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Understanding Single Tooth Bridges (and When It’s the Right Choice for You)

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Tooth loss is quite prevalent, and although most people associate the loss with aesthetic change, there is far more to tooth loss. The health of your mouth and body is compromised with each missing tooth. 

Delaying replacing a missing tooth increases the risk of further tooth loss and may cause other health problems. Tooth loss can lead to several health issues, such as bone loss and an increased risk for health issues, which can make your teeth crooked. 

There are various tooth replacement options today, thankfully, and one of the most common ones is dental bridges. A dental bridge is a “false” tooth that can last up to seven years if properly taken care of. 

There are three primary types of dental bridges: traditional bridges, Maryland resin-bonded (also known as Maryland bridges), or cantilevers. A cantilever dental bridge is also known as a single tooth bridge, and this guide will discuss single tooth bridges in detail. 

What Is a Single Tooth Bridge?

Cantilevers are dental bridges used when there is just one healthy tooth on either side of the gap to anchor the pontic (an artificial tooth on a dental bridge) and keep the bridge in place. The pontic of a cantilever bridge is positioned outside of the adjacent teeth. A single-tooth bridge placement must be meticulously planned to limit the possibility of weakening the adjacent teeth.

When to Use Single Tooth Bridges 

A cantilever bridge may be the best option if you only have one healthy tooth on either side of the gap or there aren’t enough healthy teeth on either side to act as abutments. The dentist will place the pontic in the space and secure it to the adjacent tooth or teeth that are still healthy. Cantilever bridges secured to an implant have a high likelihood of staying in place.

Benefits of Single Tooth Bridges 

Your dentist will help you understand the benefits of single tooth implants, which include: 

  • They fill the space along your gum line left by your missing tooth
  • They cost less than traditional dental bridges 
  • You will not need two abutments for installation 
  • The placement procedure takes less time
  • Cantilever bridges look natural

Cantilever bridges are a good option for tooth replacement for most people. 

Drawbacks of Cantilever Bridges

Single tooth bridges are an excellent option for tooth replacement, but they do have a few drawbacks. These include: 

  • They are not for everyone: The patient must have healthy oral tissue to use single tooth bridges 
  • They could fail: Cantilever bridges last for quite a long time, but they could still fail, especially if they’re not attached well 
  • They could get damaged: Since they’re only anchored to one side of the teeth, there is a higher risk of cracking than traditional bridges. 

Compare the pros and cons to help you make the best choice for yourself. Your dentist can also offer expert advice to help you make a more informed decision. 

How Much Does Single Tooth Bridge Cost?

A cantilever dental bridge will generally cost between $2,000 and $3,000. The price can vary depending on the materials used to make the bridge and the difficulty of the installation.

The cost of dental bridges is frequently covered by dental insurance, so you may not be liable for the entire expense if you’re insured. Consult your dentist if you do not have dental insurance or are still concerned about the cost.

Installation Procedure 

The procedure will require you to visit the dentist more than once. During the first visit, the dentist may: 

  • Take the impressions for the dental bridge
  • Prepare the abutment – this step may involve removing some enamel and dentin from your tooth so the device can be placed 
  • Take the impressions for the temporary device
  • Place a temporary crown or bridge while the permanent piece is prepared 

Expect the following in the next visit: 

  • The dentist will remove the temporary bridge and place the permanent one 
  • The dentist will fit and attach the new bridge before adjusting it
  • The dentist cements the cantilever dental bridge 

You’re usually able to go home immediately following the procedure. It will take some time before you get used to your new device, but once you are, it functions like a natural tooth. 

Single Tooth Bridge Aftercare 

Aftercare for dental bridges is essentially the same as what you’ve always done for your natural teeth. You must brush and floss your teeth regularly and continue to visit your dentist for checkups and cleanings. Pay particular attention to the space between the bridge and the abutment teeth. 

Use a gentle toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride. Avoid using abrasive toothpaste, as it may cause the pink portions of the single tooth bridge to turn white and may also degrade the enamel of the artificial teeth. Proper aftercare can also reduce the likelihood of tooth decay and gum disease.

Single Tooth Bridges Alternatives 

Not everyone can use a cantilever dental bridge, so if this isn’t a suitable option for you, try the following alternatives

Traditional Bridge 

A dental bridge comes with one or more fake teeth kept in place using the adjacent abutment teeth. You can use a traditional dental bridge when there are two healthy teeth on either side of the gap left by a lost tooth.

Dental Implant 

Your dentist may suggest you get a dental implant under certain circumstances. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that a few conditions could increase the risk of implant failure – for example, if you have a history of smoking or osteoporosis, the chances of implant failure are high. 

Partial Dentures 

Dentures are removable artificial teeth that can be used to fill in the gaps left by missing teeth. Remember to keep your dentures clean to avoid decay. 

Any of these alternatives could help you with tooth replacement, and your dentist will help you choose the most suitable option for you. 

Visit The Dental Team to Discover Your Best Options 

Single tooth bridges may be the perfect option for a lot of people, but you should talk to a dentist to confirm you are a good candidate. The professionals at The Dental Team will walk you through the most suitable options and help you fix your smile within the shortest time. Contact your local The Dental Team office to set up an appointment today! 

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