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Dental Bridges - FAQ

Smile Makeover Specialist

What is a dental bridge?

A dental bridge is a false tooth, known as a pontic. Used to replace a missing tooth, the false tooth is fused between two porcelain crowns. The crowns are attached to the teeth on each side of the false tooth, and the false tooth is suspended between them, like a bridge.

Missing spaces between teeth increase the risk of other dental problems. Other teeth can drift out of position. Gum disease and decay can occur. Bridges fill that missing space, and can reduce those risks. Bridges also help correct bite issues and can even improve your speech.

Additionally, bridges are a pleasing aesthetic alternative to missing teeth. They can increase your confidence and heighten your cheerfulness.

Bridges must be properly maintained by regular brushing and flossing, but they will last upwards of ten years.

Who is a candidate for a dental bridge?

Anyone who is missing teeth is usually a candidate for a dental bridge.

If spaces between teeth are left unfilled, they can cause damage to your other teeth. Your other teeth may drift out of position. Additionally, there is an increased susceptibility for decay and gum disease in those other teeth.

What is the process for attaching a bridge?

Typically, it takes two appointments to install a bridge.

During the first appointment, your dentist will prepare your teeth for the bridge. A mild anesthetic is applied to your mouth, and your dentist will clear an area surrounding the teeth on each side of the space, to accommodate for the thickness of the pontic. Note: If these particular teeth have fillings, parts of the fillings may be left in place, to help as a foundation for the bridge.

During this first procedure, the dentist will then make an impression of your mouth. This impression is sent to a lab, where the bridge, pontics and crowns will be made. While this is going on -- between your first and second appointment -- a temporary bridge will be placed in your mouth. This temporary bridge serves to protect your teeth and gums.

In approximately two weeks you will go back to the dentist for your second appointment. Your temporary bridge will be removed and the new, permanent bridge will be fitted. After being checked, and adjusted for any bite discrepancies, your new bridge will then be cemented to your teeth.

What are the types of dental bridges?

There are three types of dental bridges:

  • Traditional Fixed Bridge
    Fixed bridges cannot be taken out of your mouth. Two crowns hold it in place. These crowns are attached onto your teeth on each side of the false tooth. This procedure is used to replace one or more missing teeth.
  • Resin Bonded Bridges
    A resin bonded bridge is primarily used for your front teeth. This bridge is best used when the abutment teeth -- the teeth on each side of the bridge -- are healthy and have no large fillings. The pontic is fused to metal bands that are bonded to the abutment teeth with a resin. This type of bridge reduces the amount of preparation on the adjacent teeth, and is generally less expensive than a fixed bridge.
  • Cantilever Bridges
    A cantilever bridge is also used primarily for your front teeth. However, a cantilever bridge is used only on areas where there are teeth on only one side of the open space. This procedure involves anchoring the pontic to one side over one or more natural and adjacent teeth.

What will be the color of the dental bridge?

The goal is to achieve a brighter smile without forsaking a natural look. Typically, your front teeth are the whitest, your eye teeth are the darkest, and molars are a shade between the two. How white your bridge will become varies depending upon the current condition and structure of your natural teeth.

Only a qualified cosmetic dentist can help you determine which procedure -- or combination of procedures -- will work best for you.

How much do dental bridges cost?

The average cost of a single fixed bridge varies, and depends upon what type of bridge is needed. Typically, dental bridge costs range from $500 to 900 per tooth. Dental insurance can cover in full or in part the cost of a bridge, however some other financing options may be available to you through your cosmetic dentist.

Dr. Lopes has many years experience in placing dental bridges. He is a graduate of the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. Contact Dr. Lopes today to schedule your initial consultation.