Dental Bridge

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Losing a tooth is one of the most frightening experiences in dentistry. Moreover, having missing teeth can induce multiple consequences to your oral health if left untreated. But, fortunately, modern dentistry offers many solutions to these problems to recover and rehabilitate your smile. 

Dental bridges belong to these treatments. For many years, they have been an effective alternative to deal with tooth loss with excellent results. 

Here, at Family Smile Dental, we explain everything you need to know about this treatment alternative and how it can be your solution.  

Concept of how dental bridges work

What is a dental bridge?

A dental bridge is a prosthetic treatment made to replace one or several missing teeth, aiming to restore their function and aesthetics. 

What differentiates it from other dental prosthetic alternatives is that dental bridges are fixed into your mouth.

As their name suggests, they work as bridges that fill the gap between two or more teeth. This prosthesis uses natural teeth or implants as pillars to place an artificial tooth in the middle called pontic.

What are the causes of tooth loss?

Tooth loss can be the result of many factors and conditions. Amongst the most frequent, we have: 

  • Decay and cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Dental fractures
  • Trauma due to accidents
  • Genetic factors such as teeth that never erupted

Sadly, although decay and gum disease are easily preventable, they represent the most common cause of tooth loss in the world.

When do you need a dental bridge?

In dentistry, each case is unique. Thereby, you will need a complete assessment and consultation to know the indications and steps needed for your rehabilitation. Nonetheless, dental bridges have been indicated in the following situations: 

  • After losing one tooth when the neighbor teeth are also affected
  • When you have lost multiple teeth, and the adjacent pieces can support them
  • After losing more than one tooth in a row, while other treatment options are not available

However, the final call will depend on the severity of the case, your general oral state, medical condition, and the causes of the tooth loss. 

Just as with other dental treatments, sometimes this treatment is not possible. In that case, your San Jose dentist will propose alternatives and possibilities for your treatment.

At Family Smile Dental, we will provide you all the information you need, tracing a customized treatment plan adapted to your needs and goals.

Why are dental bridge needed?

After you lose a tooth, your mouth tries to fill the empty space moving your remaining teeth around. Although it is a natural response, these movements induce several oral complications such as chewing problems, speech difficulties, teeth overcrowding, eating issues, and other conditions. Furthermore, as more time passes while having missing teeth, these consequences worsen and get more complicated and expensive to fix. Thereby having missing teeth is not only a cosmetic problem but also an oral health treat. 

Fortunately, with a dental bridge, Dr. Diaz would allow you to eat, speak and look as if you have your teeth back, indistinctively of the cause. 

Moreover, for a permanent solution, dental bridges represent a long-lasting and highly esthetical restoration with excellent final results. 

Your San Jose dentist will provide a dental bridge that will not only boost your image and self-esteem but also prevent the discomfort and maintenance of removable dental prostheses.

What are dental bridge made of?

Dental bridges are made from many materials. However, there are two main groups: metallic and ceramic materials. 

Metallic dental bridges are usually made from metal alloys with cobalt, chrome, nickel, palladium, silver, gold, and aluminum. When combined, these materials are highly resistant, non-toxic, and biocompatible with your tissues, offering outstanding results. Even so, despite their toughness, these alloys are not esthetical and are usually covered by ceramic layers to improve their look.

On the other hand, ceramic dental bridges are made from tooth-colored though compounds with highly esthetical properties. These crystalline materials provide natural-looking dental bridges while being tough and resistant. 

Nowadays, with technological advances, there are new materials available such as zirconia. Along with CAD-CAM, oral scanning, 3D printing, and IMAX technologies, these materials allow more conservative and faster restorations with excellent results. 

What are the types of dental bridges?

In a nutshell, there are three types of dental bridges we do in Family Smile Dental:

  • Traditional 
  • Cantilever
  • Implant-supported bridges

Traditional bridges 

Traditional dental bridges are the most common type of this prosthesis. They consist of artificial teeth in the middle hold by complete fixed crowns on their sides. This type can replace one or several missing teeth even with complex clinical situations. 

Also, this alternative provides a steady, safe, and esthetical alternative with decades of proven success. 


Cantilevers differentiate from traditional bridges in that they hold one pontic on the extreme side of the prosthesis. They are useful when you lose a single tooth but require specific circumstances.  

Implant-supported bridges 

Finally, an implant-supported bridge works similarly to traditional bridges with crowns on the sides of the gap. However, as its names suggest, these crowns are installed over dental implants previously inserted into the bone through surgery and not natural teeth. This process usually requires a profound study and a surgical procedure to leave the implant in place before setting the bridge. 

Yet, implant-supported bridges have one of the most natural results in modern dentistry, with the highest success rate.

How is the process of dental bridges?

The exact process that you might need for your dental bridges will depend on many factors. However, there is a series of steps that Dr. Diaz will follow to provide you the best treatment possible:

Examination and Planning

The first measure to ensure a well-adapted and designed dental bridge is to perform a complete dental evaluation and assessment. 

Dr. Diaz will review your mouth’s general state and evaluate your bite, teeth, and gums. Usually, this stage requires some x-rays, medical history, dental history, gypsum replicas, and every other exam that you need. 

With all the information gathered, the Family Smile Dental team will trace an individualized treatment plan that fits your needs and schedule. 

Also, during this step, Dr. Diaz will determine if you need other dental treatment before the 

Teeth Preparation

Once the first stage is finished, the team will proceed with your teeth preparation to receive the prosthesis. This stage is a pain-free procedure that consists of the following frequent steps: 

  • The doctor will start numbing your teeth with local anesthesia to avoid pain and discomfort.
  • With the teeth numb, she files down their surfaces, conserving the most dental tissue possible. The filling amount will depend on the type of dental bridge and the material used. However, it is usually less than 3 mm, to allow enough room for the ceramic or metallic crown.
  • After the pillar teeth are filed, she takes a dental impression and sends the models to a laboratory that manufactures the prosthesis.
  • Then, the doctor places temporary protection while the final bridge comes back from the lab. 

Adapting and cementing

The final stage of a dental bridge consists of fixing the finished bridge to the teeth while ensuring a perfect fit. To do so, the doctor places the bridge over your teeth and holds them in place with specialized cement. 

Finally, she will perform multiple tests and trials to ensure that your bridge is perfectly safe and stable without hurting you or other teeth in your mouth. 

With your new prosthesis in the mouth, your new teeth will feel and look like your original denture, allowing you to eat, speak, and chew naturally.

How long do dental bridges last?

With proper dental care and hygiene, dental bridges can last for several years or more without requiring any changes or modifications. However, its performance will depend directly on your home care and professional visits.

How to take care of dental bridges?

The measures you need to care for your dental bridges are not so different from conventional dental care. We recommend you follow these next suggestions to maintain your new teeth in perfect shape: 

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes to avoid dental plaque and tartar formation
  • Make emphasis on flossing and mouth washing daily to avoid food accumulation and gum disease
  • Ask your dentist in San Jose about how to clean your gums below your pontic, mainly if she suggests a special toothbrush
  • Schedule regular visits to your dentist to check the state of your prosthesis and undergo a professional clean up
  • Ask the doctor about nightguards if you suspect you grind your teeth as it can wear your natural teeth and damage your tissues
  • Avoid chewing hard foods that can damage both your bridge and your natural teeth

Finally, we recommend that you follow any other professional suggestion that Dr. Diaz proposes. Remember that rehabilitating your smile is a team effort. And you are an essential part of it.