Do You Need A Dental Bridge?

When searching for the most comfortable option for missing teeth, there are three choices: an implant, a removable bridge, or a fixed bridge. A Dentist can help decide the best option for each patient.

A dental bridge, or partial denture, is used in the place of one or more missing teeth and could be an ideal solution for several reasons. As well as helping to maintain face shape, it can also alleviate stress in your bite. A bridge also helps protect natural teeth from shifting, and will not only assist with chewing or speaking but will indeed restore a persons smile! When deciding which type of bridge will work in each unique situation, a dentist will offer the different choices and the costs associated with each.

Traditionally, a bridge consists of two parts: the crowns on each side of the missing tooth, and the false tooth, called a pontic, to fill in the gap. A traditional bridge will take a minimum of two visits to complete and might last up to 15 years. A bridge which uses a crown on only one side of the missing tooth is called a Cantilever bridge and only needs one natural tooth next to the missing one. This type is not as strong as a traditional bridge, are is recommended for molars. Cost and life-span of the Cantilever bridge are comparable to a traditional bridge. Dental insurance will usually cover a portion of the cost of traditional bridges and in some cases will help cover the cost of a removable bridge.

A pontic can be made from porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM), which is the most cost-effective, but can cause the tooth to become darker over time. A pontic made from Porcelain or zirconia is made to match the shade of surrounding teeth and remains the same color for the life of the tooth.

A Bonded Bridge does not need a crown and is instead composed of resin or metal wings attached to the false tooth, and then bonded to the teeth on either side of the gap. The resin-bonded bridge is preferred over the metal-winged bridge because they are more aesthetically pleasing. The metal wings tend to show through the surrounding teeth and give the teeth a grayish look. This procedure generally only takes about 30 minutes to complete and is the most cost efficient method. A bonded bridge may last 7 to 10 years.

The strongest and most stable bridge is called an implant-supported bridge. This type will require two dental visits of about 90 minutes each. The first, a surgery, embeds the implant into the jawbone. The second will put the bridge into place. The cost could reach up to $15,000 with two implants which span three or four teeth. A dental implant can last 20 years or more, with some lasting over 50 years. The success rate of an implant is around 95% for at least ten years. There are some risks involving an implant, however, one of which is the possibility of infection. Nerve damage can also be a factor and can cause pain and numbness in gums and surrounding teeth. Sinus problems can also occur when an upper jaw implant punctures the sinus cavity. A dentist will go over the risks with each patient.

The success of any of the procedures depends upon jaw and gum health, and the strength of the remaining teeth. As with most anything, the foundation is key. The overall benefits include improved appearance, oral health, and self-esteem. Improved speech, as well as ease in eating, will also be noticeable.