Dr. Scott Finlay is an Annapolis dentist that uses dental bridges as a solution for patients who have missing teeth. There are many types of dental bridges. Dr. Finlay will evaluate your condition and help you make the best choice for your long term dental health and happiness.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a series of dental crowns that are linked together to replace missing teeth in a smile. A dental bridge can either be removable or fixed and made from a variety of tooth-like materials.
Types of Dental Bridges
Removable Dental Bridge
A dentist will suggest a removable dental bridge (a partial denture or a flipper tooth) as a short term solution for missing teeth. The flipper tooth cost will be much less than a fixed dental bridge. However, it does not offer good long term benefits and will require replacement or repair down the road.
Fixed Dental Bridge
In a fixed dental bridge, a prosthetic tooth is connected to two dental crowns which cover the teeth on either side of the gap. A drawback to this type of a dental bridge is that it requires aggressive reduction of adjacent teeth to ensure a solid foundation for the dental bridge. This may not be an issue if the neighboring teeth already have dental crowns or large dental fillings. However, if the teeth are in good health, a dental bridge could put unneeded stress on the teeth, making them likely to need dental work in the future.
Dental Bridge Materials
There have been significant advances in dental materials for dental bridges. Traditionally, a dentist had to rely on metal as the substructure to support a dental bridge. This often caused a dark line along the gum line. Today, Annapolis dentist Dr. Finlay uses tooth colored materials as the base for a dental bridge such as zirconia.
Real Results – Comparing Bridges vs. Implants
Both dental bridges and dental implants offer excellent aesthetics and long term benefits. In these two cases, the patient was missing a tooth in the same position.
In this case, the patient was unhappy with the look and feel of an existing dental bridge. Dr. Finlay replaced the dental bridge with a more aesthetic, natural looking dental bridge.
See more patient before and after photos in our Smile Gallery
Dental Bridge vs. Implant, What to Consider
Health and bone structure
One of the first things to consider when comparing a dental bridge vs. implant, is the health of the patient and architecture of the bone or tissue surrounding the missing tooth. Not all patients are candidates for dental implants and in these cases, a dental bridge may be the best option.
While dental bridge cost may be less than dental implant cost, dental implants provide a better long term solution, less likely to need repair or maintenance in the future.
Long term benefits
Dental implants are the closest thing to a natural tooth. The dental implant anchor to the jaw bone making them very stable. This allows patients to eat whatever they want, brush and floss normally, and have better speech.While the dental bridge itself is extremely durable, however it does affect the health of neighboring teeth. If one of anchor teeth fails or needs dental work, it compromises the entire dental bridge.
Procedure and recovery
A significant amount of planning by the dentist will take place before the dental implant surgery. Many patients are anxious about dental implant surgery, thinking it to be painful and highly involved. However, the actual surgery is no more involved than having a tooth pulled. The dentist will use an anesthetic to minimize pain.
Learn more about Dental Implants
About the Dental Bridge Procedure
Dr. Finlay follows a simple process for treatment with dental bridges:
Consultation & Pre-Treatment Planning
Dr. Finlay takes a comprehensive approach to all dental restorations, including dental bridges. He will examine your teeth, gums and mouth to diagnose your condition. Dr. Finlay will utilize a 2-D and 3-D modeling protocol to create a customized treatment plan that will address any functional or health concerns and achieve your cosmetic goals.
Dr. Finlay will prepare the teeth on either side of the missing tooth to support the dental crowns that will anchor the dental bridge. A solid foundation is important for the success of the dental bridge and health of all teeth involved. The dentist will take impressions of the teeth and select a material and color for the dental bridge to match the natural teeth.
Provisional Dental Bridge
In many cases, Dr. Finlay will create a temporary dental bridge. This is like a flipper tooth and will to restore aesthetics and function while you wait for your the permanent dental bridge.
Final Fit & Cementation
Once the permanent dental bridge arrives from the lab, you will try it on to ensure the fit, shape and color is perfect. Your dentist will make any minor adjustments before permanently bonding it to the anchor teeth.
Dental bridges do require some special care. The dentist will review at home care techniques including flossing beneath the bridge or using a Waterpik to keep the gum line free of debris. Routine visits to the dentist for dental cleanings and examinations will help to identify any issues that might arise after the dental bridge procedure.
Dental Bridge FAQs
Will my dental insurance cover a dental bridge?
Many dental insurance plans cover dental bridges. Providers might offer partial coverage for major services. Coverage options differ per plan, so make sure to compare your options and reach out to your dental insurer as well as us.
How long does a dental bridge last?
You may have to replace your dental bridge about every 5 to 15 years, depending on how well you maintain your restoration. Yes, this is a large range, but it very much depends on how good your oral hygiene routine is, and how often you visit our dentist.
What should I do if I have a broken bridge?
Broken bridges are an issue for anyone that heavily relies on them. First, do not use your bridge or try to reattach the broken pieces. Contact our dentist in Annapolis for advice, and schedule a consultation. We may be able to repair your bridge, or replace it with a modern one.
Is a Dental Bridge Right For You?
If you have broken or missing teeth, contact Annapolis dentist Scott Finlay, DDS for a consultation to find out what options are best for you. Call us at 443-276-4094 or schedule an appointment online.