Dental bridges offer a way to address a missing tooth, or in the case of more than one, missing teeth. It quite literally gives you a way to bridge the gap and restore your smile.
By definition, it’s a restoration treatment that is permanently fixed to your teeth (whether to your natural tooth, dental implants, or dental crowns) on each side of the gap. This is important because gaps left in your mouth can often cause the remaining teeth to shift or rotate into empty spaces. Not only is it common for this to in turn impact your bite, but it can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Not to mention affect how you feel about your smile!
Now that we’ve covered the benefits, it’s important to address the types of bridges: traditional bridges, cantilever bridges, resin-bonded bridges, maryland bridges, and implant-supported bridges.
Traditional bridges are by far the most common type of dental bridge. It consists of one or more fake teeth (otherwise known as pontics) and is held in place by dental crowns (abutment teeth). The crowns are cemented onto the adjacent teeth. Traditional bridges are used when you have natural teeth on both sides of the gap. The downside to this type of bridge is that it does require removing enamel to make room for the crowns being cemented on top. Because enamel isn’t something that can regrow, the affected teeth will always need the protection of the crowns.
Implant-supported dental bridges are a great option if you’re missing more than one tooth. Rather than relying on crowns or frameworks, they are supported by dental implants. Typically each missing tooth is replaced by an implant and that series of implants keep the bridge in place. In some cases where you can’t place an implant for every missing tooth, a fake tooth may be suspended between two implant-supported crowns. This is the most secure and comfortable dental bridge option, however, it does require multiple office visits (typically more than two) and it may take a number of months to complete.
Resin-bonded bridges are a way to replace a single missing tooth. This is designed to consist of an artificial tooth bonded to the adjacent tooth or teeth by a wing-like extension. The supporting tooth (the abutment tooth) requires only minimal preparation, making this a minimally invasive option. A strong dental adhesive is used to bond the wing portion to the supporting tooth to keep it in place long-term.
Cantilever bridges are quite similar to traditional bridges, but the fake tooth is supported by an abutment tooth (crown) on only one side, not both. Basically, if your gap has only one natural tooth next to it, your dentist can still secure the bridge. This will still require the removal of enamel, similar to the traditional bridge. There is a higher possibility of complications with this bridge, specifically around fractured teeth and loosened crowns.
Both traditional bridges and cantilever bridges make use of temporary bridges placed on the prepped teeth while waiting for the permanent bridge to be completed.
With proper care and regular dental treatments, you can expect to get 30+ years out of your dental bridge. It’s important to remember that good oral health and healthy teeth start at home, so make sure to brush and floss every day.
The cost of a dental bridge varies greatly based on the type of bridge and the particular needs of the patient. As an example, the price range for a 3-unit bridge (two natural teeth as the abutments and one pontic) is approximately $3,000 – $3,500. However, that cost can increase by $500 – $1,300 per natural tooth if additional treatment is required. ie. post, core, and/or a root canal. In instances where there are no “extras” required, a basic bridge to replace the missing tooth is around $1,250 for each abutment and $750 for each pontic.
At Advanced Dental Arts, we follow the Manitoba Dental Association fee guide and never charge above it. We offer direct billing to most insurance companies and offer payment plans so you can get the treatment you need now while paying over time.
If you’re considering a dental bridge, your dentist should work with you to create a treatment plan tailored to your needs. At our Winnipeg dental office, we offer no-obligation complimentary consultations and are happy to provide you with a second opinion. Call us today.
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