Dental Procedure Pain: Get the Facts

Choosing a Dental Bridge? Let These 3 Questions Guide Your Selection

That long-dreaded moment has finally arrived—the loss of one or more teeth due to an accident, disease, or surgically-necessary extraction. If looking into a mirror or smiling in public causes you no end of embarrassment, or if eating has become a struggle instead of a pleasure, it's time to look at filling that gap in your mouth. Dental bridges have proven a popular and successful technique for doing just that. But before you leap into the decision to enlist dental bridge services in your area, answer the following three questions to help you make the perfect tooth replacement choice for your needs.

1. How Many Teeth Have You Lost & from Where?

A typical bridge consists of a single artificial tooth attached to permanent crowns, which are fitted to the surrounding teeth. If you're missing just one tooth, a bridge can cover that loss easily and effectively, giving you an additional chewing surface and allowing you to smile with confidence. You can even have a multi-tooth bridge implanted into your jaw to cover a gap of several teeth. But if you're missing a tooth here and a tooth there in a random pattern, you'll find it easier and more cost-effective to choose a partial denture as opposed to multiple bridges. A partial denture can be made with gaps to accommodate your remaining teeth while providing the artificial teeth you need, exactly where you need them, via a single appliance.

What do you do if you're missing a tooth in an area that lacks two strong surrounding teeth? You don't necessarily have to support a bridge with two crowns. you can opt for a cantilever bridge in which the artificial tooth is attached to one only crown. If a rearmost molar has gone missing, you might even find that you don't need to replace it at all.

2. How Much Pressure Do the Surrounding Teeth Need to Take?

Some kinds of dental bridges are tougher on your natural teeth than others. For instance, do you hesitate to have two front teeth prepared and crowned simply to support a bridge? You can avoid this form of controlled damage by opting for a Maryland bridge instead of the traditional bridge structure. In a Maryland bridge, the false tooth is bonded to tabs that span the rear surfaces of the surrounding teeth. But this arrangement isn't strong enough to support a false molar. The molars that grind your food must withstand stronger forces than your front teeth, which are usually engaged only in biting. Choose a traditional bridge for this region of your mouth.

3. How Much Money Can You Invest?

The gold standard for permanent bridges currently takes the form of implants. You may have thought of a dental implant as a permanent replacement for a single tooth -- but you can actually support an entire bridge, or even a partial denture, on two or more implants. The main reason people choose traditional bridges over implant-based bridges is the cost factor. An implant-supported bridge can easily cost at least twice as much as an ordinary, crown-supported bridge. To make matters more challenging, implants are rarely covered by insurance, unlike standard bridges.

If you look at the long-term financial picture, you start to see the inherent value in implant-based bridges. These structures typically last well over 15 years. By contrast, traditional bridges may last only 5 to 7 years before they need to be replaced. in the end, you'll have to choose between immediate affordability and long-term cost-effectiveness.

Ask for advice from services like Henderson Family Dentistry to determine what kind of dental bridge makes the most sense for your condition, functional needs, and budget. Whichever kind you choose, you'll have something to smile about!