What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a prosthetic tooth that’s used to fill the gap left by a missing tooth. It is made up of a false tooth permanently fixed to the real tooth (or teeth) next to it. Bridges serve both functional and aesthetic purposes. Filling in a tooth gap is better for your jaw and for the teeth around the gap. A bridge helps fight food build-up in the gap. It also gives your opposite tooth something to chew against, which is important for blood circulation in your roots and gums. Below is some basic information about bridges before you ask your dentist if a dental bridge is the right option for you.
How Long Will a Dental Bridge Last?
The life of a dental bridge can vary widely. The most common answer is five to fifteen years. This wide range depends a lot on how rigorous you are with oral hygiene. Since the health of your dental bridge partially depends on the health of the teeth next to it, you want to keep brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist regularly.
You also want to avoid chewing hard foods on your dental bridge. It is possible to damage it by crunching down on a hard peanut or cherry pit. Also, if you don’t get all the food out from under and around the bridge with brushing and flossing, that build-up can put pressure on the bridge from angles it wasn’t designed to withstand.
How Much does a Dental Bridge Cost?
The cost of a dental bridge comes down to how many teeth are being replaced. The average cost is $500 to $1200 per tooth. If you lost two teeth, this would be twice the price of only replacing one. There are other factors that can determine how much your bridge will cost. The material that you choose to make it out of is one such factor. It also depends on how much shaping your neighboring teeth will need to be able to hold the bridge. At least one tooth, and sometimes two, will need to be shaved and shaped so it can attach to the bridge itself.
Alternatives to a Dental Bridge
If you want to fill a gap in your teeth, you do have options. While dental bridges are the most common, and typically cheapest option, dental implants can also work. A dental implant is a titanium screw that is surgically implanted into your jaw. It is then finished with a cap, so it looks like your other teeth. It is typically more expensive but is expected to last a lifetime. It’s not practical if you want to replace more than one tooth in a location, however. A bridge is a cheaper and easier option for spanning a gap made up of several missing teeth.
A dental bridge repairs the look and function of your mouth. Though it costs a fair amount of money, it does you a world of good. With proper care you could have upwards of fifteen years with a dental bridge. Talk to your dentist to find out if a dental bridge is right for you.
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