Replace missing teeth with a dental bridge
One of the top options for replacing missing teeth is with a dental bridge. A dental bridge replaces missing teeth and looks like natural teeth. A bridge is a fixed dental prosthesis that bridges gaps in teeth by attaching to adjacent teeth.
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is a fixed, permanent appliance that consists of crowns to replace a missing tooth. The bridge can be supported by your natural teeth on either side of the missing tooth or by implants if you have multiple missing teeth in one area. The teeth or implants will have crowns placed on them and will support what is known as a pontic (fake) tooth in the middle. The pontic tooth is the replacement tooth for the one that is missing.
While it may sound like you have a tooth floating in your mouth, the pontic rests close to the gumline and blends beautifully with your smile and surrounding teeth. A three-unit bridge is recommended by our Lincoln dentists over larger bridges. When a bridge spans over more than one missing tooth, it can put too much pressure on the supporting teeth or implants, causing damage, and leading to cracked teeth.
What is the procedure for a dental bridge supported by natural teeth?
Like a crown, the procedure for a dental bridge supported by your natural teeth is usually a two-appointment process. At your first appointment, once you are numb and comfortable, an impression will be taken. This first mold will be used to make your temporary bridge. Your Lincoln dentist will then prepare the adjacent teeth for crowns. Tooth structure will need to be removed to make room for the crowns that will fit over the top of the supporting teeth. Another impression will be taken, which will be used by the dental lab to fabricate your permanent dental bridge. The temporary bridge will be made in office, so that you can leave with confidence while you await the professional dental lab to make your bridge. In about two weeks, you will come back to our office, and your Lincoln dentist will cement your permanent dental bridge into place.
What is the procedure for an implant retained bridge? Your Lincoln dentist answers…
The procedure for an implant supported dental bridge will be different than one supported by your natural teeth. A dental implant looks like a small titanium screw. This titanium screw is secured into your bone by an oral surgeon to replace missing teeth. It takes the place of the root of your missing tooth. Once the bone has had a chance to heal around the implant (about three month’s time), a crown will be placed over the top.
Replacement of Multiple Teeth with an implant retained bridge
Dental implants can also be used to replace several missing teeth. If you have multiple missing teeth or teeth that need extraction, dental implants can be used in a couple of different ways to replace those teeth.
The first option is to replace each tooth with an individual implant. This means a tooth implant will be placed in each space where a tooth is missing. The advantage to this option is that the bone will be retained in each space. Each implant will help prevent the bone from receding over time.
The second option is an implant-supported bridge. A dental bridge consists of three crowns. Traditionally, a bridge can be used to replace a single missing tooth by preparing the teeth on each side of the space for crowns. The two supporting teeth will have crowns and support an extra tooth in between them to fill the missing space. If you have three missing teeth right next to each other, two implants can be placed which will be used to support the third tooth in the middle. These implants will support a pontic tooth in the middle rather than placing three separate implants. This option can be less expensive than the cost of three individual dental implants used to replace three neighboring teeth. While this is a good, cost-effective option, some bone loss can occur over time in the middle space as there is not a tooth or implant secured into the bone.
While your implants integrate (heal) into the bone, you may choose to have a temporary removable flipper or partial denture so that you can smile with confidence. Just as with a single implant placement, once the implants have healed and the lab has fabricated your dental bridge, you will come to our office to have the bridge permanently cemented into place.
Cost of a Dental Bridge vs. Implants
The cost of a dental bridge vs. implants is first dependent on whether you get a traditional bridge or an implant-retained bridge. As an affordable dentist in Lincoln, NE, NorthStar Dental is committed to providing you with competitive prices along with affordable payment options and payment plans.
For a traditional three-unit bridge, the average cost in Lincoln, NE is usually about $1100 per crown (3 crowns) plus tooth extraction cost if the tooth is not yet removed. The extraction cost can vary, beginning around $150 depending on whether the procedure can take place in our office or if an oral surgeon will need to be involoved. Where the procedure takes place is dependent upon the condition and location of the tooth that needs extraction.
If you have dental insurance, your insurance may pick up a portion of the cost depending on your policy. It is important to know if you have a missing tooth clause in your insurance policy. This clause states that if the tooth was missing before the policy was in effect for you, they would not pay to replace the tooth.
Dental Implants vs. Bridge
A dental implant is always a better choice for replacing missing teeth.
Because a dental bridge requires two supporting teeth to hold it in place, if the tooth next to the missing tooth (or teeth) is a healthy natural tooth, it would be better to use implants. This is a more conservative solution because the unnecessary cutting of healthy teeth to place the bridge is avoided.
An added benefit of using implants over bridges is that an implant preserves the bone structure of your jaw just like a natural tooth does. This means less receding bone and greater facial support.
Dental Bridge versus Dental Implants
Which one is a better option?
This can be a tough decision. Here are a few general guidelines we follow that may help you decide. If the adjacent teeth around a missing space are already cracked or decayed and require crowns, a bridge is a more practical option. However, a dental implant is almost always the best and most conservative option for tooth replacement because teeth adjacent to the missing space are not affected by the placement of an implant. Choosing to place an implant rather than a bridge also gives the benefit of preserving bone. When teeth are removed, bone dissolves in the space the tooth once occupied. This can result in a sunken-in appearance from a lack of bone support for facial structures. Implants keep bone active and prevent resorption.
Dental Bridge versus Dental Implants
Basic Information to help you make an Informed Decision!
Used to bridge the gap created by missing teeth.
The best long-term solution to replace missing teeth.
|Longevity:||7 – 30 Years||Lifetime|
|Preservation of healthy adjacent teeth:||No||Yes|
|Transmission of force to:||Adjacent Teeth||Bone|
|Prevent bone loss & preserve facial appearance:||Partially||Yes|
|A requirement for daily flossing:||Yes||Yes|
|Risk of developing cavities:||Yes||No|
|Accelerated loss of adjacent teeth:||Yes||No|
|The time needed to complete the procedure:||2 – 3 Weeks||3 – 6 Months|
Who Can Benefit from Bridges?
Patients who have one missing tooth can benefit from this procedure and if the adjacent teeth next to the missing tooth require extra support, it can also be beneficial. If you choose a bridge, some bone will still be lost in areas and you may develop cavities.
Who Can Benefit from Implants?
Patients who have one missing tooth, especially a chewing tooth, can benefit from this procedure. Rarely, a patient may not be a good candidate for the successful placement of implants and on occasion, additional surgery may be needed to ensure adequate bone support to the implants being placed.
What is the cost for an implant vs a three-unit bridge for the replacement of one single tooth?
The cost of a single implant is around $3500-$4000 and a 3 unit bridge is around $3300 without any dental insurance coverage. If your specific insurance policy does cover part of your treatment, the cost may be lower for those procedures.
For more answers to frequently asked questions visit: nebraskafamilydentistry.com
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Implants can be used to support a dental bridge.
An implant-supported bridge is another option to replace missing teeth. Bridges unlike dentures are permanently fixed in place and act a lot like your natural teeth.
A bridge supported by implants is an alternative if you have missing teeth or are going to need to have teeth extracted. Costs for several implants to replace every failed tooth can be greatly reduced with implant-supported bridges. If you have three to four missing teeth, for example, a bridge can be created by placing two implants and using them to anchor that bridge.
For an implant-retained bridge the average costs in Lincoln, NE are usually about $1,800 per implant (2 implants), plus about $1100 per crown (3 crowns). If the tooth has not already been removed, then the oral surgeon will take care of that as well. Some insurance policies will cover part of the cost of dental implants and restorations (crowns) while others do not. It will be important to check with your insurance so you know exactly what to expect. We are always more than happy to call on your specific policy, though information shared with our office may be limited.
Check out the “Is it better to have a dental bridge versus implant” video
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