A dental bridge is a procedure commonly performed in our office to replace one or more missing teeth. Cemented onto the adjacent teeth a bridge is not removable. With bridges you can chew and it will function just like your natural teeth. The “floating teeth” that are replacing missing teeth will look like your own as they are tight against your gums and appear to be emerging from them. Well maintained a bridge can last several years even decades, and requires little more maintenance than your regular teeth.
Bridges typically take two or three appointments, and are completed in two to four weeks. The initial appointment is the most involved and usually lasts one to two hours. Subsequent visits are typically less involved often do not require anesthesia and take half an hour to an hour.
Implants can be used as an alternative to bridges. There are several advantages that bridges have when compared to implant:
- They are often less expensive and have higher rate of coverage insurance coverage,
- They are typically completed in a few short weeks compared to months for implants
- No removable appliances are needed, temporaries can be placed using adjacent teeth so you are never missing a tooth and do not need to hassle with removable teeth.
- They are not dependent on amount of bone remaining, no bone grafting or additional surgeries are required.
- Do not require any surgical procedures, unless a dental tooth extraction is indicated.
Disadvantages to bridges when compared to implants:
- The teeth are connected together in a way that does not allow flossing to enter from the top, a floss threader is a tool that patients can use to floss under the bridge.
- Teeth on either side need to be prepared for and receive crowns, often teeth that already have large fillings or crowns on them will benefit from newer better fitting crowns.