Dental bridges are one of the options available for patients with missing teeth. It avoids the more invasive alternative of a dental implant, and replaces that gap in your teeth with the full confidence of a bright, healthy smile.
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge fills a gap between your teeth with false teeth, but without ‘implanting’ them into your jaw like a traditional dental implant. Instead, as the name suggests, a bridge connects a false tooth to your natural teeth on either side of the gap.
They can be a good option if you prefer not to have a dental implant, or if your gums or jaw are not in the right condition to receive an implant.
Bridges are usually made from metal, porcelain, or zirconia (a very hard substance), or a mix of any of the three, and there are three types of dental bridges; traditional, cantilever, or the Maryland bridge.
A traditional bridge is the most common, and involves placing dental crowns on the teeth on either side of the gap, and attaching a ‘pontic’ (a false tooth) between them.
A cantilever bridge is less common. This is when there is only one tooth next to the gap, so the crown is placed over that tooth and the pontic is attached to it. It’s less sturdy than being attached at both sides, so is not a good option for back teeth that need to deal with a lot of pressure.
Finally, there is the Maryland bridge style, named on behalf of the University of Maryland where it was invented. This involves a similar concept to the traditional style by connecting a false tooth to the teeth on each side of the gap, but instead of using crowns for the attachment, it uses ‘wings’ that attach to the back of each tooth next to the gap. This is again not ideal for back teeth, and only really an option for those with good oral health.
No matter the style, a dental bridge offers patients the full functionality of a full set of teeth, as well as confidence in their smile.
How does a dental bridge work?
The exact procedure of your dental bridge may vary depending on the condition of your teeth and gums, and the type of bridge you get.
Typically however, your dentist will start by doing an examination and x-ray, and treat any gum disease or tooth decay prior to starting. It is important that the site and two abutment teeth are in good condition to support the bridge.
Next, your dentist will prepare the abutment teeth. The dentist will remove a thin layer of enamel from each one to make space for the crowns, then make impressions of those teeth to send away to a lab. This lab will create custom-made crowns and a false tooth for your smile.
To finish this appointment, your dentist will add a temporary bridge. This will protect your teeth and gums and help you eat and drink normally until your permanent bridge is ready.
During your next appointment, your dentist will remove the temporary bridge and affix the permanent one in place with a special dental cement. They will shape the tooth to suit your bite and ensure you are comfortable with it.
Advantages of a tooth bridge
A dental bridge is a great way to replace a missing tooth for a number of reasons:
- Avoids an invasive implant
Dental implants are affixed into the bone below the gum line, and some people prefer not to do this procedure. Also, implants are not suitable for those with poor gum or jaw health.
- A full smile and confidence
Missing teeth can lead to less confidence, with some people preferring to smile with their mouth closed to avoid showing the gap. A bridge fills this gap with a natural-looking tooth.
- Normal functionality
A dental bridge offers full functionality, meaning you’ll be able to eat, drink, and talk normally.
- Better oral health
A missing tooth can cause faster deterioration in your other teeth, and tooth movement for remaining teeth, which means a bridge can improve your dental health.
How much does a dental bridge cost?
Dental bridges can cost anywhere from $1,800 to up to $5,000 in Australia. This is because a traditional bridge requires two dental crowns, the pontic (the false tooth), and at least two dental appointments.
This cost varies depending on the type of bridge you get, the materials involved, and other factors. Your dentist will be able to give you a better estimate once they have a better idea of your situation and oral health.
Keep in mind, your insurance may pay for some of the treatment, so it’s worth checking with your provider.
What to expect from your dental bridge appointment
From start to finish, here’s a typical dental bridge procedure:
- Have something to eat and drink before the procedure so you don’t get hungry
- Brush and floss your teeth
- our dentist will start by applying a local anaesthetic to numb the area
- They will then remove a thin layer of enamel from the two abutment teeth (unless you are getting a Maryland bridge)
- Next, your dentist will take impressions of your teeth to send to the lab
- This first appointment will finish with the dentist adding a temporary bridge to protect your teeth until you receive the permanent bridge
- Your next visit will occur approximately a week later, or whenever your custom-made bridge is ready
- Your dentist will again start by numbing the area with local anaesthetic
- They will remove the temporary bridge
- Next, they will test the fit of the permanent bridge
- If it fits well, they will fix it in place with dental cement
- Finally, they will shape the dental crowns and bridge to suit your bite
- The area will likely remain numb for several hours following the procedure
- Your dentist will check on the bridge during your next appointment
If you have a gap in your teeth and think a dental bridge might be right for you, National Dental Care has the skills and experience to make it happen.
Find your nearest dental office and get in touch today to schedule an appointment.