For many folks that are looking for a permanent and cost effective way to replace damaged or missing teeth, a dental bridge can be an excellent option. Quite literally, dental bridges are designed to “bridge the gap” in your smile when one or more teeth are missing. Additionally, they can be a great tool to help maintain the shape of your face if you haven’t previously had any tooth replacement done. Here at Friendly Dentistry, our dental professionals have the experience and the resources to fit you with a quality dental bridge that will help you look and feel more confident. By opting for a dental bridge, your dental professional can help you preserve the look of your smile for much less than full mouth reconstruction— and by practicing good oral hygiene, you can keep it that way for years.
Dental Bridge Details
A missing tooth can be much more than just a change to your smile— it can seriously affect and even increase the likelihood of issues like gum disease and tooth decay in your surrounding teeth. When you lose a tooth or multiple teeth, it strains the others, and can cause them to drift into the empty space. This, in large part, is due to the fact that our teeth are designed to work together. When tooth loss occurs, a vital link is removed, and others must work even harder to make up for the loss. Additionally, the loss of an adult tooth is characteristically different the loss of baby teeth in that there is no replacement tooth hiding within the gum tissue, waiting to replace missing teeth. As such, what becomes little more than a hole or stump in the gums where the tooth root used to be can breed bacteria and other germs that penetrate the gum line.
A fixed dental bridge is an efficient line of defense that uses the strength of the healthy teeth and an implanted dental crown on the top of adjacent teeth to cement a replacement tooth (also known as a pontic) in the spot where the missing tooth was. The process usually takes a few appointments to complete, as specific measurements of the existing teeth are needed in order to create a perfect replacement for the missing tooth. In some cases, bone grafting may be necessary in order to make sure there is a proper fit. The process is permanent, and can not be reversed without the help of a dental professional, so great care is taken to ensure the fit, finish, and feel of the tooth meets the patient’s satisfaction. While the final product is created in our dental laboratory according to our dentists’ specification, you are fitted with a temporary crown on each tooth, as well as a temporary bridge in place of the missing teeth. The dental procedure is relatively painless, and when overseen by a skilled cosmetic dentist, it really can make a big difference in the appearance of your teeth.
What type of dental bridge is right for you?
At our dental office, we often suggest a fixed dental bridge (sometimes referred to as a cantilever bridge) for patients that need a standard replacement procedure done, but there are other options depending on patient needs. Our dentists have a wealth of knowledge installing and consulting on a number dental bridge types, and it’s possible that your situation may require something different.
The Maryland dental bridge works much the same way as the fixed dental bridge, except for the fact that where a fixed bridge employs porcelain crowns on top of existing healthy teeth to cement the bridge, the Maryland bridge is actually affixed to the back of the abutment teeth with porcelain or metal. This option may be recommended if the existing natural teeth are not positioned in a way that would allow for a crown to be created easily, or if other dental problems lend themselves to complications with the fixed dental bridge method.
Finally, a dental bridge supported by implants is another option. This option is usually reserved for patients that do not have two natural, healthy teeth immediately on either side of the gap. With an implant supported bridge, a dental implant procedure is needed first in order to bolster the new teeth into the jawbone. Afterwards, a second procedure designed to position the bridge is needed. While this is considered the most secure version of a dental bridge, it can often take several months to ensure the implants are functioning properly before the bridge surgery is considered. The good news is that affixing a bridge through the use of dental implant surgery often means larger gaps can be filled in the process.
Different types of bridges work best for different situations. Our experienced team will talk to you about your options to ensure you’re comfortable with the result of any dental procedures we do.
How much does a dental bridge cost?
As is the case with most dental implant procedures, the cost of a dental bridge depends a lot on the size and complexity of the dental procedure needed to make it work. Additionally, things like the material of the replacement (typically metal alloy, zirconia, or porcelain), the cost of the implants themselves, the amount of teeth that need to be replaced, the location of the teeth, and the presence of any pre-existing conditions or circumstances like periodontal disease or existing artificial teeth are all factors that must be considered.
On average, a fixed dental bridge can cost between $2,000 and $5,000, including the replacement tooth itself and the crowns for each adjacent tooth. A Maryland bridge or implant supported bridge can be a bit pricier. For some, aid from dental insurance can help offset the costs.
A dental bridge can do wonders for your facial structure, remove speech impediments due to missing teeth, restore your confidence, and give you the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted. Request a consultation with one of our knowledgeable dentists to get started today!