If you’re missing one or more teeth, you know how difficult performing normal daily activities, such as eating and speaking, can be. Missing teeth can also have a negative effect on your self-esteem and oral health, putting your mouth at risk of developing other dental problems.
Because of this, it’s important to seek professional dental treatment for a missing tooth sooner rather than later. If you’ve undergone a tooth extraction or have poor oral hygiene that has resulted in tooth loss, the friendly team at Cedar Creek Dental can help you achieve beautiful, healthy teeth in as little as two dental appointments with a dental bridge.
Here’s everything you should know about dental bridges before scheduling your free consultation.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a restorative appliance that is used to “bridge” the gap of one or more missing teeth.
The work by placing two dental crowns, called abutment teeth, on either side of the missing tooth as well as a prosthetic tooth between them, called a pontic. Pontic teeth can be made from a variety of materials depending on the location of the bridge, including gold, porcelain, alloys, or a combination of the three.
Dental bridges can be supported by both dental implants and natural teeth. People who are interested in fixing a missing tooth with a dental bridge should have otherwise healthy teeth and no tooth decay or gum disease problems to ensure the dental appliance works properly.
What Are the Four Types of Dental Bridges?
The four main types of dental bridges are:
Traditional Dental Bridges
Traditional bridges are held in place by two nearby teeth that can support a false tooth or several artificial teeth. Traditional bridges are most commonly made from a combination of ceramic or porcelain fused to metal and are durable enough to replace missing molars.
They are what most dental bridges consist of. Unfortunately, having a traditional bridge placed in your mouth would require that some enamel of abutment teeth to be removed, which can affect the tooth structure and means they must always be protected by dental crowns.
Cantilever Dental Bridges
Unlike traditional bridges, cantilever bridges are attached to one natural tooth instead of two. Because these bridges are only supported by one abutment tooth, they are more likely to experience complications, such as loose crowns or fractured teeth.
Maryland Dental Bridges
Also known as resin-bonded bridges, Maryland dental bridges are very common to replace missing front teeth. They work by using specialize bands made of porcelain or metal to adhere pontic teeth to the back of surrounding natural teeth.
While Maryland dental bridges are not as strong as traditional dental bridges, they also do not require that the enamel of your abutment teeth be removed, which also means that dental crowns are not necessary for these bridges.
Implant-Supported Dental Bridges
These dental bridges work in the same way that traditional bridges do except the pontic teeth are supported by two implant-supported crowns rather than natural teeth.
Implant-supported bridges are typically used on people who are missing more than one tooth or where there is a concern that a person may put too much pressure on a dental implant that is not connected.
How Many Teeth Can Be On a Bridge?
Dental bridges can be used to replace one to four missing teeth. While it’s possible for a bridge to replace four missing teeth, they are most commonly used to restore one or two teeth.
This is because the larger the dental bridge is, the less stable it will be. Because of this, it’s very important for the anchoring teeth to be in excellent condition to ensure that they are healthy and strong enough to support the bridge without breaking or undergoing damage themselves.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Dental Bridge?
Having a dental bridge placed in your mouth usually occurs over the course of two dental appointments.
One to prepare the abutment teeth, take your dental impressions and place your temporary bridge along with another to remove the temporary bridge and place the permanent bridge in your mouth. These appointments take about an hour and a half each.
How Long Does a Dental Bridge Last?
Depending on your dental habits, the location of the bridge, and the condition of your mouth, it’s not uncommon for dental bridges to last well over a decade when cared for properly.
The best way to keep your bridge in great shape is to practice good oral hygiene habits (especially cleaning well under and around your bridge every day to prevent tooth decay), avoid biting down on hard objects that could damage your bridge, and visit the dentist regularly for routine dental exams and professional cleanings.
Are Dental Bridges a Good Idea?
Dental bridges are an excellent solution for people struggling with one or missing teeth who have otherwise good oral health.
Dental bridges can help improve the natural appearance of your smile, boost your self-esteem, prevent other dental issues from developing, and make everyday activities easier, such as eating and speaking.
Are Dental Bridges Permanent?
Dental bridges are considered permanent, also known as fixed bridges because they cannot be removed from your mouth as some other restorative dental appliances can be, such as dentures.
While this is true, bridges do need to be replaced over time.
What Is the Process of Getting a Traditional Dental Bridge?
Having a dental bridge placed in your mouth will require multiple dental visits. During your initial appointment, the dentist will prepare your abutment teeth by removing some of their enamel to make room for the crowns that will support the bridge.
Then, he will take an impression of your mouth so that the crowns, bridge, and pontic can be perfectly customized in a dental laboratory. While your bridge is being made, a temporary bridge will be placed in your mouth.
At your next visit, the temporary bridge will be removed and the permanent bridge placement will take place. You may need to come in for a follow-up appointment to ensure that the fixed bridge fits properly, feels comfortable, and be adjusted as needed.
Is Getting a Dental Bridge Painful?
Because your mouth will be thoroughly numbed before your procedure, getting a dental bridge should be a pain-free experience. Some people do experience some soreness or discomfort after their procedure, but this can usually be treated with over-the-counter medications and resolves in a day or two.
Does a Dental Bridge Feel Natural?
Your dental bridge may feel unusual in your mouth in the first few days after you get it. If it fits well, however, it will eventually feel as normal as your natural teeth.
What is the Cost of a Dental Bridge?
The cost of your dental bridge will depend on the type of bridge you need as well as your dental insurance plan. Most dental insurance policies cover at least part of restorative dental procedures, including bridges. For more information on what your insurance policy covers, please contact our office.
How Much Does a 3-Tooth Bridge Cost?
A traditional 3-tooth bridge usually costs anywhere from $500 to $1,500 depending on the type of bridge used as well as the condition of your mouth and your dental insurance plan. Implant-supported bridges can cost up to $5,000.
Are Dental Bridges Worth It?
Dental bridges are a common restorative dental treatment that offers a number of benefits, including:
- Improving the natural beauty of a person’s smile
- Making it easier for a person to chew and speak
- Preventing teeth from shifting over time
- Maintaining one’s facial structure
How Long Does an Adhesive Bridge Last?
An adhesive bridge is a bridge that is made up of a prosthetic tooth that is adhered to a titanium wing. This wing is glued onto the adjacent tooth. These types of bridges usually last around 8 years and will likely be reglued once during that time.
Cedar Creek Dental Can Improve Your Smile
If you are missing one or more teeth, a dental bridge may be an option to restore the health and beauty of your smile. Our trusted dental team is eager to help you regain your quality of life, improve your oral health, and boost your self-esteem in as little as two convenient dental visits. Visit us online or give us a call today to learn more about how a dental bridge could benefit you.