Traditional or Cantilever Bridge
The first step to getting a traditional fixed or cantilever dental bridge is preparing the abutment tooth/teeth.
Your dentist will start by removing some of the enamel and dentin from the abutment teeth to make space for the crowns. Then, they’ll place a temporary bridge over those teeth to protect them until the bridge is placed.
During a later appointment, your dentist will:
- Remove the temporary crowns
- Check the permanent crowns and bridge for a proper fit
- Cement the bridge in place
- Sometimes, the bridge is permanently cemented during this procedure. However, your dentist may opt for temporary cement instead, which gives you time to make sure the bridge fits properly before it is made permanent.
For a Maryland bridge, all that needs to happen to your abutment teeth is a little etching on the back side, which helps the wings bond to it.
Once it’s tested for proper fit, your dentist will:
- Place the bridge
- Bond the metal wings to the abutment teeth with a strong resin
- Cure the resin
An implant-supported bridge requires surgery to place the implants in your jawbone followed by time for you to heal.
Healing time for an implant-supported bridge varies greatly depending on where in your mouth the implants are and whether your jawbone needs to be built up to support the implants.
You may have a temporary bridge to wear until your next procedure when your dentist will place the permanent bridge over the implants. This procedure involves small incisions in the gums, so healing time is greater than with other types of bridges.
Dental bridges are considered “permanent” because you can’t take them out like you can dentures; however, they don’t last forever.
The average dental bridge lasts between five and seven years. With proper care, some bridges can last more than a decade. Advances in dental bridge materials and methods are likely to make them even more durable in the future.
The best way to get the most out of your dental bridge is to take proper care of it.