Aug
2008

Dental Bridge Basics

Description of Procedure:

A dental bridge (or pontic) is a custom-made false tooth or teeth, that is permanently placed between two healthy teeth, filling in the area left by a missing tooth or teeth. The bridge is held in place by porcelain crowns placed on the healthy teeth on each side of space to be filled.

A bridge created by a cosmetic dentist is completely metal-free. As a result, the bridge absorbs light, creating a natural looking smile. (Bridges made of porcelain fused to metal actually reflect light, creating an "unnatural" look for the tooth or teeth.)

Bridges reduce the risk of gum disease, limit the shifting of remaining teeth, help correct some bite problems and help improve speech.

How It's Done

The dentist will first administer an anesthetic to numb the area. Then, a minimal amount of tooth structure will be removed from the teeth on either side of the space to be filled by the new tooth or teeth. This material is removed to provide the needed space for the new crowns.

An impression of the area will be made. This impression will be sent to a dental laboratory, serving as a model from which the bridge will be created.

The patient will then be fitted with a temporary bridge. At the next visit, when the permanent bridge is ready, the temporary bridge will be removed. The new bridge will be fitted and adjusted for perfect fit and comfort. The new bridge will then be bonded to the teeth.

Technology:

No advanced technology is necessary to create a bridge.

Recovery Expectations:

Both the preparation and placement of the temporary bridge as well as the bonding of the permanent bridge may cause some minor tenderness in the area. Ibuprofen can reduce the symptoms.

Complications:

There are no known complications associated with the use of a bridge.

Am I a Candidate:

If you have a missing tooth or teeth, you are a candidate for a dental bridge.

Cost:

The cost of a bridge depends on the number of units involved. Typically there is a fee per tooth, including the anchoring teeth on each side. For example, if a patient needed a three unit bridge (one missing tooth, two anchoring teeth), and the cost per tooth was $1,000, then the bridge cost would be $3,000. The cost per tooth depends on the lab fees, skill, training and location of the dentist.

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