Dental Bridges in Long Island
A dental bridge is a fixed restoration that replaces missing teeth. They look like multiple dental crowns bonded side by side. But only the end ones are functional, because the pontics (false crowns) between them span over the area where teeth are missing.
Unlike a removable partial denture or flipper, bridges are securely anchored on top of supporting teeth or a pair of dental implants, keeping them firmly in place all day long. Like a crown, they’re permanently bonded to the tooth/implant underneath.
“Why Do I Need a Bridge?”
Bridges fill in the space that’s left behind after a tooth has fallen out or been extracted. While there’s always an option of leaving this gap alone, the extra room will cause adjacent and opposing teeth to start drifting out of place, creating an alignment issue. Bridges maintain proper tooth spacing of the teeth throughout the entire mouth.
Additionally, bridges serve an aesthetic purpose. The embarrassment and self-consciousness associated with missing teeth can be one that make our Long Island patients feel uncomfortable around friends and family. Bridges are a straightforward option for replacing missing teeth, as they’re designed to blend in with your smile’s overall appearance.
And most importantly, bridges maintain natural function of your bite. When it comes to enjoying your meals or being able to chew food effectively, bridges are just as durable as a custom crown. When you’re chewing with a bridge, it’s almost as if you never had a missing tooth to begin with.
Who is an Ideal Candidate for Bridgework?
There are a few things that need to be kept in mind before getting a dental bridge. Primarily, there will need to be healthy enough teeth to support the fixed restoration. The tooth on either side of the open gap must be healthy, stable, and free of disease. If one tooth fails, the entire bridge will follow.
Additionally, the bridge cannot be too long, as it places excessive pressure on the supporting teeth. A very large gap is best restored with dental implant supported bridges or a removable partial. Otherwise it could lead to too much pressure on the overall restoration, causing it to break or fail.
For an implant supported bridge, at least two implants will be needed (one at either end.) Because implants are stronger than natural teeth, they can support a bridge that covers the span of 3-4 missing teeth, while tooth-supported bridges may only span the gap of 1-2 missing teeth.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
Your new bridge will require some extra care to keep it secure. Otherwise, the supporting teeth or implants can be susceptible to infection (resulting in failure of the overall restoration.) Thus, it’s essential to brush and floss around the supporting teeth/implants and bridge on a daily basis.
To clean under the bridge and against the supporting teeth, use a floss threader or tufted floss that is easier to slip underneath between the bridge and gum tissue. Or, invest in a water flosser to use a steady stream of water to clean these areas instead of using traditional floss.
It’s possible for cavities to develop around the edges of the supporting teeth, so daily home care is extremely important. Continue to brush twice a day, floss daily, and see our dentists regularly for checkups. Read here about the benefits and risks of dental bridges.
Types of Bridges
The most common types of dental bridges are traditional tooth supported and dental implant supported. Each of these appears as multiple crowns fused side by side, with the end crowns affixed over the tooth/implant and the pontic crowns suspended between.
A cantilever bridge is a modified design that is used when there isn’t a healthy, supporting tooth on either side of the space. Rather, only one supporting tooth is covered and a pontic crown extends off the side. Cantilever bridges must be assessed very carefully, giving extra consideration to the weight that will be exerted on the area where the tooth is missing.
Maryland bridges are another less-common type of dental bridge. They are often used in situations involving growing children, accidents/trauma, older patients, or someone with extensive oral health needs. With a Maryland bridge, a small metal “wing” or “arm” extends off either side of a porcelain crown, and the wings are cemented onto the backs of the teeth adjacent to the open space. The crown is then suspended in place, without having to completely cover the teeth next to it (making it a less invasive restorative option.)
What to Expect During Bridge Treatment
Getting a dental bridge at our Long Island multi-specialty practice usually involves two appointments. During the first, we’ll prep the supporting teeth and take an impression. The models are sent to our lab, where a new restoration is hand designed to match and blend in with your smile. Even the exact color of the porcelain involved is specified to meet our standards.
About two weeks later you’ll return to our Suffolk County practice to have the permanent bridge bonded into place. If you need a temporary prosthesis to wear for aesthetic purposes between the two visits, we can arrange to have one made.
Cost of Dental Bridges
How much does a dental bridge cost in Long Island? There are several factors to consider, including:
• How many teeth are missing
• If your bridge is supported by teeth or dental implants
• Additional treatments needed (such as implant placement)
• The type of bridge you’re getting
• Materials used
During your consultation, we’ll get a breakdown of your insurance benefits so that we can provide you with a detailed estimate of your total bridge costs. Most insurance plans cover a portion of bridge treatment. Flexible financing plans are also available, so that you can budget any remaining balances on a month to month basis.
Investing in a bridge helps preserve your overall bite alignment and self-confidence. The embarrassment caused by a missing tooth or teeth drifting out of place can be a costly one. Schedule a consultation at Sachem Dental Group in Long Island today to find out how we can help. We’ve been serving Suffolk County for over 35 years!