If you have one or more missing teeth, a dental bridge can help fill the gap, restore your smile and improve the chewing ability of your teeth. If you’re considering a dental bridge in Langley, it’s important to understand what they are, how they work, the benefits and the drawbacks.
What are Dental Bridges?
Bridges are dental devices used to fill the gap between missing teeth. They are made with artificial teeth and designed to blend in with your natural smile. Bridges have crowns on each end and are supported by natural dentition on both sides of the gap. They’re cemented in place, which makes them a permanent teeth solution.
Are They Common in Dentistry?
Yes. Dental bridges have been used for decades in dentistry – possibly longer. In fact, there is evidence that people were creating dental bridges hundreds of years ago.
Why are Dental Bridges Important for Oral Health?
If teeth are lost because of an injury, disease or dental extraction, it’s important to fill the gap they leave behind. Dental bridges are one way to do that. Why is it important to fill the teeth gap? Because your dentition works together. If a tooth is missing and nothing takes its place, nearby teeth may move over into the empty space, which can lead to:
Dental teeth pain (caused by excess stress on the jaw and teeth)
It can also cause dental aesthetic changes that may make you feel self-conscious or less confident in your smile requiring Invisalign or fixed braces.
Do You Need a Dental Bridge?
We tell our Langley patients that if you have one or more missing teeth, a dental bridge may be a good dental option for filling the gap. To be a good candidate for a bridge, you must have healthy teeth on either side of the gap.
What Do Dental Bridges Look Like?
A typical dental bridge consists of the following:
Pontics: These are the false dental teeth (or a single tooth in some cases) that fill the gap in your smile.
Abutment teeth: These are the two crowns on either side of the gap. The supporting dentition can either be your natural teeth or implants.
4 Types of Dental Bridges
There are four main types of dental bridges to replace teeth in dentistry:
1. Fixed Bridges
These are the most common types of bridges in dentistry. They consist of two (sometimes more) dental crowns and filler teeth. The crowns and artificial units are connected. The crowns keep the dental bridge in place.
Traditionally,fixed bridges are made of:
Porcelain that’s fused to metal,
2. Resin-Bonded Bridges
Also known as a Maryland dental bridge, these bridges are designed to replace missing front dentition. Resin-bonded bridges are made of porcelain fused to ceramic or metal and have framework support. These dental bridges have wings on both sides, which bond to your natural teeth.
3. Cantilever Bridges
With this type of bridge, the pontic connects to just one abutment tooth. These bridges may be used when people only have teeth on one side of the gap.
4. Implant Supported Bridges
These bridges are very similar to fixed bridges. However, instead of being cemented in place, the bridge is secured by implants.
Alternatives to a Dental Bridge for Replacing Teeth
While dental bridges are a popular choice in cosmetic dentistry, they’re not right for everyone. Alternatives to bridges can include:
These are removable artificial teeth. Some people prefer partial dentures, which can be removed and easily cleaned.
Dental Implants with Crowns
Some people choose dental implants instead of bridges or partial dentures. Implants are false teeth that are surgically placed into the jaw. Eventually, the implant integrates into the jawbone and become connected to the teeth.
In some cases, the ill recommend an implant instead of a bridge. Because they don’t require support from other teeth, they may be a better option if you don’t have healthy teeth on both sides of the gap.
Dental Implants vs Bridge – What are the Pros and Cons
Implants and bridges are both natural ways to fill in gaps, but they each have benefits and drawbacks that need to be considered.
Dental Bridges Pros
More affordable than dental implants (in most cases)
May be partially covered by dental insurance
No invasive surgery or bone grafting is required
Only requires a few visits - Abutment teeth prepared as crowns in the first visit
Dental Bridges Cons
They can damage neighboring healthy teeth
The risk of cavities in surrounding teeth is higher compared to dental implants
How Does the Dental Bridge Procedure Work at our Langley Clinic?
If you and your dentist decide that a dental bridge is the right choice for you, then you may be wondering how the procedure works. Typically, in our Langley office the process requires at least two appointments and consists of three steps. Sometimes we will recommend teeth whitening prior to Step 1 below because we can’t change the shade of a bridge once it’s fabricated.
Step 1: Preparing the Abutment Teeth like Crowns
The first step is to prepare your abutment supports by reshaping them. Your dentist will need to remove part of the enamel and dentin to make room for the fixed crown. For some patients we will offer sedation to reduce any potential anxiety around the procedure.
Step 2: Taking Impressions
Next, your dentist will take impressions or a digital scan of your mouth. The scan or mold is then used to create your bridge. Until it's ready, you’ll be given a temporary bridge to wear to protect the gaps in your smile.
Step 3: Placing the Bridge
Finally, your dentist will remove the temporary bridge and replace it with the one created in the lab. Once placed, your dentist will check to make sure that no adjustments are needed and that they fit comfortably.
What are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?
While there are many options for replacing missing teeth, dental bridges offer many benefits, including:
Helping improve your bite
Restoring your smile
Resolving chewing or speech issues
Preventing your natural teeth from moving out of place
If your bridge falls out and the surrounding dentition is still healthy or have only small cavities, your dentist may be able to simply reapply the cement and re-attach the appliance.
FAQs About Dental Bridges From Our Langley Patients
How Long Do They Last?
A dental bridge can last 7-10 years or more with proper care. Regular cleanings and good at-home oral hygiene will help ensure that your bridge lasts as long as possible. In some cases, bridges can last over a decade.
Do They Affect Your Speech?
Yes, but in a good way. Missing teeth can affect your speech or make it more difficult to speak clearly. However, once gaps are filled with false teeth, speech issues are typically resolved.
Is It Going to be Difficult to Eat?
No. In fact, many people say that it’s easier to chew with a dental bridge. Gaps caused by missing teeth can make it harder to chew your food properly and comfortably. Filling those gaps can make it easier to eat.
What’s the Best Way to Care for the New Teeth?
Bridges are supported by adjoining crowns, so it’s important to keep them as healthy as possible. The healthier your surrounding dentition, the greater the chances of your bridges lasting many years.
Brushing and flossing twice daily. Your dentist will teach you how to brush and floss properly. You may need to use a special floss, known as a threader, between your bridge and gums.
Get regular cleanings. Make sure that you see us at Blue Water Dental regularly for professional cleanings. Seeing the dentist regularly also makes it easier to detect problems early on and fix them before they progress into something more serious requiring an emergency visit.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. The health of your dentition is largely dependent on your diet and oral hygiene. Make sure that you’re eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and fiber-rich foods. Cut back or eliminate sugar. Try to limit your intake of chewy foods.
When Should I Call My Dentist?
If you’re having issues with your bridge, don’t hesitate to call your dentist and schedule an appointment. You should also see your dentist or doctor if:
Chewing is uncomfortable
You notice changes in your bite
You have pain, swelling, redness or bleeding around the bridge
How Much Do Dental Bridges Cost?
In dentistry, dental bridges are less expensive than implants and may be partially covered by insurance. The cost of a bridge will depend on a few factors:
The type of bridge or implant you choose
The complexity of the procedure
A ballpark estimate is $600-$900 per pontic tooth, but this does not include the cost of the crowns that attach to neighbouring teeth. Crowns can add $1,000-$1,400 to the cost per tooth.
In comparison, dental implants can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $4,500 or more per tooth. In many cases, insurance will not cover the cost of implants. While implants are more costly in dentistry, they are a more permanent solution and do not need to be replaced as often.
Call us today to book an appointment with our Langley dentist