Fixed bridges are dental restorations that replace missing teeth by crowning the adjacent teeth to the space and attaching a replacement tooth. This allows a one-piece solution for those with missing teeth. Problem is the entire bridge is in trouble if any part develops a problem.
When a problem develops it’s usually a decayed or fractured anchor tooth. Bridges are often replaced by lengthening to include more “good” teeth. Over time more damage is often encountered because of the increased load placed on the anchor teeth by even more missing teeth, creating an even more severe problem than you started with. Sometimes a removable partial denture is a replacement. Partial Dentures also put extra load on those anchor teeth but add torquing forces as the removable partial moves under load, insertion and removal, which can cause the eventual damage or loss of those adjacent natural teeth.
Using implants and implant crowns to replace missing teeth has become much more commonplace and widely accepted. In many cases, implants are a better, long-term value than bridges. Bridges tie the fate of the entire bridge span together (3-5 or more teeth) where implants segregate the load and risk to just the missing teeth.
Dental insurance occasionally covers bridge work, often at 50% up to the annual maximum. Unfortunately, the cost of bridgework often exceeds the annual max. Implants as an alternative are covered similarly to bridgework, sometimes better, and sometimes less by different dental insurance providers.
Patients who come into Lakeside to talk about replacing a failing bridge or a failing tooth, already know they don’t want to “grind down” a perfectly good tooth to anchor a bridge into it. Intuitively, this intrusive option doesn’t seem like the best solution for them since keeping your natural teeth is always the best choice.
Implants are a good solution to revamp/repair a failing fixed dental bridge. Implants allow the former abutment (or anchor teeth) to carry their own load and the load of the missing teeth is carried by the implants. In the initial replacement of a missing tooth, an implant and implant crown can also be slightly less expensive than a fixed bridge, and many would argue a much better treatment.
Find The Right Option for You
The most important thing you can do to ensure you find the best treatment for your missing tooth or failing bridge work is to talk to the team at Lakeside about which options may be right for you. Dr. Robinson will carefully weigh all of the specific considerations of your situation to make the right recommendation for your needs. We will provide you with the right solution that will be as gentle as possible while providing years of continued use. Schedule a consultation with Michigan’s experts in implant dentistry today!