Dental bridges do exactly as the name implies, they ‘bridge’ the gap created by one or more missing teeth. A dental bridge is made by preparing the teeth on either side of the gap for crowns . These teeth are known as abutments, and placing the bridge, which is one single piece: abutment crowns fused to a false tooth (pontic) in between. As with all restorative procedures, our dental bridges are very functional and natural looking.
Bridges can be placed over natural teeth to cover the span of one or two missing teeth, or on implants to cover a larger span of missing teeth.
While dental implants are the preferred treatment for lost teeth, some sites missing teeth may not be good candidates for implants and may do better with a dental bridge or a removable partial denture.
How long do dental bridges last?
A dental bridge will typically last 10 – 20 years. If you take great care it could last even longer. It’s really important to maintain a high level of dental hygiene at all times to extend the lifespan of your bridge.
What types of dental bridges are there?
Traditional Bridges: This is the most common type of dental bridge procedure. It involves preparing crowns for the teeth on either side of the missing tooth, and then placing a bridge that contains crowns on the ends fused to a false tooth to fill the gap.
Maryland Bonded Bridges: This particular bridge conserves natural tooth structure and is bonded in place like a filling. They are generally only used to replace small anterior teeth.
Cantilever Bridges: These are used to replace teeth that do not have supporting teeth on both sides of the affected area. Implants are generally preferred to cantilever bridges.
Why should you consider getting a dental bridge?
Having one or more missing teeth not only affects your smile, it also adversely affects your overall dental health. Missing teeth can cause a host of problems, including –
- A shift in the alignment of adjacent teeth
- Increased risk of tooth decay
- More susceptible to periodontal disease
- Possible speech impediments
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
What are the benefits of replacing missing teeth?
- Restore your natural smile
- Restore your ability to chew properly and redistribute bite force properly
- Eliminate speech impediments
- Maintain shape of face
- Preserve adjacent teeth and gum tissue
- Maintain proper teeth alignment
What is the process of getting dental bridges?
The procedure for getting a dental bridge is typically a two visit procedure following the examination. The preparation phase usually involved removing a layer of enamel from the tooth to allow room for a crown to be placed over them. Next, your dentist will make an impression of the teeth, which serve as a model by which the crowns, replacement teeth and bridge will be made. A temporary dental bridge will be made for you to protect the exposed teeth and gums from being damaged while your permanent bridge is being built.
During your second visit the temporary bridge will be removed and the permanent bridge put in place and checked and adjusted to ensure a comfortable natural fit and esthetics.
Are there any cons?
There are some disadvantages of dental bridges –
- Adjacent tooth structure needs to be removed to make way for the abutments
- The bridge is not anchored into the bone like an implant, which may cause the bone beneath the bridge to weaken and the surrounding gum tissue may recede
- Sometimes bridges will put additional pressure on adjacent teeth
There are alternatives – partial dentures and implants. However, it is best to consult with one of our dentists first to determine the most suitable treatment option.
How much do dental bridges cost?
The cost of a dental bridge depends on the type and size of the bridge needed. In order to get an accurate estimate you will need to consult with your dentist. Typically, individual dental insurance will cover a portion, if not all of the dental bridge procedure. We recommend you check with your provider before scheduling an appointment to determine your exact level of coverage.
Don’t have dental insurance? We offer in-house dental insurance plans for every situation.
To find out more about dental bridges, inquire about dental insurance plans, or to schedule an appointment, give us a call today (208.322.5655).