THE PROCEDURE: A dental bridge is an option to replace one or more missing teeth. The bridge is secured to the teeth on either side of the missing tooth and is cemented into placed, i.e. not removable like a partial denture. The bridge is very strong and can be chewed on like natural teeth. Dental bridges often last many years (often much longer than a decade) and require little additional maintenance than natural teeth.
THE COST: Dental bridges at Life Smiles Dental Care are an excellent value. Depending on your individual insurance plan, 50%+ of the cost can be covered by dental insurance.
THE AMOUNT OF TIME INVOLVED: Two appointments are needed. If significant changes are made to your smile or bite, a few additional short appointments may be needed. Usually the initial appointment may last 90-120 minutes and the subsequent visits are often only 30-45 minutes.
EXPECTED LIFETIME: Dental bridges often last many years (often much longer than a decade) and require little additional maintenance than natural teeth. At Life Smiles Dental Care, we warranty bridges against chipping, cavities, or leakage for five years so long as you maintain your preventative hygiene visits.
ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT OPTIONS: Another option to replace a missing tooth or teeth is by using dental implants. Below are the advantages and disadvantages to choosing a bridge over an implant:
Advantage to Dental Bridges:
- Dental insurance often pays for a portion (50%+) of the cost of the bridge. In many cases, dental implants are not covered by dental insurance plans.
- A bridge can be completed in as little as two visits and a total treatment time of two weeks.
- No oral surgery is required. (However, dental implant surgery involves a very small site and an easy recovery)
- If the bone at the missing tooth space has atrophied and shrunk, it is often more difficult to place a dental implant. Even if the bone at the empty space is severely atrophied, a dental bridge will still work well.
Disadvantages to Dental Bridges:
- The teeth on either side of the missing tooth have to receive dental crowns. If the teeth on either side of the space are in great condition, it may be advisable to pursue a dental implant to avoid unnecessary drilling/reshaping of these teeth.
- Because the bridge links the supporting teeth together to be able to span the gap, it cannot be flossed like normal teeth. A brush or a floss threader are needed to clean underneath the missing tooth where the bridge spans the gap.