All of your teeth play an important role in speaking, chewing and in maintaining proper alignment of other teeth. Tooth loss doesn’t necessarily have to occur as you age, but if you do lose teeth they must be replaced to maintain proper function of your mouth. Fortunately, there are options for correcting tooth loss.
Dental Bridge Options
A dental bridge — a device used to replace missing teeth — attaches artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth, called abutment teeth. Bridges are either permanently attached (fixed bridges), or they can be removable.
Fixed bridges are applied by either placing crowns on the abutment teeth or by bonding the artificial teeth directly to the abutment teeth. Removable bridges are attached to the teeth with metal clasps or by precision attachments.
If you’re missing one or more teeth, you may be aware of their importance to your appearance and dental health. Your teeth work together for many daily functions from eating to speaking. With missing teeth, it’s difficult to do these things. Missing teeth can and should be replaced. Fixed bridges are a great way to restore your dental health and appearance.
What exactly is a dental bridge or fixed partial denture?
A bridge (fixed partial denture) is a device which fills the gap where teeth are absent. Fixed bridges are bonded into place and can only be removed by a dental professional. Removable bridges, as the name implies, can be taken out and cleaned. Fixed bridges offer more stability than their removable counterparts.
Why do I need a dental bridge?
Oral functionality and appearance are important reasons for wearing a bridge. A bridge helps support your lips and cheeks. The loss of a back tooth may cause your mouth to sink and your face to look older.
Dental health is the most important reason for a bridge. Teeth were designed to complement each other. Unusual stresses are placed on the gums and other oral tissues when teeth are missing, causing a number of potentially harmful disorders.
Increased risk of gum disease has proven to be one of the worst side effects of missing teeth and can be minimized with a bridge.
Missing teeth can cause speech disorders as they are used to make many of the sounds we use to speak clearly.
How is a dental bridge attached?
The attachment procedure usually takes two or three appointments to complete. At the first appointment Dr. Davidson or Dr. Deenihan will prepare the teeth on either side of the gap by removing a portion of the enamel and dentin.
Since the bridge must be fabricated very precisely to ensure correct bite and to match the opposing tooth, impressions of the teeth are taken and sent to a lab where the bridge will be constructed.
Fixed bridges are typically cemented to the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing tooth. A pontic (false tooth) replaces the lost tooth. Dental crowns, which are cemented onto the natural teeth, provide support for the bridge.
What materials are used for dental bridges?
Bridges can be constructed from gold alloys, non-precious alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Porcelain is often bonded to either precious or non-precious metal.
How do I take care of my bridge?
A strict regimen of brushing and flossing will keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. This is of critical importance as the bridge relies on the neighboring teeth for support.
Dental Bridges FAQs
- What are the advantages of dental bridges?
- What are the disadvantages of dental bridges?
- How much does a tooth bridge cost?
- How long will a dental bridge last?
- How many teeth can be on a bridge?
What are the advantages of dental bridges?
- Teeth can be replaced with a dental bridge without surgery
- They restore full dental function
- Bridges replace missing teeth for a more attractive appearance
- Other teeth are less likely to shift out of alignment
- Fixed bridges don’t move like dentures
What are the disadvantages of dental bridges?
The adjacent teeth must be filed down to hold the dental bridge’s crowns in place. The bridge also doesn’t prevent bone loss in the jaw due to the missing tooth root. If you’re considering a dental bridge, discuss these issues with your dentist.
How much does a tooth bridge cost?
The cost of dental bridges varies depending on the type of bridge and how it is placed in your mouth, with most ranging upwards of $5,000. Bridges for a single missing tooth are less expensive if we use the two adjacent teeth to hold the bridge in place.
How long will a dental bridge last?
Depending on how well you care for your bridge, it can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years, although a typical dental bridge lasts 8-10 years. Routine checkups, professional cleanings, and proper at-home care prolong the life of dental bridges.
How many teeth can be on a bridge?
The most common dental bridges replace one or two adjoining teeth. Keep in mind that the more teeth being replaced by a bridge, the less stable the bridge will be and the more stress is put on the teeth that support the bridge. For multiple missing teeth, implants may be used to support the bridge rather than attaching it to the adjacent teeth.