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Dental Bridges and Onlays

Dental Bridges and Onlays Vancouver

Dental BridgesA dental bridge is a custom-made, new artificial tooth made of porcelain that replaces one or more missing teeth, and is supported by adjacent teeth or by a dental implant. A dental bridge or artificial tooth looks completely natural, as it is tinted to match the colour of your existing teeth and is attached from the gumline to look like a real tooth.

An onlay is a durable, strong porcelain filling that fits onto the tooth, protecting it from further decay. Dental onlays are used as an alternative to dental crowns, to fill fairly large cavities in cases where there may be not be enough of the existing tooth surface left to support a white filling.

Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are a special type of dental restoration appliance that helps to bridge gaps between teeth. These gaps can be caused by a number of things including missing teeth, or the natural space the patient is born with between their teeth. Commonly, a dental bridge will have a pontic (a prosthetic tooth) attached to it to replace a tooth that has come out for whatever reason.

By bridging these gaps in the patient’s mouth, the normal functions of the mouth, including eating and speaking, can be restored.

Why are Dental Bridges Used?

Dental bridges are one of the most common types of restoration. Rather than undergo extensive dental surgery to have permanent implants put in, some patients prefer to have a bridge and a prosthetic tooth put in place. The process is much simpler and less invasive than the implants, and the end result is the same, a restored tooth, and the restored ability to chew and speak properly.

As well, some of the less obvious benefits of this type of restoration include a reduced risk of tooth decay and bone loss, less likelihood of other teeth drifting into the empty space, and improved gum health at the site.

What are Dental Bridges Made Of?

Dental bridges can be made of several different types of materials that include the following:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Metal
  • Alloy
  • Porcelain

You and your dentist will decide which materials are best used based on your personal dental history.

Are There Different Types of Dental Bridges?

There are three main types of dental bridges in use today:

Traditional Bridge

This type of bridge is generally used when the teeth surrounding the area are natural teeth (as opposed to implants or onlays). The bridge will attach to the natural teeth around the gap, and usually will have a prosthetic tooth attached. This is the most common type of bridge.

Maryland Bridge

This type of bridge involves creating prosthetic teeth and gums, then attaching the bridge to existing teeth.

Cantilever Bridge

For some patients with missing teeth, there may not be a lot to work with. In the case where a bridge is needed but there is only one tooth adjacent to the gap, a Cantilever bridge can be used. This is the least common type of bridge, because it can cause a number of problems to existing teeth including putting extra pressure on the remaining natural teeth.

Are Dental Bridges Expensive?

While dental bridges can be somewhat expensive, most dental benefits plans will cover most if not all of the cost. In most cases, bridges are put in place to restore a patient’s natural ability to talk and eat, and aren’t usually used for cosmetic purposes, so it is highly likely that your provider will offer coverage. Please feel free to discuss pricing with team members at Enhance Dental Centre.

How long will Dental Bridges Last?

Dental bridges these days are designed to last for years and years to come. As long as you continue to follow your regular dental hygiene practices, and see your dentist for regular checkups, you shouldn’t have to worry about having the bridge replaced for at least 15 to 20 years.

Dental Onlays

What is a Dental Onlay?

A dental onlay is a special type of tooth restoration that mainly deals with the biting surfaces of a tooth (known as cusps). Sometimes, there is a problem with the cusp or cusps of a tooth. Rather than applying something like an interior filling or crown, an onlay can be used to repair the cusp of the tooth, and act as a protective barrier to prevent further decay. In other words, an onlay is somewhere between a filling and a full crown, and it repairs and protects the bite surfaces of the tooth.

Why is a Dental Onlay Used?

In most cases, onlays are used when a filling or crown is not necessary. A tooth that has a little bit of decay can be cleaned and repaired with an onlay. As well, if a tooth has minor fractures, it can be repaired and protected with the application of an onlay.

What is the Benefit of a Dental Onlay vs. a Dental Crown?

There are many advantages to using onlays instead of crowns. Some of the main advantages include:

  • They are more durable than regular fillings
  • Less tooth structure will be removed with an onlay than with a crown
  • Dental onlays last much longer than regular fillings
  • Dental onlays act as protective barriers against future tooth decay and tooth loss
  • Dental onlays can help prevent the need to extract a tooth after a root canal has been performed

How are Dental Onlays Applied?

Dental onlays require a two-step process, usually spread out over two appointments. During the first appointment, your teeth will be prepared to have the onlays put on. Decayed portions of the tooth will be removed and temporary fillings will be placed. Molds of your teeth will be taken and sent to the lab to have the new onlays created. This appointment will require the use of anesthetic to numb the nerves so that you will not feel any pain.

During the second appointment, the temporary fillings will be removed and the new onlays applied. Any adjustments that need to be made to ensure a good fit will take place during this appointment. Once a perfect fit has been found, the onlays will be permanently cemented in place, and you’re done!

Are Dental Onlays Expensive?

The cost of dental onlays will depend on each individual patient and the extent of dental work required. The good news is, if you have a dental benefits plan, in most cases, some or all of the costs will be covered. The best thing to do is have your dentist submit a predetermination (estimate) to your benefits provider before you begin treatment. This way you’ll know what to expect in terms of how much will be covered and how much you will have to pay out of pocket.

How long will Dental Onlays Last?

As noted, with proper care and dental hygiene, your dental onlays can last up to thirty years! Ask our dentists for more information.

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