Philadelphia, Main Line, and Ardmore, Pennsylvania Cosmetic Dentistry
Over 178 million Americans are missing at least a single tooth. When a tooth is lost to trauma or needs to be extracted due to decay, it can be tempting to save the expense and hassle of replacing the missing tooth. That can have negative implications for your bite and your overall dental health.
A dental bridge is a great way to replace a missing tooth or teeth and improve your smile.
Why Do I Need to Replace My Missing Teeth with a Dental Bridge?
Many people opt to pass on replacing a missing tooth, especially if it’s one of their molars and not easily visible. But that’s a bad idea for a variety of reasons. First, teeth stay put due to the pressure placed on them by the neighboring teeth. When a tooth is missing, the adjacent teeth tend to slide over into the gap. This creates alignment and bite problems.
Here are the reasons for having a bridge replace a tooth or teeth:
- To complete your smile
- To prevent adjacent teeth from moving
- To restore chewing and biting capability
- To distribute the bite forces to not overload other teeth
- To restore your speaking diction
- To maintain the shape of your face
What is a Dental Bridge?
A bridge is a dental prosthetic that “bridges” the gap of your missing tooth/teeth. The bridge consists of crowns on the healthy teeth on each side of the gap (these are also called the abutment teeth).
Between the crowns is an artificial tooth or teeth (called pontics) that replace the missing teeth. Bridges are anchored by the healthy abutment teeth or by dental implants. Dr. Lindsey Marshall prefers porcelain for the crowns and artificial teeth because porcelain closely mimics the translucence and light reflection of natural tooth enamel.
Are there Different Types of Bridges?
What we’ve described above is a traditional bridge. Dr. Marshall also uses two other types of bridges depending on patient need.
When there are healthy teeth on just one side of the missing teeth, a cantilever bridge is used. Two crowns are placed on the one side and the bridge in this case is more akin to a balcony.
These bridges are typically used on the front teeth. Maryland bridges don’t use crowns as anchors. Instead bands are cemented to the back surfaces of the supporting teeth.
Before and After Dental Bridge
Who is a Good Candidate for a Dental Bridge?
Really there are two options for replacing a missing tooth: dental implants and dental bridges. Replacing multiple missing teeth with implants may not be practical for all people. Plus, the process takes months. Bridges, while not as strong or durable as implants, are a good option for replacing a couple of missing teeth. The teeth on each side of the missing tooth or teeth need to be healthy enough to take crowns.
What is the Process of Getting a Dental Bridge Like?
Dr. Marshall will first prepare the two teeth on either side of the gap by reducing their size a little. This makes space for the porcelain crowns she will place over them to hold attachments for the bridge. After reducing their size, she will take photographs and an impression of the area.
Dr. Marshall will send all necessary data to her dental laboratory where your two crowns and replacement tooth will be made. The bridging apparatus that connects all three together is metal-free.
Is the Procedure for Receiving a Bridge Painful?
There really isn’t any discomfort when Dr. Marshall is preparing your teeth for your bridge or when placing it. Local anesthetic is used when the teeth are shaved down to make room for the crowns. There isn’t any pain when she cements the bridge onto your abutment teeth.
“Our search for a dentist was a long one as there were many offices that flat out told us they wouldn’t be able to accommodate my husband until we found Dr. Marshall and her wonderful staff.
From day one they surpassed all of our expectations for what we were looking for and were extremely accommodating and thoughtful in re-creating my husband’s smile. He was severely injured in an bike accident and despite his teeth always had a glowing smile, but after Dr. Marshall’s phenomenal work his physical smile matches his glow. Thank you Dr. Marshall and team for all that you’ve done for us!” – V.D.
How Long Will My Bridge Last?
You have a lot to do with the lifespan of your new bridge. Dental bridges have a varying lifespan from five to 15 years, but they can last longer. The health of the abutment teeth is usually the determinant. If you take good care of those teeth, your bridge can last for a couple decades. It’s also wise to avoid eating overly hard or sticky foods using your bridge, as they can break it or pull it loose.
How Do Bridges Compare with Dental Implants?
As mentioned at the top of this page, you have two options for replacing a missing tooth or teeth: dental bridges or dental implants. Dr. Marshall is a big fan of dental implants, believing they offer the best solution for replacing a missing tooth. Implants are false teeth anchored by titanium “implants” that are actually inserted into the missing hole formerly occupied by the natural tooth root.
The jawbone then grows around the implant, making it part of the jaw. The false tooth is attached to the implant. A dental Implant behaves exactly like a natural tooth. This makes them the superior option for replacing a tooth, but the process and expense can make some patients opt for a bridge instead. Replacing a number of teeth with dental implants isn’t realistic option for most patients.
When a person is missing multiple teeth, Dr. Marshall advocates using dental implants, if possible, to anchor the partial denture/bridge.
How Much Do Dental Bridges Cost?
As you can see above, there are some variables in dental bridges. What kind of bridge do you need? How many teeth is the bridge replacing? What is the condition of the two teeth that will be the abutments? Once Dr. Marshall has a better idea of your unique situation, we can give you a precise cost estimate for your bridge.
Schedule Your Consultation Today!
Interested in learning more about dental bridges and how they can help you? Call (610) 649-0696 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Lindsey Marshall today! Our practice serves Ardmore, PA & the greater Philadelphia area.