A Complete Guide to Dental Bridges
The average adult has between 28 and 34 teeth, depending on how many wisdom teeth they grow and how many are removed. No matter the number of teeth you have, however, teeth are a miracle of nature. They are created by intricate bodily processes and have played a huge role in humans’ success as a species.
Most of us work hard to take good care of our teeth. We brush, floss, and visit the dentist regularly. Still, health problems and other factors beyond our control can sometimes leave us with bad or missing teeth and self-conscious about our smiles.
That’s where prosthetics such as dental bridges come in.
What is a dental bridge? We’re glad you asked, and we’ve got all the answers you need right here!
What is a dental bridge?
A bridge is a type of dental prosthetic. It consists of two parts.
- Prosthetic teeth (also called pontics)
- Crowns, implants, or frames that hold the prosthetic teeth in place
Prosthetic teeth can be made from a variety of materials, including porcelain, gold, or metal alloys. The most common alloys are combinations of gold, silver, and zinc. Porcelain is traditionally the most popular choice since it looks just like a real tooth.
Dental bridges fill gaps where you are missing teeth, giving you a perfect smile makeover.
How do dental bridges work?
There are four standard types of tooth bridges. Each one works slightly differently.
In a traditional bridge, your dentist will first create your replacement teeth. Next, they will create crowns for your natural teeth on either side of the gap in your mouth where the replacement teeth will go. They will then connect the fake teeth to the crowns to create a bridge.
Once the bridge is ready, your dentist will cement the crowns to your natural teeth, bracing your prosthetic teeth in place. So, for example, if you were missing your two bottom front teeth, your dentist would attach the crowns to the incisors on either side of the gap.
Traditional bridges are appropriate when you have strong natural teeth on both sides of your missing tooth or teeth.
Cantilever bridges are made the same way as traditional bridges. Instead of attaching on both sides of the gap, however, they are cemented in place on only one side.
Cantilevering is ideal for situations where there are no teeth on one side to connect to, such as missing back teeth.
In a Maryland bridge, porcelain teeth are held in place by resin or cement applied to the backs of your teeth. The resin extends unbroken across the backs of the replacement teeth and the teeth on either side, bracing the prosthetic in place.
Maryland bridges can be appropriate where crowns are undesirable or impractical, but they may not be as strong as traditional bridges.
Dental Implants and Implant-connected Bridges
Dental implants come in a variety of forms. Depending on your needs, your dentist may recommend one of the following:
- Individual single tooth implants
- Traditional bridges suspended between two single tooth implants
- Full mouth dental implants such as dental implants by Hybridge
What are the benefits of a dental bridge?
Dental bridges are a non-surgical solution to gaps in your teeth. Since the procedure is entirely non-invasive, it is extremely safe. This is particularly important for patients with compromised immune systems or conditions that may slow their ability to heal, such as diabetes.
Safety is only the beginning of the benefits bridges offer, however.
Quick and Easy
In most cases, bridges are relatively quick and easy to create and install. Unlike standard dental implants, which require two surgeries separated by several months of healing time, a bridge can give you a same-day smile upgrade.
Protection for Your Other Teeth
When you are missing teeth, your remaining natural teeth are subject to unnatural pressure. This can increase wear and tear or gradually force them out of alignment. Prosthetic teeth protect your natural teeth by distributing pressure evenly when you bite or chew.
This helps keep your mouth and natural teeth healthy over time.
Getting a same-day new smile via a dental bridge can transform your life. Patients with bridges report higher personal and social confidence, more happiness with their appearance, and better responses to social overtures from other people.
If losing teeth has negatively impacted your ability to speak clearly, getting a bridge can restore your speech clarity, as well.
Dental bridges can make eating easier. They make it easier to chew and to bite into harder or chewier foods.
Who should get a dental bridge?
Your dentist can help you determine if you are a good candidate for a dental bridge. In general, they are most likely to recommend it for one of the following reasons:
- You have lost teeth
- Your remaining natural teeth are well-positioned to support a bridge
- You are not a good candidate for dental implant surgery
How much do dental bridges cost?
The cost of a dental bridge will depend entirely on your personal situation. Factors that influence fixed bridge cost include the following:
- How many replacement teeth you need
- The location of the gaps in your teeth
- What material your replacement teeth are made from
- Other dental or medical conditions you have which may complicate the process
This makes sense, of course. If you need only a single replacement tooth placed between two strong and healthy natural teeth, the process will be faster, easier, and less expensive than if you need multiple replacements in various places.
Similarly, if you need implants to hold your bridge in place the cost will be higher than if your natural teeth alone can be used.
Fortunately, dental insurance usually covers a portion of the expense, mitigating the costs to you.
Schedule your consultation today.
What is a dental bridge? For many patients, it is the perfect way to protect and restore their smiles.
If you think a dental bridge might be right for you, don’t wait. Contact our office and schedule your consultation today.
Let us help you get a smile that looks, feels, and functions almost exactly as it did before. A new smile and a whole new lease on life await!