Dental bridges were once the cornerstone of teeth replacement options. As dental implants were either not invented, or early in their advent, dental bridges were the primary option for fixed tooth replacement needs. But what exactly are dental bridges? How do they work? Are there different kinds? These are all questions that we are going to delve in, as well as point out some bad information that you may have heard about in regards to dental bridges.
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is a permanent replacement option for your missing teeth. The bridge not only replaces the missing tooth, but it can also help you preserve the natural contour of your face. There are many materials that can be used to construct a dental bridge, and the kind of dental bridge that you will receive will be custom-made just for your mouth. You and your dentist will formulate a plan, and he or she will recommend what best material would work with your individual needs.
What are the main benefits of dental bridges?
Dental bridges have a variety of benefits that can improve your oral and systemic health. Let’s go over these now:
- Helping you maintain your facial contour: As we lose teeth, are cheeks sag in, our face begins to droops, and our we begin to look older. Dental bridges can help us maintain that facial fullness giving you a younger and more glowing appearance.
- Prevent the formation of a droopy face, and the pointed chin appearance you see with many edentulous patients.
- Preventing adjacent teeth from moving: When we lose a tooth, your teeth next to the missing space will begin to shift and move around. This can create all sorts of oral health problems including gum disease, biting problems, and even further tooth loss.
How are dental bridges made?
Dental bridges require a series of steps to fabricate. The following are a list of steps in the procedure to make a bridge:
- A local anesthetic is used to numb the adjacent teeth to the space.
- Both the adjacent teeth are prepared like crowns using a dental hand-piece.
- After the teeth are prepared, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth along with the missing gap.
- A temporary bridge will be placed their while a dental lab technician completes the fabrication of your permanent dental bridge
- When the bridge is ready, your dentist will make small modifications and cement the permanent bridge into position using a dental cement. Remember a bridge is a fixed appliance, and after cementation, cannot be removed without the help of a dentist.
What are implant supported bridges?
When you are missing multiple consecutive teeth, it is normally not a good idea to place a traditional bridge. Too much pressure can be exerted on your natural teeth, and the long-span bridge may fail after a short period of time. In these cases, it is prudent to place dental implants to help form a bridge that is shorter in length. These are known as implant supported bridges, and they are becoming more popular as dental implants continue to gain notoriety. A huge benefit in these types of bridges is that your adjacent teeth do not need to be grounded down as seen with a traditional dental bridge. These bridges are known to last just as long as a traditional dental bridge, and have helped countless number of people regain their ability to smile and function again.
What materials are typically used when making a dental bridge?
Your dentist will let you know what material will best suit your individual needs, but here is a list of common materials that can be used to construct a dental bridge:
- Nickle Titanium
Each of these have their own purpose, and as mentioned earlier, each case is unique in what materials are chosen to replace a missing tooth.
How do you care for a dental bridge?
Just like your natural teeth, dental bridges will need to be brushed and flossed. Unfortunately, unlike your actual teeth, flossing the traditional way will not be possible with dental bridges as the units are fused together. A dental floss threader will need to accommodate your floss to get under and clean the bridge. Make sure you are brushing your teeth twice a day, and visit your dentist for regular check ups every 6 months to make sure your dental bridge remains intact and healthy.
What is the cost of a dental bridge?
The average cost of a dental bridge is $3,000. This price is to replace one missing tooth. The longer the dental bridge spans, the more units are required, the costlier the bridge will end up being. The following is a chart of dental bridge prices across the nation:
Average Cost of a Dental Bridge
|Number of units||Average Cost||Price Range||Our Price|
|3 unit dental bridge||$3,000||$2,800-$4,000||$2,500|
|4 unit dental bridge||$4,000||$3,500-$5,000||$3,500|
|5 unit dental bridge||$5.000||$4,000-$6,000||$4,000|
|6 unit dental bridge||$6,000||$5.500-$8000||$5,000|
Will Dental insurance help cover some of the costs?
Dental insurance will certainly help you cover some of the burden of price when it comes to dental bridges. Most plans cover up to 50% of your dental bridge at fees that can be substantially lower than if you were to pay out of pocket. Check with your dentist and your carrier to see if your plan covers dental bridges.
What is the most common myth about dental bridges?
There have been a lot of speculation that dental bridges do not work as well as dental implants. At Best Dental, we are a strong proponent of dental implants, but there are some cases where dental bridges can be advantageous. The following is a list of those situations:
- A patient that has osteoporosis: Patients with osteoporosis may be on bisphosphonate therapy (bone medication), which makes them an unfavorable candidate for dental implant placement.
- A patient who has bone cancer: Patients with a history of bone cancer may not be a good candidate for dental implants, as they too are on bisphosphonate therapy.
- Patients who are chronic smokers or have uncontrolled diabetes are not good candidates for dental implants.
- A patient who has suffered severe bone loss around their missing teeth is not a candidate for a dental implant.
These are some of the situations where dental bridges are preferred over dental implants, and as you can see, they still have a part in fixed dentistry.
We hope this article has given you some insight about dental bridges. If you have any further questions, our Houston dental office will always be there for you. We hope to meet you soon!