A dental bridge works by preparing the healthy teeth on either side of a missing tooth area for crowns. Rather than the crowns being separate and distinct units, a dental bridge suspends a fake or “pontic” tooth in between these two new crowns to “span” the gap much like a roadway on 2 pylons over a gorge or river. The bridge is made by a technician in a dental laboratory as one solid piece of metal, ceramic or a combination of the two. Wylie Smiles can also provide in-office lab crowns.
A “three unit bridge” uses two existing teeth to help carry the load and fill the space of a single missing tooth. Occasionally, additional teeth may be added into the bridge to add strength or improve aesthetics. Dental bridges can also be made using 2 or more implants to achieve a similar result.
Pros of Dental Bridges:
• The entire process, from start to finish, takes only a few weeks. Bridges are often the quickest way to replace a missing tooth.
• While bridges work by using the strength of existing teeth, they are not dependent on the density or shape of the bone at the site of the missing tooth.
• Dental bridges are a routine procedure for dentists and often do not require any additional treatments or surgeries to complete.
• If the neighboring teeth are already in need of large fillings or crowns, bridges are an ideal way to fix and strengthen those teeth while also filling in the gap of a missing tooth.
Cons of Dental Bridges:
• Bridges can be costly… Essentially, a bridge is three crowns and you can often estimate the cost of a bridge by multiplying the cost of a single crown by three. If two teeth need replaced, a bridge may involve four or five units to complete the prosthetic. At Wylie Smiles we have the pricing available. If you have PPO Dental Insurance or a medical plan that has dental benefits, the dental plan may cover the cost of your Dental Bridge. We also accept Care Credit, cheque, cash and offer In-Office payment plans!
• Bridges require relatively healthy adjacent teeth both in front of and behind the area needing a new tooth. Since we are asking these existing teeth to carry the additional load of the new tooth, the gums and bone around in these areas must be in relative health.
• Because the three or four teeth in a new bridge are actually one single unit, you will be required to perform some extra tasks to keep these areas clean. You will not be able to floss in a conventional way around some parts of the bridge and keeping all the teeth of a bridge healthy is very important.
• Problems to one of the support teeth involved in the dental bridge can compromise the entire prosthetic. If one of these teeth breaks or fails the entire bridge may be lost.
Who is a Candidate for a Dental Bridge?
Dental bridges are used to replace a row of missing teeth. Therefore, if you have sporadically missing teeth, you will be better suited for a partial or dental implants. Generally, a bridge is strong enough to successfully replace one to three teeth. If you are missing more than that, Dr. Rana Nassar can discuss alternative options with you, such as dental implants, that will be more predictable and longer-lasting.
Depending on the type of bridge you choose, the natural adjacent teeth may serve as anchors for your restoration. Therefore, you must be free from gum disease and tooth decay. Because bridges are non-invasive, they may be an optimal solution for patients who cannot undergo dental implant surgery.
To book a consultation fill out form or call (972) 442-6879
Types of Dental Bridges
There are a few different types of dental bridges, each one designed for a specific purpose. These include:
• Traditional Dental Bridge: A traditional bridge is supported by the adjacent teeth on either side of the gap. In order for the bridge to be placed, these teeth must be slightly reduced so they can serve as anchors – or abutments – for your restoration. This means minimal portions of the tooth structure will be removed. On average, a traditional dental bridge can last upwards of 15 years.
• Implant-Supported Bridge: Similar in structure to a traditional bridge, an implant-supported bridge rests on dental implants rather than natural teeth. Therefore, the removal of natural tooth structure is not necessary. Although dental implants add to the total cost of treatment, implant-supported bridges are more resilient than their traditional counterparts, and often last a lifetime. Because dental implants stimulate the nerves in the jaw just as natural teeth roots do, implant-supported bridges actually preserve the natural jawbone structure and prevent bone loss over time.
• Maryland Bridge: This type of bridge was created to minimize the removal of natural tooth structure. Instead of dental crowns, a Maryland bridge has wings on either side of the restoration that are bonded to the back of the adjacent teeth. Therefore, the teeth do not have to be reduced, and natural structure can be retained.
• Cantilever Bridge: This type of restoration consists of a single dental crown rather than two. This crown will support the entire restoration, which may include one or two artificial teeth. Cantilever bridges are typically placed in the front of the mouth. This is because chewing force is strongest in the molar areas, so this type of bridge would be subject to damage if placed in the back of the mouth.
Traditional Dental Bridges: The Treatment Process
The traditional dental bridge treatment process can typically be completed in two office visits.
PATIENTS UNDERGOING DENTAL BRIDGE PROCEDURE CAN EXPECT THESE STEPS:
1. Preparing the Teeth: Before fabricating your restoration, your teeth will need to be prepared. This will involve removing small amounts of tooth structure to make room for the bridge. Any tooth decay or damaged portions will be removed at this time, as well.
2. Impressions: After the teeth are prepared, we will take impressions of your mouth. These will be sent to our trusted dental lab or done in our in-office lab. While you are waiting for your restoration to be completed, a temporary bridge can be placed.
3. Fabricating the Bridge: We can possibly perform fabrication of bridge in-office with *Cerec technology or we may send it to a Dental Lab depending on the case.
4. Placement: Once the bridge arrives from the lab, or bridge made in office same day, we will try in the restoration. Dr. Rana Nassar will bond the bridge into place with a strong dental cement.
5. Adjustments: After the bridge is bonded, Dr. Rana Nassar will check pressure points on your bite, and make any necessary final adjustments.
Implant-Supported Bridges: The Treatment Process
The actual placement of an implant-supported bridge is similar to the process listed above. However, before reaching that step, you will have your dental implants surgically placed into the jawbone. This is performed during an oral surgery procedure. After placement, implants typically need about two to six months of healing. During this time, a process known as osseointegration occurs, in which the jawbone fuses to the implants. Osseointegration ensures the bridge will have a strong and healthy foundation.
ONCE THE IMPLANTS HAVE HEALED, THERE ARE TWO MORE STEPS REQUIRED:
1. Abutments: To serve as the anchors for your bridge, abutments (posts) will be placed once the implants have osseointegrated. These components will be connected to the implants, and will extend beyond the gum line. Essentially, this step is performed in lieu of the “preparing the teeth” phase mentioned above.
2. Placement of Restoration: Once the abutments are placed, your custom dental bridge can be attached to them, using either dental cement or screw retention.
Although the process for an implant-supported bridge takes longer and costs more, most patients find the investment is worth it. Because an implant-supported bridge does not compromise the health of the jawbone or the adjacent teeth, it is an excellent long-term option.
Dental Bridges FAQ
How Do Dental Bridges Work?
Dental bridges are restorative structures used to replace missing teeth that may have been lost to trauma, dental decay, extraction, or age. During the procedure, our dentist will use dental crowns to “bridge” the space between the teeth you may be missing. These days, bridges are usually made from porcelain so that they can be shaded to look natural and even last longer.
What is a Partial Dental Bridge?
A partial dental bridge or removable partial denture (RPD) consists of artificial teeth that are attached to a small, gum-colored or pink plastic base. Metal framework or other flexible materials may also be used to hold the partial in place. RPDs can be a good tooth replacement option if you still have some natural teeth remaining in your upper or lower jaw.
Do Dental Bridges Hurt?
Dental bridges typically don’t hurt. In fact, when our dentist is working on your teeth to prepare them for a bridge, he or she will use local anesthesia to numb the area. After the numbing agent wears off, you may experience some slight pain and sensitivity, but an over-the-counter pain medication may be all you need to feel better. If you have severe pain, contact our dentist at Wylie Smiles right away because this isn’t normal.
Are Dental Bridges Removable?
Traditional, fixed bridges are permanently cemented in your mouth. But if you opt for a removable, partial dental bridge, then you can remove it at any time. Many patients remove bridges while they sleep and for cleaning purposes.
How Long Does a Dental Bridge Last?
Dental bridges can last anywhere from five to 10 years. But sometimes, patients can use the same ones for decades! However, the durability of dental bridges is dependent on a variety of factors; including how well you take care of your teeth, where the bridges are located, and the materials used to create them.
Can Dental Bridges Be Repaired?
Even though bridge tooth replacements can last for many years, problems still occur. If you have a broken bridge, or our dentist notices something concerning during a routine dental exam, then he or she may be able to repair the damage. Just be sure to see our dentist as soon as possible if you notice something wrong with your dental bridge. Putting things off could mean the loss of your bridge!
Can You Replace a Dental Bridge?
In short, yes — you can replace a dental bridge. If your bridge has significant chipping, breakage, or comes off completely, then our dentist may want to replace it with a brand new one. However, a replacement bridge typically won’t last as long as the first one. If you want a more permanent option that will last longer, dental implants are typically recommended as a far better tooth replacement option.
How Do I Look After My Dental Bridge?
Bridges do not require a lot of additional care over and above good brushing and flossing. The most difficult part of maintaining a bridge is to adapt floss underneath the ‘false’ tooth in order to keep that area clean. Our dentist will assist you with this.
Remember: The above information points are to be used as general guidelines and you SHOULD NOT use this information to determine anything yourself. If you think you may be a good candidate for bridge tooth replacement, or have additional questions about the procedure, contact our office.
If you have missing teeth, our experienced dentist at Wylie Smiles are highly skilled in the placement of dental bridges. We us only the strongest, most durable materials to make bridges that look natural and last for years.
To book a consultation fill out form or call (972) 442-6879
Ask us about our same-day *CEREC bridges and crowns to get in, get out, and on with your day!
*CEREC Crowns – CEREC Tooth Restoration
Our in-house CEREC machine allows us to offer same-day crowns and tooth implants that get you in, out the door and on with your busy day! No temporary place holders for your teeth are necessary with our same-day crown solutions. In a single visit, you’ll find that a CEREC crown can give you the strong, healthy smile you’ve been missing. This can help with Implant Crowns, veneers and Dental Bridges.