Dr. Anthony Mobasser is an expert in dental bridges to replace your missing tooth or to redo your old bridge. During his 30 plus years in his practice, replacing thousands of missing teeth, that look great and function well in his Los Angeles-based cosmetic and reconstructive dental practice. A dental bridge is the gold standard to replace missing teeth (the Pontiacs). The permanent bridge is a fixed prosthesis as opposed to a removable prosthesis and it is used to replace one or more missing teeth.
Bridges can be placed on two natural teeth (the abutments), or they can be placed on dental implants, in some cases combination of natural teeth and implants can also be used. In order to have a bridge, the patient must have the adjacent teeth next to the missing tooth. Dr. Mobasser is considered an expert since he has placed over 7500 bridges during his practice.
When it comes to replacing missing teeth there are few options, which all must be considered. Options such as tooth implants or removable bridges are alternatives to having a fixed bridge. Nowadays porcelain bridges can be done with Zirconia, Lava, Emax, Silicone Disilicate, PFM, PFG.
Ask our Porcelain bridge expert Dr. Mobasser, which will be best for your mouth, to give you the best Aesthetics and Function. Each porcelain has different cosmetic properties, different strengths, and different wear on the opposing teeth, which can cause wearing down your natural opposing teeth.
So How Can I Benefit From Having A Dental Bridge?
Besides the aesthetic benefit, in regards to the total health aspect: whenever a tooth is lost, it is best to restore the missing tooth as soon as possible within one month of healing. If the time elapse is longer, the teeth next to the missing teeth will shift AND the opposing tooth can extrude down into the empty space. This domino effect causes interference on your bite, and due to a shift on the axial inclination of teeth, gum or Periodontal disease can start, however, none of these conditions reveal any discomfort to the patient, until it is in the advanced stage, and the host of many other problems occur. Usually, after extraction of teeth, It is highly advisable to even have a temporary bridge placed as soon as possible, within one or two weeks to stop shifting of teeth, and prevent bite damage, until the area of extraction heals, and the one is ready to replace the temporary bridge with the final permanent dental bridges.
Before and After Dental Bridge with Veneers
Fixed Bridge vs Dental Implant
If the adjacent teeth next to the missing tooth are virgin, meaning they are cavity-free, and there are not any large fillings on them, and you have sufficient bone (after checking the X-rays), a dental implant is a good choice. However, if the teeth next to the missing tooth already have a dental crown or a very large restoration that requires a crown anyway, or you want to avoid surgery, then the bridge will benefit your needs.
What Are The Pros and Cons of Dental Bridges?
The pros include, but not limited to the following:
- Time: It usually takes a week to get the permanent bridge done.
- Aesthetics: In the hands of an expert dentist, and Ceramist, the new bridge highly resembles your natural tooth structure, or if the patient desires a brighter color.
- No surgery is needed to replace missing teeth, no foreign object or Implant is necessary, and will not compromise the health of the individual, It is Biocompatible (since now Ceramic bridges are available).
- Prevention of Occlusal Disease or bite problems can be corrected via porcelain bridge, avoiding shifted teeth or bite interference, causing TMJ, or Loose, mobile teeth.
The Cons or disadvantages of a Dental Bridge are:
- The teeth holding the Bridge (The Abutments) must be reshaped and prepared all the way around, 360 degrees. Having said that, if the adjacent teeth next to the missing teeth already have dental crowns, then that is not a Disadvantage. By the same token, if the adjacent teeth have large leaking, unsatisfactory fillings, then that is also a favorable advantage to place a bridge since the adjacent teeth will be requiring Crowns anyway!
- Bridges also must be placed on teeth that are not compromised and have good bone Support (meaning the crown to root ratio ) is favorable, and there is not much bone loss.
- You will not be able to floss the bridge from the top of the teeth! Must use a floss threader to go from underneath as opposed to regular teeth. Meaning it may take additional time to clean underneath the sides of the teeth holding the bridge, and that is vital for the longevity of keeping the dental bridge.
- The preparation of the teeth holding the bridge, is of vital importance, since preparation is needed, the expertise of the dentist, not to over-prepare the teeth, and create parallelism and retention on the abutment teeth can bring success or failure! A dental bridge or crown is usually cemented in, therefore if a bridge comes out, usually it is because of lack of retention during preparation. Over preparation of teeth usually results in failure or possibly root canals.
- The Cost of a Dental bridge is usually more compared to a dental implant, or dental crown. Depending on how many teeth bridges are involved, or the location in the mouth, and the health of the existing teeth, and most importantly the expertise and the experience of the dentist.
What are the best types of Dental Bridges? Do I Have Options?
Usually, there are 4 types of bridges:
- Conventional Bridges: They require preparation on the anchoring teeth and covers fully the anchor teeth to hold the missing teeth, they are the gold standard of bridges and more predictable, compared to others. They can be fabricated with porcelain fused to metal or gold (PFM or PFG ), or with all-porcelain or Ceramics.
- Maryland Bridges: They are much more conservative than conventional bridges, very little tooth structure is removed from the anchoring teeth, they conserve tooth structure, no sensitivity or discomfort with that type of bridges, however, they can come out or dislodge. It works great as an interim bridge, between 3 to 5 years however per Dr. Mobasser, there are Maryland bridges that have stayed in more than 15 years, again expertise, the when and where in the mouth to use them, adds to longevity.
- Cantilever Bridges: These types of bridges can be of great help when there is no tooth adjacent to the missing tooth or teeth. It must be used judiciously, and the health of the abutment teeth holding the missing teeth must be favorable. Cantilever bridges are also used with dental implants if the dental implant is well osseointegrated and is long enough in the bone.
- Inlay Onlay Bridges; These are great services to patients in which the adjacent teeth have large fillings, and the patient does not want much tooth structure to be removed. Works well, bit analysis and lack of parafunctional habit (clenching and grinding) must be evaluated prior to choosing this conservative bridge.
- Ceramic bridge or all-porcelain bridge: It is utilized for short span restoration of missing teeth, such as one or 2 teeth, longer span missing teeth is usually not advisable to have ceramic or all-porcelain bridges. Currently, Zirconia or Lava bridges are mostly used, however some disilicate lithium bridges, (Emax bridge) are also used on a short span bridge.
How Can a Porcelain Bridge Fail, or have pain?
The correct treatment plan is vital to the longevity of the bridge, which depends on how many teeth are missing? The number of teeth holding the bridge. The health of those teeth? The level of the bone, and the length of the roots of the teeth holding the bridge, the bite (occlusion), and the material used to construct the bridge. All dental restorations require proper oral hygiene, and maintenance treatment by the treating dentist, to ensure lasting a long- time survival of the dental restoration and eliminating pain. Most failures or pain from your bridge are due to a heavy bite, parafunctional habits such as grinding, the wrong use of newly porcelain materials, such as Zirconia, and trauma from the heavy bite that can cause failure or fracture. Porcelain Bridges with a long span, (more than 4 teeth involved) using Zirconia, or Lithium Disilicate materials (Lava, or Emax) is usually not recommended, since it has not been tested and usually is not recommended by the manufacturers. Conventional bridges using gold or other metals as the substrate are recommended for long-span bridges which have been tested over time. The possibility of recurrent decay on the root of anchoring teeth exists if the patient does not use Bridge Threaders, to clean the plaque which can cause decay to the root of the anchoring tooth holding the bridge and can cause failure. Bridges can come out if the teeth are over-prepared by the doctor, or teeth are very short, to begin with, and they might need replacing.
Before and After Dental Implants
Synopsis – Dental implant bridge was used in combination with the single front crown, with pink customized artificial gum, to give the patient his dream smile. The combination of natural front tooth crown with front tooth implants bridge is one of the most challenging dental treatments for any cosmetic dentist, due to different gum heights and different porcelain material needed. He could not be happier!
What are the reasons a person cannot have a Fixed Bridge?
Some of the reasons a fixed bridge will not be recommended for a patient are the following:
- Lack of bone to support the missing tooth or teeth, if you do not have ample bone on your anchor teeth to support the missing tooth, you can lose those anchor teeth also!
- Also, if the bridge is a long-span bridge, missing many teeth, and even though the bone around the supporting teeth is good, you can lose the anchor teeth, or cause mobility once the porcelain bridge is constructed, due to your bite and occlusion.
- If the patient wishes to floss each individual tooth and does not want to use a bridge threader to clean underneath.
- If there is one missing tooth, and the teeth next to the missing tooth are healthy and no large filling on them, it is best to preserve the tooth structure and simply do an implant (implant can have their own contraindication also).
Are Cantilever Bridges worth considering?
The cantilever bridge is a type that the missing tooth is supported in one end, without being anchored to the adjacent tooth behind it. Cantilever bridges work in many instances, the most important factor is the health of adjacent teeth in front which is supporting the bridge. The amount of bone and long roots concurrent with the occlusion must be considered prior to having a cantilever bridge as one of the last options since the patient is not a candidate for an implant due to many reasons.
A cantilever bridge can also be an interim bridge treatment till the patient has an implant done! We usually evaluate if you are a candidate to receive this bridge treatment in case the missing tooth is on the upper back teeth, and due to proximity of sinus cavity, or other factors, the patient does not want to have a dental implant or surgical intervention!
The Root Canal and New Crown vs Implant or Bridge?
If you can salvage your tooth, it is always the best decision, even if you need to pay extra! If the prognosis of your tooth is good, meaning the dentist would do that to his own tooth first although not 100% (nothing lasts forever), always go with saving your tooth. If down the future you need to extract, then you can either have a bridge or implant-supported crown. A Porcelain Bridge is immediate vs Dental Implants which is surgical intervention, and time is involved.
Please be advised you need to see an expert knowledgeable dentist who has done a complete evaluation with clinical exam, bite analysis, and X-rays prior to advising you on the pros, cons, risks, and benefits.
Is a Bridge better than an Implant?
It depends! Yes and No. Generally speaking, if the teeth adjacent to missing teeth have already Crowns or large restorations, then a Bridge is preferred over tooth Implant, but if the adjacent teeth are virgin, meaning no fillings, or crowns on them then surgery for a dental implant is suggested.
Many people who want to avoid a foreign body, or surgical intervention, or in instances in which the bone is not sufficient to place a dental implant, will opt with Dental Bridge, which can work well.
Your doctor will give you the pros and cons and tell you what is possible and what options you have. We believe less is more, a more conservative approach is always the best.
Are Dental Bridges permanent?
The bridge is Lab Fabricated, sometimes with precious metals sometimes not, the Bridge is intended to last a very long time depending on how you take care of your teeth. A Dental Bridge cannot get decayed but your teeth holding the Dental Bridge can. Unfortunately, no man-made dentistry is as good as what the original creator gave us!
How long does a Dental Bridge Last?
The Bridge is intended to last a very long time, according to ADA about 7 to 10 years, however some Porcelain Bridges, Dr. Anthony Mobasser worked on, has lasted over 30 years, but like anything dental work, will last a long time if it is maintained by the dentist and proper oral hygiene is done.
How does a Dental Bridge Work?
A Dental Bridge is used to replace your missing tooth or teeth.
If you have a missing tooth in between 2 teeth, a Bridge will attach all 3 teeth together. The fake tooth in the middle that your missing is called a pontic. Precious metal and Porcelain is what the bridge is made of, so both teeth on either side of the missing tooth will have to be crowned as well. Dental bridges are lab fabricated and custom made, usually, it takes 2 visits, and will take a week to fabricate them. Depending on who you go to. The color of your dental bridge can match the surrounding teeth depending on the expertise of your dentist.