Having one or more missing teeth can have a serious effect not only on your smile, but also on your dental health. Specifically, missing teeth can cause:
- A shift in the alignment of your teeth
- Increased risk of periodontal disease
- Increased risk of tooth decay
- Loss of adjacent teeth
- Speech disorders
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
What Are Dental Bridges?
Like dental implants, dental bridges are used to replace a missing tooth, except bridges are supported by the teeth on either side called abutment teeth.
What Are the Benefits of Bridges?
Like many cosmetic dental procedures, placing bridges also serves a restorative purpose. A dental bridge will improve your ability to chew and speak as well as your smile. In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, dental bridges were shown to dramatically reduce the risk of losing teeth that are adjacent to a missing tooth. In addition, dental bridges can help keep your jaw and face from changing shape, as they tend to do when a person has missing teeth.
What Types of Bridges Are There?
- Cantilever bridges are used to replace a tooth that does not have supporting teeth on both sides of the affected area.
- Maryland bonded bridges include artificial teeth and gums, and are held in place by a metal frame.
- Traditional bridges are the most common, and literally bridge the gap of an empty tooth space by securing a false tooth using crowns on the teeth on either side.
How Are Dental Bridges Placed?
The procedure of installing a dental bridge is typically completed in two visits. First, your dentist will determine if you are a good candidate for a dental bridge. If you are, your teeth will need to be prepared by reshaping or reconstructing any badly decayed or damaged areas. Afterward, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth, which is then sent off to a lab where it is cast into a mold, and give you a temporary bridge to wear. On your second visit, this mold will be fitted to your teeth, and any necessary corrections or adjustments will be made on that same visit.
How Long Do Dental Bridges Last?
Dental bridges can last from 8 to 15 years and can last even longer if you maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly.
How Much Do Bridges Cost?
Depending on various factors such as the experience and skill level of the dentist and the type of bridge being fitted, dental bridges can cost anywhere from $250 to $2500 a tooth.
Are Bridges Covered By My Dental Insurance?
Dental bridges are typically partially covered by insurers. Ask your dentist to find out exactly how much you will have to pay out of pocket.
To find out more about bridges or to schedule an appointment, call Clark E Melstrom DDS today!