When a tooth or teeth are missing and the gap is located between two strong teeth; a fixed bridge may be used to fill the gap. In this case, a false tooth, known as a pontic, is fused between two porcelain crowns. The crowns which hold the pontic in place are placed over your teeth on either side of the missing gap, filling the gaps with artificial teeth.
The placement of a fixed dental bridge usually occurs when a tooth is knocked out during an accident, or when teeth are missing due to congenital deformities. If a tooth must be pulled for medical or dental reasons, Dr. Zadeh must first confirm that whatever affected the pulled tooth did not have an impact on the surrounding teeth.
What Is The Process of Getting a Bridge?
Your initial examination will include a full review of your mouth and your oral health. During this exam, Dr. Zadeh will screen you for oral cancer, gum disease (gingivitis/peridontitis), and look for any issues that need to be addressed before he can craft your permanent bridge. This will ensure your appliance will have a healthy foundation of use for years to come.
He will also take X-Rays and even a CT-Scan to make sure your bone and gums are healthy enough to comfortably support a bridge, especially if you have a large number of missing teeth or need implants for a fixed bridge. If you already have a smaller bridge or dentures, Dr. Zadeh can also work to help convert your existing bridge or dentures into a fixed bridge with implants.
To get you ready for your bridge, Dr. Zadeh will take an impression of your teeth and determine if any tooth refinement and crowns are necessary for your bridge to be installed safely and comfortably. He will then set up an appointment for your prep-work and temporary placement setting. Your impressions will be sent through our computer and our CEREC machine will begin crafting a bridge that is perfectly fitted and unique as you are. When your bridge is ready, you will return to have it placed. Afterwards, you can leave and begin to enjoy your brand new teeth!
You will likely be asked to come back to make sure your bridge and, if applicable, implants, are being well tolerated. Given that bridges are generally well-tolerated by a vast majority of patients, you will likely only need to return for your routine checkups.
For most patients, their regular hygiene regimen is more than enough to keep their bridge in good condition. With routine checkups and proper maintenance, your bridge can last you upwards of 15 years.
How Much Do Fixed Bridges Cost?
A fixed bridge has a highly variable cost, depending on the number of teeth being replaced, and any need to make your mouth suitable for making a bridge viable. An arch (length of teeth on either side of your mouth) can cost a few thousand dollars, but often, this is seen as medically necessary and a large portion may be covered by your dental or medical insurance.
If you need an implant or other permanent fixture placed to make a bridge possible, you can likely add another $1,000 to $1,500 to your costs, but we also offer generous financing offers to make a bridge both affordable and easy to pay off. While upfront costs may seem high, a well maintained bridge can last you from decades up to the rest of your life, lowering your overall costs to very manageable increments. Concerns about cost should never be a factor in your decision on whether or not to get a bridge.
Am I A Good Candidate For A Fixed Bridge?
Several types of instances may occur in which fixed dental bridges are a good option for a missing tooth or teeth:
If you have an older bridge: prosthetics that were put in place several years ago may have been made out of metal. When this happens, dark edges on the metal bridge may eventually begin to show. Dr. Zadeh uses a unique method to augment the natural bone and restore normal contours of the missing tooth area. He then places a metal-free cosmetic bridge to replace the missing tooth, creating a wholly natural look that surpasses previous work in appearance, quality, and durability. So, if you previously had any sort of bridgework, you are likely ideal for a fixed bridge.
For young patients, inlay bridges will be designed to have minimal impact on adjacent teeth, as the patient still has many years of high-impact tooth use ahead of them. In this case, Dr. Zadeh constructs specially-designed metal-free inlay dental bridges, ensuring the stability of the surrounding teeth. If you have any teeth that are missing due to accidents or congenital defects, bridges will restore functionality and greatly improve your appearance.
For older patients or those missing a large number of teeth with an otherwise healthy mouth; the extent of your missing or damaged teeth may make implants cost-prohibitive. A well constructed arch bridge will actually perform the same function as an entire set of replacement teeth without the cost of implants.
Many patients who are not be candidates for an implant for a myriad of factors may otherwise be an ideal candidate for a fixed bridge.
Patients who may have previously had dentures can also have their bridge fixed to their jaw to reduce instances of loss or the appliance coming loose.
What Are Advantages of A Fixed Bridge?
A bridge does much more than just replace missing teeth. Your bridge will prevent your teeth from shifting, causing a loss of pressure in the mouth, tooth loosening, and further potential tooth loss. Bridges preserve a youthful appearance as well, as patients with large numbers of missing teeth will find they will get a sunken or aged appearance over time. Fixed dental bridges can also help prevent bone loss by protecting the jaw bone and creating the necessary pressures to prevent bone atrophy. This is an excellent option because if you want to opt for an implant in the future, that becomes feasible without the need for bone grafts and other extensive reconstructive oral surgery.
Another advantage of a fixed bridge, is that unlike dentures, they are attached and fixed into your mouth. There is no risk of losing your bridge outside of it failing or accidental damage which knocks the bridge loose. They also provide a wholly natural look and you can comfortably eat and speak.
You can view before-and-after photos of fixed dental bridges in our smile gallery.
Dr. Zadeh and his staff will be happy to discuss fixed dental bridges with you. Please call for a consultation today.