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Affordable Dental Bridges

Missing teeth do more than affect the appearance of your smile; gaps from missing teeth can also affect how your teeth and jaws function and eventually impact a change in your facial structure. They can also put you at greater risk for infection, gum disease, and further damage to your remaining teeth. Without a replacement for missing teeth, other teeth will shift out of alignment.

People lose teeth for a variety of reasons.Teeth might have fallen out as a result of an injury, gum disease, oral cancer, or severe tooth decay. Whatever the reason, while missing teeth can be embarrassing, it’s nothing to be ashamed of–more than 120 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth.

Dental bridges are dental prosthetics that can help literally “bridge” the gap between missing teeth or even for teeth that have not erupted. They are an acceptable alternative to implants because of their lower cost, and a good alternative for patients with diabetes or autoimmune disorders who may not be able to recover properly from dental implant surgery. But there may be some sacrifices, adjacent teeth will have their structure compromised in order to add crowns to the teeth that will create the bridge span.

A dental bridge is a set of crowns–artificial teeth–that is anchored to the natural teeth on either side of a gap using cement or dental bonding. Some bridges consist of just one crown, to replace one tooth, or several, to fill a larger gap. Bridges are custom molded for each patient, look completely natural, and restore the proper function and aesthetic of the smile.

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What are the types of dental bridges?

Dental bridges can be classified by the type of materials used to make them. The three most common are:

  • Porcelain dental bridges, made entirely from tooth-colored porcelain. These are the most natural-looking, but they are often used only for front teeth because of their fragility.
  • Porcelain and metal bridges are made from metal that has been covered in tooth-colored porcelain. They are stronger than porcelain-only bridges and can be used to replace back teeth.
  • All-metal dental bridges are the strongest and most affordable, but are the least-natural looking. They are generally used on back teeth only–if at all–and are not recommended as a standard of care for most dental professionals.

Bridges can also be classified according to the way they are attached to neighboring teeth and how they fit in the mouth, including:

  • Traditional bridges, which are the most common type of bridges. The natural teeth on either side of the gap are filed down and covered with crowns, which are caps that cover the entire tooth.  The false tooth or teeth are then attached to these crowns.
  • Cantilever bridges, which are often used if there are not natural teeth on both sides of a gap, such as a missing back tooth or several back teeth in a row. Cantilever bridges are attached to a crown on only one side of the gap, sometimes with crowns over the two or three natural teeth in front of the gap for additional support. Proper installation and dental supervision is important to mitigate the strain placed on the supporting natural teeth.
  • Maryland bridges, also known as Maryland-bonded bridges, are attached directly to the natural teeth on either side of the gap without first covering those teeth with crowns. These are typically used only for missing front teeth, and only one or two teeth in a row can be replaced with this type of bridge. Maryland bridges may be recommended if the natural teeth on either side of the gap cannot be filed down to accommodate a crown.

What is the process of getting a dental bridge? 

Getting a dental bridge typically requires at least two appointments. During the first appointment, the doctor will prepare the natural teeth on either side of the gap. If the teeth will be covered in crowns–such as for traditional or cantilever bridges–the doctor will file away some of their enamel and reshape their surfaces to accommodate the crowns. An impression will be made of your teeth and sent to a lab to create your prosthesis. 

In the meantime, usually for at least several days, the prepared teeth will be covered with temporary crowns to prevent sensitivity and protect them from damage.  

At the second appointment, the temporary crowns will be removed and the new bridge cemented into place. Your dentist may use a temporary cement at first while he or she helps you “try out” the bridge for a few weeks to make sure it fits and feels okay. You may need a third appointment for any changes or adjustments and to have the bridge permanently cemented in place.

What is recovery and care like after a dental bridge?

In the days following your bridge placement, you may experience mild to moderate sensitivity. This is usually as a result of nerves being activated during the procedure and should subside fairly soon. Many patients also experience some difficulty or awkwardness in chewing and speaking at first, especially if they had been living with missing teeth for a long time, but your mouth and jaws will quickly adapt.

Your bridge will look, feel, and function just like natural teeth, and you’ll care for it the same as you would natural teeth, with:

  • Twice daily brushing for at least two minutes
  • Daily flossing between the bridge and gums to remove bacteria and prevent gum disease
  • An antiseptic mouthwash to kill germs in the tissues around your bridge
  • Twice annual dental check ups and exams

While there are no dietary restrictions with a bridge, you should try to avoid very crunchy or chewy foods that can strain the bridge and may cause damage or displacement.

You should contact your doctor if you begin to experience pain or aching in the teeth to which the bridge is attached or if the gums around your bridge become swollen, red, or prone to bleeding, as this can be an indication of early gum disease.

With proper care, a dental bridge can last 15 years or more.

How much do dental bridges cost?

Dental bridges are an affordable tooth replacement option. The cost of dental bridges varies, and with insurance the costs reduce significantly. You’ll pay more for an all-porcelain bridge than for a metal or porcelain-fused bridge. If you need a cantilever bridge or your dentist needs to do extensive work on your remaining teeth in order to support the bridge, your costs may be higher. 

Dental Bridges at Bright Now! Dental

It’s never too late to restore a beautiful, healthy smile, and at Bright Now! Dental, we’re committed to helping you achieve the best in dental health and function. Our convenient, local retail offices offer a full range of dental care services, including dental bridges, and we work hard to make sure receiving the care you need is easy and affordable.

Schedule a consultation today at a Bright Now! Location near you to find out if dental bridges are right for you!