• dental bridges

GUIDE TO DENTAL BRIDGES: COST AND TYPES

The reason for a missing tooth is not often necessary. The one thing to consider, however, are the measures taken to fill up the spaces created by missing teeth. There are several ways you can fill up spaces or gaps created by missing teeth, and one of them is by the use of dental bridges.

In this guide, we will bring to you, comprehensive knowledge on all you need to know about dental bridges, what it entails, the various types, the pros and cons of each, and even some maintenance procedures.

You will find answers to some likely questions concerning dental bridges and other ways of replacing missing teeth.

Table Of Content

Introduction

What Are Dental Bridges?

Dental bridges are permanent, but fixed dental prosthesis is meant to bridge gaps between two or more teeth. When there is a gap in the mouth, as a result of tooth loss due to decay or accident, a dental bridge can be used to fill such gaps and make your smile complete again.

Dental bridges are equally an option for people who wish to treat hypodontia or congenitally missing teeth.

Dental bridges can be made with a variety of materials including porcelain, metal alloys and ceramic. Bridges made with metal alloys are very cheap — but it does not look like your natural teeth.

On the other hand, dental bridges made from porcelain or ceramic appears like your natural teeth, but they come at an expensive cost due to the lab work involved and the materials as well. There is another option that creates a balance between cost and appearance which is a combination of either ceramic or porcelain to a metal base —this may not be a good option, as the aesthetic appearance can be lost over time as it is not pure porcelain or ceramic. Before getting an appropriate dental bridge, you must first consider your budget and the position of the gap.

TYPES OF DENTAL BRIDGES

A dental bridge can be fitted in two ways;  fixing or by bonding. Even with these different methods of fitting, dental bridges require adjacent teeth as anchors for the prosthesis.

Fixed Bridge

This is the most common type of dental bridge that people use. This type of bridge provides a durable way of teeth replacement. For a fixed bridge, there is a prosthesis that is made up of a crown on either side and one or more pontics in the middle. The pontics refer to the artificial teeth. The bridge is secured by the neighbouring teeth and is where the hollow crowns fit over.

Procedure For Traditional Dental Bridge

Before fitting the crown, the teeth on either side of the mouth that is meant to serve as an anchor will be filed down from their initial size.

This is part of the dental procedure, and the teeth have to be strong enough to support the bridge, and also take the extra biting pressure. In some cases, there might be a need for root canal treatment to be performed on the anchor teeth before filing.

When the anchor teeth are ready, dental impressions will be taken and sent to the lab where it will be used to measure the bridge precisely. To protect the exposed teeth and gums, your dentist might provide you with a temporary bridge. When the bridge is ready, it will first be positioned in your mouth by the dentist to test how it feels — if you are satisfied with it, your dentist will proceed to fix it in with a strong dental cement.

The main limitation of this procedure is the fact that two healthy teeth end up sacrificed. If in the future, you decide to have an implant as a replacement to the dental bridge, the two teeth that were filed down will require crowns. This is because enamel removal is permanent and cannot be reversed. After the fixed bridge procedure, you will have to visit the dentist occasionally to improve the dental bridge. The easiest and most effective way of cleaning and flossing around a bridge is through the use of water flosser — with efficient maintenance, your dental bridge can last for a long time.

Front Teeth Bridge

Getting a dental bridge for front teeth requires careful deliberation. You and your dentist will discuss it properly, to come up with the most suitable type of front teeth bridge for you.

 This is because a dental bridge for front teeth may need two crowns on either side — because the biting pressure on the front teeth is higher than other teeth.

Bonded Bridge ( Maryland Bridge)

This type of bridge is recommended when there is only one tooth to be replaced. It is also called the Maryland bridge — it is bonded to the inner edges of the adjacent teeth with the help of its porcelain or metal wings on either side of it.

The main problem to this type of dental bridge is that it is not as durable as a fixed bridge. But on the right side, the adjacent teeth on either side are not affected or filed in any way.  With time, the adhesive that holds it in place can become weak or loose, and the bridge itself becomes loose and may even break off.

Cantilever Bridge

This type of bridge is quite similar to the traditional dental bridge. The difference is that, instead of using both adjacent teeth, only one can be used. It is especially helpful when there is only one natural tooth next to the point where a tooth is missing.

The cantilever bridge is attached through a crown on just one adjacent tooth. Although this means only one tooth will be drilled and filed into shape, it will not be as durable as the fixed bridge that uses adjacent teeth — this can lead to problems later on, as extra pressure will be placed on that one tooth — as a result of this, this type of bridge is not for locations that require a lot of biting or chewing pressure.

Although dental bridges are just meant to cover up spaces caused by missing tooth— it is only the crown that is being replaced. It ultimately means that the root of the tooth is absent, and over time, this can cause the jawbone to recede.  In future, it can also cause the face to sag, and if you decide to have implants— you will first have to undergo bone grafting.

At Cosmetic Dentistry Clinic on Harley Street, London. We have a team of experienced dentist ready to handle your dental issues. From consultations to bridges and implants, we are available for you. Place a call to us on 02071830755 to book an appointment.

Dental Bridge Vs  Dental Implants Vs Dentures

Dental implants, bridges and dentures are all ways of replacing missing teeth. Although they are different, each of them has their benefit and vices over others. To find out the one that suits you most, consult your dentist.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are the most natural-looking ways of replacing missing teeth. This is because they are placed directly in the jawbone. This makes them stronger because this is the point where the tooth root should be, and this provides support and anchorage. The implants are made from titanium, which is a solid material that is biocompatible with our bodies —it means there is no allergic reaction or rejection of the material by our bodies

The crown is held in place by an abutment that is fitted into the implant. Some of the benefits of a dental implant over dental bridges  include;

  • There is less chance of gum infection, disease and dental decay
  • It is easier to maintain, and oral hygiene is easier
  • The adjacent teeth are not affected
  • They can last a lifetime
  • They help to preserve the structure of the jawbone and shape of the face

The downside to this procedure is that it requires surgery, and is more expensive than getting dental bridges.

Furthermore, dental implants can take a long time — it is because there is a need for the implant to settle and fuse with the bone before the permanent abutment is attached to it. Some people may not be able to wait and may decide to get bridges instead.

However, if you consider the inconvenience that comes with dental bridges, together with the lifetime cost of replacements, dental implants may be worth it.

Implant-Supported Bridges

This is like a combination of bridges and implants— it is used for patients who have several teeth missing in a row, or for people who do not have healthy teeth that can be used as anchors.

In this procedure, an implant or implants are used in place of anchor teeth, and then the dental bridge of about two crowns are fitted over them. This procedure is cost-effective and uses fewer implants than dental implants.

Dentures

People refer to dentures as fake teeth, and they consist of one or more prosthetic teeth affixed to a frame, and is clipped around existing teeth — the frame is made of plastic and metal. Dentures are versatile and can be made to fit any number of healthy teeth. People who have lost all of their teeth can get a full set of dentures.

There are full dentures, and partial dentures, with the latter being more affordable. However, partial dentures are the least convenient as wearers must be cautious about the food they eat— it is because some food can damage or dislodge the dentures.

With partial dentures, you can clean your mouth conventionally although there are some instances where they will have to be removed for thorough cleaning.

Full dentures, on the other hand, are cleaned mostly by removal, after which they are left overnight in a cleaning solution.

Dentures will have to be replaced over time, as they tend to become loose after a few years, due to mouth changes over time.

COMPARING THE OPTIONS

  DENTAL BRIDGE DENTAL IMPLANTS + CROWN/BRIDGE PARTIAL DENTURE

Permanency

Fixed to adjacent teeth;  permanent

Implanted in the jawbone; set  in place

Removable

Longevity

5 -15 years, maybe more

20 years and possibly more

5 - 10 years or longer

Comfort

If well fitted will feel like natural teeth

Same as natural teeth

Over time, it can become loose and cause discomfort

Appearance

Looks like natural teeth (except metal)

Same as natural teeth

Can appear artificial, metal clasps can be visible

Function

Same as natural teeth

Same  as natural teeth

Must be removed to clean, avoid certain foods

Cost (private)

Medium

High

Low

Other comments

Requires removal of the enamel of adjacent teeth

Involves surgery; risk of infection is minimal

Can slip out of place, easy to lose or damage when removed

Even with the comparison above, the most appropriate way of getting the right solution is by consulting a dentist. Visit Cosmetic Dentistry Clinic on  Harley Street, London to get in touch our expert dentist — you must bear in mind; however, that teeth whitening cannot be used on any artificial tooth, as it will not affect whatsoever.

Cost Of Dental Bridges

As earlier mentioned, dental bridges cost are dependent on the material used for it, and the type of bridge you choose. It means that porcelain and ceramic materials are more expensive than metal alloys. You can get a good idea on the cost of dental bridges during a consultation with your dentist — before you are given the price, the health of your remaining teeth will be checked by the dentist, after which you will be given the final cost estimate.

Cost Of Bridges With A Private Dentist

Private practice can be more expensive. However, you have the privilege of choosing the material used. Below is a table that shows the different prices of the different types of bridges with a private dentist.

TYPE OF BRIDGE COST

Traditional fixed bridges

£250 - £800

Bonded bridge

£350 - £1,000

Implant-supported bridge(2 implants, 3 unit bridge

Ranges from £2900

From the above table, we can see that implant-supported bridges cost more than the rest.

Dental Bridge Cost And Insurance

Dental bridge cost can be about 50 - 70 % less in some countries, with better aftercare. However, dental bridge cost can be covered by dental insurance as well. To be sure, you will have to check with your provider and see if contribution can be made towards the dental cost.

Dental insurance guide explains more about options and the things to consider when you take out insurance. You must know that many policies have a waiting period, and this also is applicable before they can be claimed for restorative treatment like dental bridges— the waiting period can be about 3 - 6 months or even a year.

Possible Dental Bridge Problems

Typically some issues can arise with dental bridges as with any other dental procedure. Below are some of them:

  • Sensitivity Under Dental Bridge

A feeling of sensitivity around the gums and teeth after a few days of dental bridge implant is entirely reasonable— it is just your mouth getting used to the new teeth, especially if root canal treatment is involved as well.

However, if the sensitivity continues for days, maybe even weeks, then there may be a problem with the dental bridge placement. You can consult your dentist immediately the sensitivity exceeds a couple of days.

  • Dental Bridge Is Loose

If the dental bridge feels loose right after the fitting, then it has to be re-cemented by the dentist. Also, if you feel the budget moving around, do not hesitate to see your dentist. A loose dental bridge is not typical — it is only supposed to start feeling so after a long time, and not right away. 

Infection Under Dental Bridge

Contamination under the dental bridge can occur as a result of three situations

  1. Decay in the supporting or anchor tooth
  2. Poor oral hygiene
  3. Irritation of gums due to poorly fitted bridge

If you think, or you know that your dental bridge is infected, visit your dentist without hesitation.

Metal Appearing At Base Of Teeth

As discussed earlier, porcelain can be fused with metal and used as a material for the dental bridge. The effect is that the porcelain can wear away with time, and reveal metal at the gumline. This is not necessarily a problem, but it is not a pleasant sight, especially in the front teeth.

To avoid this, your dentist can advise you to go for an all-ceramic material. 

Food Caught Under Dental Bridge

Sadly, food can get stuck in awkward places in your dental bridge-like between the pontics and the gums. You should be very careful when cleaning around the bridges.

Leaving the food stuck in such areas can be uncomfortable, and in time, they begin to smell and cause bacteria-build-up. Use a water flosser to clean up— it is faster and more efficient.

Dental  Bridge Feels Tight

The tight feeling may come from the fact that the dental bridge is new and will require you getting used to it. However, if they do not settle or loosen up after about a week, consult your dentist.

Replacing A Missing Tooth: Is It Necessary?

There are several options one can choose to replace a missing tooth. However, one cannot help but ask if it is essential?

Some people do not mind living with a missing tooth, as long as it is in a hidden area. However, here are some reasons why you should get your missing tooth replaced.

  • Eating with a missing tooth can be a problem
  • There is a higher risk of gum disease
  • Extra pressure will be placed on surrounding teeth
  • Speech may be affected
  • It can cause the jawbone to deteriorate over time and cause facial muscles to sag

FAQS

Getting A Dental Bridge: Is It Painful?

A local anaesthetic will be used during the procedure itself. There may be a feeling of little discomfort during the process and temporary pain and sensitivity afterwards.

Can Dental Bridges Be Removed?

A dental bridge is permanent and cannot be removed, unlike dentures. However, if the bridge does not fit well, the dentist will have to re-cement it.

What If I Swallow My Dental Bridge?

The dental bridge can become dislodged when you are eating or sleeping, and you may end up swallowing it. When this happens, try not to panic and inform your dentist immediately. You can pass it out eventually after some days, however, if after 2 - 3 days pass you do not pass it out, consult your dentist.

How Long Until A Dental Bridge Settles?

A new dental bridge takes days or weeks after implant before it settles. During this time, you will feel sensitivity and pain. If the feeling does not pass after some days, see your dentist

How Long Does A Dental Bridge Last?

A dental bridge can last for 10 - 15 years, with proper maintenance and oral hygiene. Afterwards, the materials may begin to deteriorate, and adjacent teeth are placed at risk of dental decay. During check-ups, your dentist can check your bridges and inform you when they need to be replaced.

Conclusion

Dental bridges and other teeth replacement procedures are to bridge the gaps in missing teeth. Contact Cosmetic Dentistry Clinic on Harley Street, London or call us on 02071830755 to book an appointment.