Dental bridge. Is it right for you?
If you are missing a single or two teeth right next to each other then a dental bridge may be a good option for you. With the advent of implants the number of bridges being done has decreased but there are still many times when a bridge will be the best choice for your mouth.
“What is a dental bridge?”
A bridge, also known as a fixed partial denture, is a dental restoration used to replace one or more missing teeth by joining permanently to adjacent teeth. A bridge is fabricated by reducing the teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth by .5-2mm, depending on side or top of tooth and what material is going to be used to make the bridge. The materials that can be used for bridges include gold, porcelain fused to metal, or in the correct situation porcelain alone.
Dental bridge procedure or dental bridge steps
This is typically a 2-3 visit procedure. The first visit lasts about 1-2 hours. The area will likely be numbed and the teeth next to the missing tooth will be reduced with a dental bur by .5-2mm. An impression will be made of the area to be sent to a dental lab to make the dental bridge. A temporary plastic version of the dental bridge will be fabricated and you will wear that for several weeks. The second visit will be to either try in part of the dental bridge or you will get the bridge. This visit is usually about 1/2 hour. If you need a third visit it will be for about 1/2 hour.
What is the cost of a dental bridge?
The fee to complete a 3 tooth dental bridge (like the one in the diagram above) is around $4000 in my office. Things that can add to the cost of a dental bridge are the teeth next to the empty space needing additional work. Typically those extra things are a build up or a root canal. Typically we do not know if these will be needed or not until the process has already started. A build up cost about $300 per tooth and a root canal runs $800-1300 depending on the tooth. We usually quote the build up fee with the dental bridge fee but do not quote the root canal fee. The reason for that is that the build up is somewhat common (maybe a 1/3 of the teeth), but the root canal is fairly rare. We recommend people use this fee estimator site that will give you the average fee of a dental code for your zip code. The codes you will want to look up for a dental bridge are……..
How to determine dental bridge cost using above link and dental codes. The first 2 are required
- D6752 is the part of the bridge that attaches to a tooth. You usually need two of these
- D6242 is the part of the bridge that is spanning the missing space.
- If needed – D2950 is the build up for a tooth that is badly destroyed from decay or breaking
- If needed – D3310 D3320 D3330 are the three main root canal codes used for different teeth in the mouth
Dental bridge vs dental implant
I have an entire blog post on comparing these two but patient age, amount of bone, and condition of the teeth next to the space are three biggest factors we look at. Some people decide that they want a bridge over an implant (often this is after an implant has failed on them or someone they know). This is the case of a failed dental implant.
Dental bridge vs partial denture
If you are only missing one tooth then a dental bridge is probably a better option than a partial denture for you. If you have multiple missing teeth or have multiple teeth that are about to be gone then a partial denture may make more sense. A partial denture is often a great choice for older individuals that are starting to get more decay due to their saliva drying up and medications that may be drying their mouth out. They are also cheaper, especially when treating multiple missing areas.