Solutions for a Missing Tooth

Photo of woman getting molars inspected during dentist visit by a dental hygienistWhen one of your teeth fall out, it can pose problems beyond those that are just cosmetic. If you are missing one or more teeth, you may notice a difference when chewing or speaking. Waiting to have a missing tooth fixed can cause further problems with your other teeth. Your remaining teeth can shift or tip without the support it had from that missing tooth.

One solution to this problem is to get a bridge. Bridges are similar to crowns but will “bridge” the gap present. Bridges are fixed and cannot be removed by the patient.

The 3 types of bridges:
  1. all porcelain (no metal)
  2. porcelain fused to metal alloys (porcelain on the outside, metal on the inside)
  3. metal only (if indicated)

Alternatives to bridges would be an implant and implant crown or removal of a partial denture.

Dental Bridge vs Implant

One of the main alternatives to bridge work is getting an implant. The main difference between a bridge and an implant is how they are secured in your mouth to fill the gap of a missing tooth. A bridge is suspended between two crowns. These crowns get cemented onto the natural teeth on either side of the missing tooth. With an implant, a false tooth is attached to a titanium post that has been surgically inserted into your jawbone. Bhargava Family Dentistry has many years of experience with implants. We can even restore any type of implant you already have.

When to Choose a Bridge vs an Implant?

The location of where the false tooth will be inserted is a big factor in determining whether a bridge or an implant procedure is the best option. A missing tooth in the back of the mouth that isn’t as visible may be ideal times for choosing a dental bridge. However, if you’re missing a tooth in the front of your mouth, an implant may be a better option to ensure the most natural look.

Bridges vs Implants: Treatment Cost & Time

The cost and duration of each treatment is also important to factor. A dental bridge costs less, at least initially, and can be usually in just a couple visits over the timespan of a few weeks. An implant is more costly and may require 3-6 months or more for the work to be completed due to the surgical nature of putting a post into the jawbone.

How long does a Dental Bridge Last vs an Implant?

While the cost upfront makes bridge work a more affordable option, over time you may find that an implant resulted in a lower cost. The reason for this is because of how long implants lasts compared to bridges. You can expect an implant to last you a lifetime, however a dental bridge typically lasts about 5-10 years.

Aftercare for Bridges & Implants

Caring and cleaning of an implant is easier than caring for a bridge. With an implant, you can expect to care and clean your teeth as usual. But with a dental bridge, where at least three of your teeth have been connected, you will face new challenges with brushing and flossing.

The absolute best thing you can do to help the longevity of implants or bridge work is to ensure you maintain proper oral hygiene on a consistent basis.

graphic image providing link to Crowns and Bridges after care instructions with photo of a lady smiling

Dental Bridge FAQ:

How long does it take to get a dental bridge?

Bridges are considered the method people choose when wanting a quick solution to a missing tooth. Here at Bhargava Family Dentistry, you can expect to have the bridge work completed in about a month, over 2 separate dental visits.

How long does a dental bridge last?

A bridge can last for as long as 10 years, although typically you can expect it will need to be changed every 5-7 years.

How long does it take to get used to a dental bridge?

Getting a bridge is a less invasive line of treatment than other missing tooth options like implants. Shortly after the final bridge procedure, once the anesthetic wears off, you should be able to eat normally, and the bridge should already feel comfortable in your mouth.

How do you clean a dental bridge?

You should continue your normal routine of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. However, flossing around the bridge will require a different tactic than usual, as three crowns are fused together. You will need to floss under the bridge, which can be accomplished by using a floss thread to get the floss under the connected teeth or by using a proxy brush.

Trust Wichita’s dental experts with your bridge work

Photo of Dr Bhargava and dental assistant examining teeth in their Wichita Dentist office, seen from the point of view of a patientOur team at Bhargava Family Dentistry is experienced in evaluating your dental needs as well as performing bridge work. Once you find yourself with a missing tooth, schedule an appointment at our Wichita office. We can often rush in patients who need emergency or immediate dental care. We will arrange to meet with you to ensure the right decision is made and any necessary procedure is scheduled as soon as possible.