What are Dental Bridges?
Dental bridges, as the name implies, bridge gaps between teeth caused by a tooth that is missing. On either side of the gap, a dentist will place a dental crown. These crowns will act as an anchor for a pontic, or a false tooth. Often they are very natural looking, and they cover missing teeth effectively. Dental bridges can be made from a variety of materials, and Dr. Nabi will work with each patient to determine the best course of action for their specific dental needs.
When a Dental Bridge is Necessary
Typically, a patient will choose to get a dental bridge if they have missing teeth in their mouth, and they need to fill the gap. For the most part, bridges are a cosmetic solution to missing teeth, but there are other reasons to get a bridge. In addition to replacing a missing tooth, a dental bridge can hold teeth on either end of the spot of the missing tooth and prevent them from shifting. Though they do not go into the gums like dental implants, bridges can also prevent the supra-eruption of other teeth. This occurs when the tooth opposite the site of the missing tooth begins to erupt from the socket. As a result, the patient may end up having more than one tooth that is missing.
Benefits of Bridges
Dental bridges can help your smile in a number of ways. Firstly, they can restore your smile and give you back the ability to chew and speak properly. Bridges can also help maintain the shape of your face, and distribute the force of your bite properly. Furthermore, it is also beneficial for preventing your remaining teeth from drifting out of the position.
What Types of Bridges are there?
There are three main kinds of dental bridges. Depending on the patient’s specific needs and preferences, the Doctor will suggest the best option for the patient. Unlike dental crowns, dental bridges vary in the way they are applied to teeth, rather than the materials the bridges are made out of.
This most common method involves creating a crown for a tooth or implant on either side of the tooth that is missing. Initially, this involves preparing the two intact teeth by shaving them down to prepare them for the crown. Most importantly, this type of bridge has a pontic, which is the word for the tooth in between the two anchoring crowns, and it is made of porcelain. Similarly to crowns, the porcelain is often fused to metal or ceramics.
Unlike traditional bridges, these dental bridges are used when there is only one adjacent tooth on one side of the missing tooth. These are not common, and are not recommended when the missing tooth is in the back of the mouth. Due to the potential for damaging other teeth, cantilever bridges are recommended for teeth that do not bear much weight.
Maryland Bonded Bridges
Though these are the least common of all the different bridge options, they are the least invasive option for patients looking to get a bridge. Similar to traditional bridges, there is a false tooth that is placed to replace the missing tooth. However, the pontic attaches to the adjacent teeth by “wings” that adhere to the backs of the teeth to hold the false tooth in place. Unlike traditional bridges, this option is less stable, but it is less invasive and does not require extensive preparation for the crowns to hold the bridge in place.
Process for Getting a Bridge
First, at the initial visit your Provider will prepare the abutment teeth. This preparation will involve the recontouring these teeth, by removing some of the enamel to make room for the crown that will fit over them. Then, impressions of these teeth will be made, and this will serve as a model for the dental lab to manufacture the bridge, including the pontic and crowns.
Next, your Doctor will fashion a temporary bridge to protect the exposed portion of your teeth and your gums while these bridge parts are being made. Finally, on the second visit the temporary bridge will be removed to make way for the new, permanent bridge. The new bridge may require a few adjustments to get the perfect fit. As a result, more visits to the office may be required to check the fit, and to check on your bite.
WE WORK WITH MOST INSURANCES
Though the pricing can vary greatly due to the type of bridge placed, the most important factor for patients is insurance. Often, insurance companies will cover a portion of the work done for a dental bridge. However how much that is covered is entirely determined by your insurance company and specific dental plan. Out of pocket pricing for dental bridges typically ranges from $2100-$4500 for the entire treatment. Although this seems to be a lot, these costs are usually spread out over the course of the entire treatment, which can last up to three months.
|Extraction – Simple||$149|
|Extraction – Surgical||$299|
|Abutment Crown||$999 ($1,998 for both)|
|Bridge Pontic||$999 for each|
How Long Do Bridges Last?
Usually, dental bridges can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years, depending on how well they are cared for. If patients practice good oral hygiene, and get regular check-ups with the dentist, they can last longer than 15 years. Additionally, it is important for patients to not apply too much force onto the prosthetics on a daily basis. As long as the bridge is kept attached to the prepared teeth, the patient will not need any further treatment to maintain the health of the teeth below.
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Other Options for Missing Teeth
Dental bridges are a common solution to missing teeth, but patients should be aware that there are other options available. Depending on each patient’s specific case, a dental bridge may not be the best solution to a missing tooth.
Dental Implants are one option to recover a full smile. Implants offer a natural-looking solution that is easy to care for, long-lasting and looks great! Unlike fixed bridges or removable dentures, dental implants will not affect neighboring teeth, lead to the loss of bone support, or contribute to sagging of the soft tissues of the face. Unfortunately unlike dental implants, bridges cannot help prevent the bone loss that is caused from missing teeth. When appropriately cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime. See our page on Dental Implants for more information on this procedure.
Dentures are removable replacements for teeth that are missing. There are two available types, complete and partial. Complete dentures are one of the solutions when a patient is missing all their teeth or needs to have all their teeth extracted. Partial dentures are used for when some natural teeth remain intact. Both sets of dentures are solutions when several, or all of your teeth are no longer viable and cannot be saved by any other normal dental procedures. See our page on Dentures for more information.
Implant-Supported Dentures are a viable option for dentures while avoiding the potential problems of traditional dentures. In this procedure, a few implants are placed strategically around the mouth and then the denture anchors to the implants. With an implant supported denture, there is much less bone loss than with a traditional complete denture since the implants will still make use of the bone. The implant-supported denture will also be much more stable when eating.
Caring for Your Temporary Bridge
Temporary dental bridges are meant only to serve your needs while a permanent bridge is being made for you. Although we make the temporary bridge to resemble the final bridge, it may not look exactly like the permanent one. It is not unusual to have some temperature sensitivity while the temporary bridge is in place. This will, in most cases, be relieved by the replacement of the temporary with the permanent bridge. Taking over the counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen should handle any post treatment discomfort. It may be a good idea to take one of these immediately after the appointment before you experience any discomfort.
After the procedure, the temporary cement requires about 30 minutes to set, so it is important to not chew during that period of time. Once set, patients should be able to use the temporary bridge normally when eating, but sticky foods will stick to the temporary bridge and must be avoided.
Temporary Bridges Are Not Meant To Last Forever
Temporary bridges are not strong; they may occasionally become loose, break or come off. Though this is not a dental emergency, please contact our office immediately, bring your bridge with you and we will replace or re-cement the temporary bridge. If this happens at night or on the weekend, replace the temporary bridge on your tooth after filling the bridge with toothpaste, Vaseline, or Fixodent to hold it in place until you can contact us to properly cement it. It is important that the temporary bridge remains on the tooth to protect the underlying tooth structure. Without the temporary bridge, your teeth may move and then the permanent bridge may not fit.
It is important to clean around the temporary crown as you would any other tooth, but not to brush or floss too vigorously around the temporary bridge. Patients should understand that it is essential to keep the area clean and healthy, and to keep it from bleeding.
It is also imperative that patients return to our office at the appointment time to receive the permanent bridge. Failure to do so may result in the need to re-prepare the tooth and re-make the crown at the patient’s cost.
If patients have any unusual developments with their temporary bridge, please contact our office.
Caring for your Permanent Bridge
Once permanent dental bridges are placed, patients should be aware of a few things to best care for the new bridge. It is important to not chew on hard food with the restorations for 24 hours from the time they were cemented; to attain optimum strength, the cement must cure for approximately 24 hours.
Sensitivity is common after a permanent bridge is placed, especially to hot or cold foods. This sensitivity will disappear gradually after a few weeks. Infrequently, sensitivity lasts longer than six weeks. Please notify us if this occurs.
To provide optimum longevity for restorations and to prevent future dental decay and supporting tissues breakdown, our Doctors may recommend the following preventative procedures:
• Brush and floss after eating and before bedtime
• Rinse with a fluoride wash, swish vigorously for at least 30 seconds
• Use fluoride toothpaste if prescribed by our office
• Use a WaterPik or a mechanical toothbrush as advised by us
The most significant reason for prosthesis failure is inadequate return for examination. Visit us at regular examination periods determined by your Doctor. Often problems that are developing around the restorations can be found at an early stage and corrected easily, but waiting for a longer time may require redoing the entire restoration. Call us immediately if any one of these conditions occur:
• A feeling of movement or looseness in the restoration
• Sensitivity to sweet foods
• A peculiar taste from the restoration site
• Breakage of a piece of material from the restoration
• Sensitivity to pressure
Taking the First Step to a Healthier Smile
Zen Dental has performed all types of successful dental bridges for their patients. Dr. Nabi work with their team of experienced and professional dental lab technicians in Sandy Springs, Georgia to give you the best possible solution for your missing teeth.
You will feel and look better, and be able to speak and eat as you did before the loss of your tooth.
If you want to learn more about treatment for dental bridges and missing teeth, or any of our other dental restorative procedures, Contact Us for your Dentistry needs.