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To bridge or not to bridge
April 1, 2011 7:22 AM   Subscribe

what is having a dental bridge like?

I have to either get a dental bridge or a inplant. My second to last molar was extracted ~ 2yrs ago with the intent to have an implant done. Problem is before I was able to make the changes on my bottom teeth, I ran out of money. So my top teeth look great, but my bottom teeth are not so nice.

Anyway, yesterday I was told my options were a dental bridge or "maybe" a implant. The Dentist said "maybe" because apparently there would only be room for an 8mm stud in my jaw bone and normally he said they like to have 16mm.

Any insight into cost and care of a dental bridge would be of great benefit to me. Also, are there any differences in the dental bridges of today vs. the past?

As I understand it you have to clean "under" it constantly. To me that seems like a nightmare.
posted by jseven to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
To clean under it, you get those floss threaders, and simply floss under it.

My bridge though, is so tight to my gums that I can't get a threader under it. I told my dentist this, and he tried and tried and couldnt do it either. So he figured if we can't even get that under there, I probably won't get much food and stuff under their either.

If you already floss, it probably won't add much to your routine.

I got mine 15 years ago when I was 13, so I can't comment on cost on new tech.
posted by utsutsu at 7:32 AM on April 1, 2011


I had an extraction between two healthy teeth. I believe it was a huge mistake to allow the dentist to ruin two perfectly healthy teeth by filing them down in order to glue a bridge over the gap. I have since (this was two decades ago so take the long view) had problems develop in the two otherwise perfectly healthy teeth that have earned subsequent dentists busloads of money. I suggest getting a second opinion from someone who isn't going to do the work (take out the financial benefit and see if they think you need a bridge).
posted by headnsouth at 7:34 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The cleaning underneath is not a big deal - - there is a little plastic loop that my dentist gave me which threads floss underneath the bridge - - ten seconds and you're done. As to frequency, I probably don't do it often enough, but twice a week seems to keep mine clean. Otherwise, I don't even remember I have a bridge, it's just another forgotten miracle of modern dentistry.
posted by fairmettle at 7:36 AM on April 1, 2011


I've had a bridge for 4 years. I'd had a gap there for fifteen years and when I hooked up with my dentist in Mexico for some crowns he said: "You need a bridge, too." 3 crowns and a bridge, $900. I don't even know it's there. I have one of those water squirty things that I use every couple days to flush out all my teeth, and it works just fine.
posted by Floydd at 8:17 AM on April 1, 2011


The Dentist said "maybe" because apparently there would only be room for an 8mm stud in my jaw bone and normally he said they like to have 16mm.

Can you get a second opinion on this? I'm going through this exact situation, with a molar, and the oral surgeon did a bone graft to bulk up the jaw.
posted by jayder at 8:53 AM on April 1, 2011


For all those using threaders - I like the ones that are precut floss with a stiff end so it's a built-in threader.
Glide brand
Oral-B brand
posted by CathyG at 8:59 AM on April 1, 2011


I have two bridges that did not require filing the surrounding, healthy teeth (something like this, but I'm not sure what exactly). It's so not a big deal.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 9:03 AM on April 1, 2011


I'm in a similar spot to you. I had teeth yanked out and now have blanks where my teeth used to be. Now I don't have the money for implants or a bridge. My mom warns me that I should get it taken care of because over the years, my teeth will float and fill in the gap. But I don't know if I believe her.
posted by indigo4963 at 9:09 AM on April 1, 2011


I've had a Maryland bridge for over 20 years with no problems other than it coming loose once when a dental assistant was taking impressions. I think I bought those floss threaders maybe once; they were totally unnecessary as I'm able to get floss through the bridge just fine without them. It doesn't require any special care at all.

If I had to do it again, I would still opt for a bridge instead of an implant. Even though implants have become pretty routine, it's still surgery. Not to mention expensive and nearly never covered by insurance.
posted by chez shoes at 9:37 AM on April 1, 2011


I've had mine for years and it doesn't feel like anything unusual or not part of me. And I'm a fan of a sonicare/waterpik cleaning as opposed to flossing under a bridge.
posted by thinkpiece at 10:23 AM on April 1, 2011


I'm in a similar spot to you. I had teeth yanked out and now have blanks where my teeth used to be. Now I don't have the money for implants or a bridge. My mom warns me that I should get it taken care of because over the years, my teeth will float and fill in the gap. But I don't know if I believe her.

indigo4963: Believe her. Oh God, believe her. I "never had money" for a bridge or implant (although with some dedicated savings, that could have changed), and I'm now looking at (potentially) some kind of bracing and an implant before I can get the night guard I need.

Make up a 2 year plan or a 5 year plan to get the money you need, and look into financing if necessary -- your teeth won't move too much in that time -- but make up a saving plan and get it done.
posted by maudlin at 10:27 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have two bridges, a Maryland bridge and a conventional bridge. I used to have 2 Maryland bridges but the metal on one of the bridges developed a hairline crack which led to a cavity, which led to a root canal, which led to a new conventional bridge.

I had the original bridges put in over 20 years ago, and until the crack, had never had any trouble with them.
posted by Eddie Mars at 10:38 AM on April 1, 2011


I got a bridge a few years ago to fill a gap caused by evil tooth #19. The tooth next door had already had a root canal and the crown was done poorly so a bridge vs. a much more expensive and not covered at ALL by dental insurance implant was a no-brainer. I waited a year between having the tooth pulled and getting the bridge, mostly because of issues I was having with my dentist and having to find a new one, etc., but I don't really have problems with the bridge now. I notice that I tend to do the vast majority of my chewing on the other side of my mouth and so I try to force myself to chew on top of the bridge, but it's uncomfortable.

A couple weeks ago I noticed a lot of bleeding/foul smell from the bridge and learned a good lesson: Don't avoid flossing under there. I took care of the issue then by going out and buying a WaterPik and some peroxide mouthwash; the bleeding stopped and the smell hasn't come back. I mean, you don't have to be ridiculous about it, flossing once a day would be fine, unless you got something stuck--just like your natural teeth.

They SAY an implant is better, since you won't have the minor bone loss that sometimes comes with having a tooth extracted, but if you don't have room for it (8 mm vs 16 mm), know that a bridge will be fine. I personally would rather avoid complications from an implant that was placed with reduced confidence.

Oh as for cost, my bridge hasn't cost me any extra to maintain since I got it (aside from above mentioned WaterPik purchase), and my insurance copay was equal to the amount I would have paid had I gotten three full crowns (~$1200).
posted by eldiem at 10:46 AM on April 1, 2011


re: the teeth migrating... yeah that will definitely happen... not just the neighbour teeth, but the ones above / below the gap as well.
posted by utsutsu at 12:58 PM on April 1, 2011


A note to indigo4963. I had a similar problem. I lost 2 lower front teeth. Got a 4-tooth bridge. My regular dentist wanted $4,800. I went to a University Dental School and the cost was $1,800. Still a lot of money but well worth it considering my snaggletooth look. Cleaning underneath the bridge is not a problem. I use Oral-B SuperFloss. I also find that my water pik can flush beneath the bridge.
posted by JayRwv at 6:01 PM on April 1, 2011


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