hard foods for the first few days and follow your dentist’s instructions to ensure proper healing and comfort.

Long-term Maintenance

Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups are essential to maintain the health and longevity of your dental bridge.

Potential Risks and Complications

While dental bridges are generally safe, some potential issues include tooth decay under the crowns, gum disease, and bridge failure. Regular dental visits and good oral hygiene can help mitigate these risks.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long do dental bridges last?
    Dental bridges can last between 5 to 15 years or even longer with proper care and maintenance.
  1. Is the procedure painful?
    Most patients experience little to no pain during the procedure, thanks to local anesthesia. Some discomfort is normal after the procedure but usually subsides quickly.
  1. Can dental bridges be whitened?
    No, dental bridges cannot be whitened. It’s best to have your teeth whitened before getting a bridge to ensure a uniform color.
  1. How do I clean my dental bridge?
    Brush and floss your teeth regularly, and use special floss threaders to clean under the bridge. Your dentist may also recommend an antibacterial mouthwash.
  1. What if my dental bridge feels uncomfortable?
    If your bridge feels uncomfortable or doesn’t fit properly, contact your dentist. They can make adjustments to ensure a better fit.