Dental bridges are fixed appliances that work to restore the structure and function of your teeth after tooth loss. These appliances are non-removable, so they will become a permanent part of your smile. There are many different types of bridges available to replace missing teeth, and we can help you to choose the right option for your unique dental needs.
A traditional bridge is the most common type of bridge used to improve tooth loss. The bridge contains two porcelain dental crowns fused to zirconia that both slip over two anchoring teeth found on either side of the artificial teeth. The bridge then fills the gap that was created due to tooth loss, thereby restoring the full integrity of your smile.
- Types of Dental Bridges
- Why Choose a Dental Bridge?
- Dental Bridge Treatment
- Dental Bridge Results
- Dental Bridge Cost
- Dental Bridge Maintenance
Types of Dental Bridges
In general, fixed bridges and implant bridges are the most frequently utilized to replace multiple missing teeth in a row. Both options fill in the gap between healthy teeth to restore your smile and strengthen your bite, but the manner in which they are secured to the mouth differ. Dr. Griffiths can guide you through the decision-making process and help you choose the most beneficial option for your needs.
A fixed dental bridge is attached to healthy teeth on each side of the absent space left by missing teeth, effectively “bridging” the gap in your smile. This is the least invasive dental bridge technique, as oral surgery is not required to affix the restoration to your mouth. By securing the bridge to adjacent teeth via dental crowns, patients can recover the strength of their bite and restore the appearance of their smile. There is also little to no downtime required after placing a fixed dental bridge. That said, a fixed prosthesis typically does not last as long as an implant-secured bridge and the restoration does not stimulate the underlying jawbone.
An implant bridge is affixed to the jaw using dental implants, often providing the utmost security and stability possible. Treatment involves an oral procedure in which small, titanium posts are inserted into the gumline to act as natural tooth roots. After the posts fuse with the jawbone over the following months, the dental bridge is placed atop the titanium implants. This can replicate the appearance and function of a full tooth. Since implants are designed to replace the natural tooth roots, an implant-supported bridge can help regenerate new growth of the jawbone and prevent further bone loss. Furthermore, the outcome of treatment can typically last years, or even decades, with proper maintenance and care.
Reasons for Choosing a Fixed Bridge
There are numerous reasons why you might choose a fixed bridge to correct your tooth loss:
- Restore the smile
- Improve your ability to speak and chew like normal
- Maintain your normal face shape
- Fill in the spaces left by missing teeth
- Prevent the remaining teeth from shifting positions
- Upgrade from removable dentures
How is Treatment with a Dental Bridge Performed?
The process of getting your bridge will generally require at least two appointments with our cosmetic dentist, Dr. Mark Griffiths. Your teeth will be numbed to keep you comfortable throughout the procedure, and the anchoring teeth will then be prepared by having a thin portion of the enamel removed in order to make room for a crown. Molds will be made of your teeth and sent to a dental lab, where the bridge will be fabricated. You may also be able to wear a temporary bridge until your follow-up appointment, which will usually be scheduled about two weeks out.
At your next visit, we’ll remove your temporary bridge and the new bridge will be checked for proper fit. Once it is determined that the appliance is ready, it will be bonded or cemented into place.
How Long Do Dental Bridges Last?
A dental bridge can last years with proper care and the exact lifespan of each restoration varies depending on the type of bridge placed. It’s important to consistently attend your semi-annual dental appointments so Dr. Griffiths can continue monitoring the condition of your dental bridge. In general, good oral hygiene habits are the best way to ensure your bridge lasts as long as possible. This usually only necessitates daily brushing and flossing to prevent bacteria buildup and the formation of decay. If you are active in sports, it can also be beneficial to invest in a mouth guard to reduce the likelihood of a dental injury, which may shorten the lifespan of your dental bridge. Our practice also offers custom-made night guards for patients who are prone to teeth grinding or bruxism while asleep to further protect the quality of your bridge.
How Much Does a Dental Bridge Cost?
A dental bridge can be a more economical tooth replacement option when compared to other dental restorations, often making them an attractive solution to restore missing teeth. In San Diego, the cost of a dental bridge per unit generally ranges from $1,000 to $2,500 depending on the unique details of an individual’s treatment plan, such as:
- The number of units in your dental bridge
- The technique used to secure the dental bridge
- The cost of the restoration
- Fees from the dental lab
Since the cost of a dental bridge can vary from patient to patient, our office would be happy to provide you with a personalized cost estimate once Dr. Griffiths can assess your needs in a consultation. Dental financing through CareCredit® can often be a useful option for some individuals, which allows qualified patients to pay for their dental bridge treatment in smaller, more manageable installments. Please call our office at (619) 298-6257 if you have any other questions or concerns about the cost of a dental bridge.
How Do I Care for My Dental Bridge?
Bridges are created to be highly durable and with proper care, they can last for several years. However, even normal wear can require a replacement, so be sure to follow up with Dr. Griffiths regularly to ensure your appliance is still in good shape. You should also be sure to brush and floss properly in order to keep your remaining teeth healthy and avoid future tooth loss.
Questions? Our Bankers Hill and Hillcrest-area dentist can help you find effective and natural-looking solutions to replace your missing teeth. Please contact Griffiths Smiles to learn more about dental bridges and our other restorative dentistry services.