Bridges are used to replace missing teeth. In children, the most common reasons why a bridge would be necessary are congenitally or traumatically missing front teeth. A bridge can give your child the confidence to smile, in addition to improved chewing function and speech development.
A bridge consists of a false tooth (a pontic) attached to crowns or onlays that are cemented onto the adjacent teeth. For pediatric patients we often recommend a Carolina or Maryland bridge, as these types of bridges rely on bonding to the adjacent teeth instead of preparing full crowns on healthy teeth.
A Carolina bridge is an all-porcelain bonded prosthesis best suited when there is enough space in between the adjacent teeth to fit a resin connector. It is an excellent interim prosthesis to replace missing primary teeth because it is a totally reversible procedure.
A Maryland bridge is permanent in nature, as it consists of a porcelain tooth with thin metal tabs on either side. These tabs are bonded to the back of the adjacent teeth, eliminating the need to remove any healthy tooth structure.
A bridge is completed in two or more appointments. First, the dentist will prepare the adjacent or neighboring teeth for the crown or onlay. A mold of the teeth is created, and a model of the teeth is produced. The model is sent to a dental lab and the bridge is created. Once the lab returns the completed bridge, it is cemented or bonded into place.
Care of a bridge is like all dental care. The bridge needs to be brushed and flossed just like the natural teeth. Because of the way a bridge is fabricated, floss needs to be threaded under the pontic in order to reach all areas under the tooth and along the gumline.
If your child requires a bridge, we may refer you to a local prosthodontist (a specialist in restorations) or a general dentist to complete treatment. This will ensure your child has the best chance of having long-term treatment success and a beautiful smile.