Do you have a gap in your mouth caused by a missing tooth? This gap may be embarrassing and takes your confidence away. Luckily, this gap in your smile can be closed using a dental bridge.
A dental bridge is more like a replacement tooth (pontic) in-between one or two abutment teeth. The abutment teeth on either side of the pontic hold the pontic in place. The pontic is attached to the abutment tooth/teeth using a dental crown, a metal framework or an implant depending on the type of dental bridge. A dental bridge can be made from different dental materials, such as porcelain, silver, ceramic, porcelain-fused metals, or gold but it is typically made from porcelain material because it mimics and to blends in with the natural teeth.
Types of Dental Bridges
There are basically 4 types of dental bridges, which are:
- Traditional dental bridges
- Cantilever dental bridges
- Maryland dental bridges
- implant-supported dental bridges
Traditional dental bridge
This is a type of dental bridge where the replacement tooth is in between two anchoring crowns, which are attached to the adjacent teeth. This is the most popular type of dental bridge and it’s used only when the gap caused by missing tooth has natural teeth on both sides.
Cantilever dental bridge
Though similar to the traditional dental bridge, this type of dental bridge is used where there is only one natural tooth available on the side of the missing tooth. The pontic is only supported by a dental crown attached to an adjacent tooth. That means the weight of the replacement tooth will rest on one adjacent tooth and this may weaken the adjacent tooth significantly.
Maryland bonded bridge
Maryland bonded bridge also requires two adjacent teeth on both sides of the gap for support. However, this type of dental bridge does not attach to the abutment using dental crowns, instead, it requires a metal or porcelain framework to support the replacement teeth.
This type of dental bridge is very similar to the conventional dental bridge, but instead of relying on adjacent teeth for support, the dental bridge is supported by a dental implant. The dental implant is inserted into the jaw and the dental bridge is attached above the gumline. This type of dental bridge has an added advantage of also preventing bone loss.
The implant-supported bridge is considered the most stable and strongest of all types. However, it is the most expensive and usually requires a dental surgery to insert the implant post into the jawbone. This makes the process take several months to be completed.
Dental Bridge Cost
Dental bridge cost usually depends on the type of dental bridge chosen by the patients. The cost of cantilever or traditional dental bridge is normally between $2,000 to $5,000 for one replacement tooth and one support crown for each adjacent tooth. The Maryland dental bridge cost about $1,500 to $2,500 for one replacement tooth with its framework. An implant-supported dental bridge cost about $5,000 to $15,000 for two implants that can support 3 or 4 teeth.
Dental bridge cost is affected by a number of factors, which include:
- The number of missing teeth i.e. the number of replacement teeth needed.
- The geographic location of the dental office
- The complexity or level of difficulty of the dental bridge procedure.
- The dental bridge material used, such as porcelain, zirconia, composite resin, or metal alloy.
- Supplementary treatments.
Dental Bridge Procedure
A dental bridge is a very good idea for replacing a missing tooth. Though it is not the only tooth replacement option available, a dental bridge is a suitable and affordable restorative dentistry for most patients. To determine how appropriate the dental bridge procedure is for your dental case, you may need to consult your dentist to examine your dental health and condition.
The first step involved in getting a dental bridge procedure is consulting with your dentist to know if you are eligible for the procedure and to discuss the type of dental bridge you want. Dental bridge procedure normally requires two dental visits.
During the first visit, your dentist would prepare the adjacent tooth/teeth beside the gap. This step is important because the adjacent teeth (abutment teeth) would act as support for the replacement tooth and their shape would greatly affect the preparation of the pontic. To prepare the abutment teeth, some portion of their enamel is carefully removed by the dentist to accommodate the crown that would be placed on them.
After preparing the abutment tooth/teeth, the impressions of the adjacent tooth/teeth is taken to the dental lab to create the pontic and dental bridge. While the permanent dental bridge is being fabricated in the dental lab, a temporary dental bridge is placed over the gap to protect the exposed gums and prepared tooth/teeth
Once the permanent dental bridge is completed, you would make the second visit, where the dentist replaces the temporary bridge with the new permanent dental bridge. Your dentist would also examine the permanent dental bridge to see if it fits properly and if not, necessary adjustments must be made to achieve a perfect fit. Once a perfect fit is achieved – no bite issue whatsoever – the dentist proceeds to cement the dental bridge permanently in place.
Advantages of Dental Bridge
A dental bridge has a number of advantages, which account for their popularity. These advantages include the following:
- A dental bridge is an effective solution for tooth replacement because it offers both aesthetic and functional correction. Functionally, the bridge assists with the chewing of food and enables patients to eat and chew normally as all gaps would have been closed. Aesthetically, it closes all embarrassing gaps and helps to restore and improve one’s confidence and self-esteem. More so, a dental bridge is hardly noticeable because it fits closely to the mouth structure.
- A dental bridge helps to maintain the long-term structure of the mouth. Normally, a gap as a result of a missing tooth can cause the neighboring teeth to shift gradually or spread out, thus causing a bite issue. But the dental bridge helps to hold the neighboring teeth firmly in place, reducing any risk of shifting and consequent bite issues.
- A dental bridge helps to reduce the risk of jawbone loss, thus maintaining the facial structure. Missing tooth tends to cause the jawbone to deteriorate gradually but the dental bridge prevents this.
- Dental bridge feels exactly like the natural tooth and requires a short time for patients to get accustomed to it.
- Unlike a denture, the dental bridge does not require regular removal and cleaning as it can be easily cleaned and maintained like the natural teeth by observing proper oral hygiene practices.
A major shortcoming with the dental bridge is that it relies on abutment teeth for supports. The abutment teeth may not have sufficient strength to support the dental bridge and may collapse as a result necessitating them to be replaced by dental implants.
Considering the advantages and shortcoming of a dental bridge, it can be concluded that a dental bridge is a good idea for patients looking for affordable and reliable ways to replace their missing tooth/teeth.
If you’re interested in learning more about the dental bridge, don’t hesitate to contact board-certified, professional and well-experienced doctors at Dentist Tomball TX today.