Having a complete, natural-looking smile contributes to healthy self-esteem and is essential to your comfort and confidence while performing everyday tasks like eating, speaking, and smiling. At Douglas B. Weber, D.D.S., if you are missing one or more teeth, Lancaster, California dentist Dr. Douglas B. Weber may recommend a dental bridge or tooth bridge as an esthetic solution. This solution also keeps the empty space left by missing teeth from causing the surrounding healthy teeth to shift and move into the existing gap.
A bridge is a prosthesis (replacement part) that relies on support from healthy teeth surrounding the gap left by a missing tooth or teeth. The artificial replacement tooth is called a “pontic” after the French “pont” for bridge. The healthy adjacent teeth, called abutments, provide support on either side — just like a bridge spanning a canyon.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
There are two main types of bridges: fixed and removable. Recognizing the differences between the two will help you understand Dr. Weber’s recommendations and decide which will work best for you.
Fixed Bridge: Dr. Douglas Weber typically recommends a fixed bridge for patients who have lost one or all of their teeth but have not suffered significant bone loss. A fixed dental bridge is made up of two or more crowns that are cemented to the teeth on either side of the gap (the anchor teeth), with false teeth in between. The replacement teeth can be made out of gold, porcelain, or alloys. A fixed tooth bridge can only be removed by a dentist.
Removable Bridge: Dr. Weber will recommend a removable dental bridge when multiple teeth are missing and the integrity of the supporting jawbone has been severely compromised. A removable bridge consists of replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic support base that is connected with a metal framework. The bridge is then attached with metal clasps to existing teeth or implants. The plastic base restores the natural facial esthetics by providing support where the missing bone and tissues once were.
Benefits of a Dental Bridge
A dental bridge offers the following benefits:
- Prevents remaining teeth from moving out of place
- Allows you to eat, speak, and smile naturally
- Maintains proper bite alignment and even bite-force distribution
- Maintains the esthetic integrity of the shape
- Restores natural function, look, and beauty to your smile
Q. Do dental bridges ever need to be replaced?
A. A high-quality tooth bridge that is properly cared for can last for 20 or more years. If, however, it gets chipped or the supporting teeth begin to fail, it may need to be replaced. How often this happens depends entirely on the lifestyle of the individual with the bridge and how well it is taken care of.
Q. How much do dental bridges cost?
A. The cost of a dental bridge varies greatly depending on the type of bridge, number of false teeth, and type of materials used. They can range from hundreds of dollars to thousands, depending on your needs and wants. Considering their life span, the dental bridge is an extremely affordable and effective option for patients who have lost one or multiple teeth.