Annapolis dentist, Dr. Finlay 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 removable dental bridge, also known as a partial denture or a flipper tooth, is typically reserved as a short term solution for missing teeth. While the flipper tooth cost may be much less than a fixed dental bridge, a removable dental bridge does not offer good long term benefits and frequently requires 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.
- Cost – 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 is anchored to the bone, allowing the patient to eat whatever they want, brush and floss normally, and have unaffected speech.While the dental bridge itself is extremely durable, the concern is to the health of neighboring teeth. If one of anchor teeth fails or needs dental work, it compromises the entire dental bridge.
- Procedure and recovery – Many patients are anxious about dental implant surgery, thinking it to be painful and highly involved. While significant planning by the dentist will happen before dental implant surgery, the procedure itself is not much more involved than the process of 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.
- Tooth Preparation – 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, like a flipper tooth, to restore aesthetics and function while the permanent dental bridge is being made in a dental laboratory.
- Final Fit & Cementation – Once the permanent dental bridge arrives from the lab, the restoration will be tried on for fit, shape and color. Any minor adjustments are made before the dental dental bridge is permanently bonded to the anchor teeth.
- After Care – 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.
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.