A dental bridge is a quick and relatively simple solution to replace the gap after a patient loses a tooth. Losing a tooth can cause long term complications to the overall function of the mouth and quite often leads to further tooth loss over the course of a person’s life. A dental bridge utilizes the two teeth either side of the gap to support a false tooth in the middle to return the mouth to normal chewing function and athletics back to the smile. In dental, we call this false tooth that replaces the space the ‘pontic’.
A dental bridge is made of dental porcelain which often has a metal lining inside to provide added strength, however, this is not always required and a full porcelain dental bridge can be used. A dental lab technician with expert skills and equipment in making dental bridges will be needed to make the dental bridge. A patient will need two appointments to complete the dental bridge treatment. During the first appointment, the dentist will reshape and prepare the two teeth selected to support the dental bridge to make room for the dental bridge to sit. A temporary dental bridge will be glued to the tooth for a period of around two weeks while the porcelain dental bridge is made by the lab. Once ready, a short appointment is required to remove the temporary bridge and cement the permanent dental bridge in place and check the bite and it is accurate.
A dental bridge will most likely cover the entire crown of the two existing teeth so that no natural tooth is exposed. This ensures maximum strength of the dental bridge since these two teeth now need to do the work of three. A dental bridge procedure is usually done under local anaesthetic to numb the teeth and gum while the dentist works in the area. Patients often compare having a dental bridge to having a tooth filling.
The benefit to having a dental bridge to fill in a gap left from a missing tooth are many;
A dental bridge might not always be the best solution to replace a missing tooth. A dentist may recommend a less invasive option if the teeth on either side of the gap are healthy and have had little to no dental treatment in the past. Making room for a dental bridge to sit over the top of the new support teeth requires the dentist to remove tooth structure. Depending on your bite, this could be a little, or it could mean a significant amount of enamel needs to be removed to ensure the dental bridge is thick enough to withstand the forces it will endure.
There are a few alternatives to a dental bridge that might be suitable for your situation and budget. These may include a denture or a dental implant. A dental bridge is the middle range solution of filling in a gap and the one dentists will happily recommend as you go to gap-filling solution for its simple process, value for money and long term solution to restoring your dentition.
Have you got a missing tooth? An unsightly gap that catches food, makes it hard to enjoy your meals and leaves you feeling too shy to smile? A dental bridge could be the perfect solution to restoring your smile and chewing ability, leaving you feeling confident to show off your full smile. AirSmile dentist members are passionate about making sure every patient understands every step of the dental bridge process including, cost, how long it will last and what’s involved in making sure you’re happy with your new smile.
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Dental bridge treatments are a huge investment and you need to love your dentist and know that they are experts in the services you need. At AirSmile, we’ve done the hard search for you and found the best of the best in dental bridge procedures. We’re confident our dentist members can take excellent care of you and support you in restoring the function of your mouth.
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The porcelain dental bridge cost will vary depending on how many teeth are needed to fill the gap and how many supporting teeth will be included in the dental bridge structure. Most commonly, a dental bridge comprises three teeth. Two supporting teeth and one false tooth that’s shaped to go into the gap to look like a natural tooth. In this scenario, the cost of a dental bridge is around $4000 – $5000.
A dental bridge should look just like your natural teeth. An expert dentist and dental technician will colour match your dental bridge to your existing teeth so that it blends naturally when you smile. You should be given time to view the overall look, shape and colour of the dental bridge prior to it being cemented to ensure you are happy with the appearance.
Dental bridges are considered a permanent solution to replacing a missing tooth, however, nothing lasts forever, and dental disease and a breakdown of the material will often occur during the life of the dental bridge. The best way to ensure your dental bridge lasts for as long as possible is to follow a strict home care routine under the guidance of a dental health professional and attend the dentist every six months for a professional teeth cleaning and review of the integrity of the dental bridge and supporting teeth.
A dental bridge treatment procedure takes two visits. During the first appointment the dentist will numb the area and prepare the supporting teeth, making room for the dental bridge to be placed. An impression of the prepared teeth using a putty will be needed, or the dentist may have equipment to take a digital scan of the area. This impression or scan is sent to the dental lab technician where the dental bridge will be made. The process of making a dental crown takes around 2 weeks. During this time, the dentist will place a temporary dental bridge on your teeth so that you can continue to eat and go about life while your bridge is being made. To complete the treatment, all that is needed is to remove the temporary dental bridge and cement the permanent one in place, once the dentist confirms you’re happy with the look and feel.
To prevent dental decay and gum disease affecting your new dental bridge it’s vital that you maintain regular and effective cleaning of the area. This involves brushing the teeth twice a day and using special floss designed to clean under the pontic (the false tooth that sits within the gap). This special floss has a section of bristles that cleans between the gum and pontic where a toothbrush is unable to reach. This keeps the gum healthy and clean as well as keeping bacteria and debris away from the supporting teeth. Flossing daily between each tooth and visits to the dentist every six months for teeth cleaning and review of the dental bridge is key to looking at your dental bridge.
There are a few reasons your dental bridge could be sensitive or giving pain.
1. The new dental bridge is high in your bite causing the ligament surrounding the teeth to become tender when you bite down or chew
2. The cement used to glue the dental bridge in place can make the teeth sensitive for a few days post-placement
3. The gum under the pontic (false tooth filling in the gap) is infected due to food trapping, bacteria and debris not being cleaned out regularly.
4. One of the supporting teeth which hold the dental bridge in place has developed decay and/or the nerve has become infected.
If you are suffering from any symptoms it is wise to seek consultation with your dentist immediately. Catching small issues with your dental bridge early on could be the difference between keeping and losing it.
If your dental bridge becomes loose or falls off, keep it in a safe place and contact your dentist to have the area inspected. The dentist will determine why the dental bridge has been compromised and discuss your options. Most often, the cement that holds the dental bridge in place has lost its effectiveness. If the dental bridge is still intact and the underlying teeth and gums which support the teeth are healthy, the dental bridge can be recemented on the day. However, if the structure of the dental bridge has been compromised or the supporting teeth have developed disease, cracking or the nerve is infected, the continuation of the dental bridge treatment may need to be reviewed and a different treatment provided.
If you leave a dental bridge off for too long the teeth either side opposing the gap can shift which may impact on the fit of the dental bridge, forcing you to have a new one made.
If the nerves of the supporting teeth are happy and healthy there is no need to have root canal treatment to have the nerve removed prior to having a dental bridge treatment done. The only time you need root canal treatment is when the nerve in the tooth has become infected from decay or damaged from trauma. Otherwise, it is always best to keep the core and integrity of the tooth to give the dental bridge maximum strength.
A dental bridge is considered one of the quickest solutions to filling in a gap from a missing tooth as the treatment takes around two weeks in total to complete. However, there are two other solutions that a dentist may discuss with you that might suit your situation and budget better.
Option 1 – Denture
A denture, also known as false teeth, is a removable appliance that can be taken in and out by the patient easily for cleaning. This is the most cost-effective solution to filling in space from a missing tooth. A denture is made from acrylic and can have chrome added for a firmer and more comfortable fit, however, this does add to the overall cost. Dentures are not a fixed solution to filling in a gap which is often why patients choose to go for a dental bridge which is considered a more permanent and stable option.
Option 2 – Implant
A dental implant is the most comprehensive and expensive solution to filling in the gap after a tooth has been lost or extracted. Implant treatment involves a small amount of invasive surgery to place a titanium screw into the bone in the space. A healing abutment is placed over the screw for 6 – 12 weeks while the bone infuses around the implant screw. Once the dentist is happy integration has taken place, a dental crown will be made and screwed on top of the implant post. Implants are a wonderful option if you want to preserve the teeth on either side of the gap as no treatment or work is required as is needed with a dental bridge.
It might not look like it but there is a small gap underneath the false tooth (pontic) part of the dental bridge. This is the perfect hiding spot for bacteria, food particles and debris. If you’re getting a bad taste or bad smell from your dental bridge it could be due to rotting food and inflamed and infected gum under the bridge. To clean the area, use an interdental brush with bristles that can fit in the space under the dental bridge to sweep the build-up out, or use dental bridge specific floss that will achieve the same. Do this daily as part of your home care routine. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is advised to visit the dentist to make sure there isn’t something more serious at work.