Why use gold bridges?
Even though most patients prefer tooth-colored restorations, many dentists like to use gold for dental bridges.
This is because gold is a very durable material, the success rate and long-term survival rate of gold bridges are great and allergic reactions are rare.
Since gold bridges look very different than natural teeth, they are mostly used in the posterior (back) region.
Porcelain fused to gold bridges
Porcelain fused to gold restorations were invented to overcome the esthetic problems of gold.
A layer of porcelain is fused on the gold bridge making it look like your natural teeth.
Thanks to the underlying gold, porcelain fused to gold bridges still have the great properties of gold.
The only risk is that the layered porcelain might chip off. PFG bridges might not be suitable for grinders or people who often eat hard foods (e.g. ice, nuts, carrots, etc.).
Captek dental bridges
Captek is very high-quality porcelain fused to gold restoration.
Manufactured with special technology, Captek bridges are not only highly esthetic but are even stronger than traditional gold bridges.
Thanks to its strength, a Captek bridge can be thinner than an all-ceramic restoration.
These are the most important advantages of a gold bridge:
- Lifespan: A gold dental bridge can last for decades or even a lifetime if properly taken care of.
- Durable: Gold bridges are very strong, they are unlikely to break.
- Success rate: Gold dental bridges have a great long-term success rate. Many gold restorations last for decades.
- Opposing tooth: Gold is gentle on the opposing tooth. All-ceramic materials (e.g. zirconia) might wear down the opposing tooth.
- Tooth saving: Since gold is so strong, it is possible to use relatively thin bridges. This means only a small amount of your original teeth structure needs to be removed to support the bridge.
- Oral health: Plaque accumulation around gold bridges is reduced. Gum problems, secondary caries are less likely.
- Fits perfectly: Gold bridges can be shaped to fit perfectly to the supporting teeth. This improves oral health and the longevity of the restoration.
- Allergic reactions: Gold is less likely to cause allergic reactions than other metals. Even people who are allergic to base metals - like nickel - might get a gold bridge.
The main disadvantage is esthetics, but there are a few other factors to consider:
- Allergy: Even though it's rare, some people might be allergic to gold. A metal-free restoration is recommended in such cases.
- Sensitivity: Since gold conducts heat well, your teeth might be sensitive to both hot and cold foods and drinks. However, this sensitivity should go away a few weeks after the procedure.
- Micro-gaps: It is unlikely, that during the manufacturing phase micro-gaps remain in the gold restoration, however, it does happen sometimes. These micro-gaps at the margins can facilitate tooth decay.
- Not easy to make and place: Manufacturing and fitting gold dental bridges require an experienced lab technician and dentist.
- Cost: Gold is one of the most expensive materials in dentistry. Gold restorations cost more than other metal restorations. Porcelain fused to gold bridges are more expensive than porcelain fused to base metal ones.
How much does a gold bridge cost?
The average cost of a three-unit gold dental bridge is around $2,500 - $4,500. Such a bridge can replace a single missing tooth.
Porcelain fused to gold bridges might cost a bit more.
Even though gold is expensive, it is a long-lasting material. If properly taken care of, it's quite possible that your gold restoration won't need to be replaced. Thus the long-term cost of a gold bridge might be smaller than other metal restorations.
These are to most common alternative to consider instead of a gold dental bridge:
Dental implant and crown
Dental implants are usually preferred over dental bridges to replace a missing tooth. This is because there is no need to trim the two adjacent teeth. If you want a gold restoration, you can get a dental implant with a gold crown.
Zirconia is also a very durable material. It's metal-free, even more biocompatible than gold.
Zirconia bridges cost about the same as gold bridges or a bit less.
Unlike gold, zirconia is white, therefore it matches the color of the natural teeth much better.
Porcelain fused to non-precious metal
Because of the non-precious metals, these bridges are more affordable than gold bridges, however, allergic reactions are more likely and they don't have such a positive effect on your oral hygiene as gold.
Frequently asked questions
Is a gold crown better than porcelain?
Gold is more durable and lasts longer than porcelain. However, porcelain is far more esthetic.
A good alternative to gold is zirconia. It is very durable and looks like your natural teeth.
It is also completely metal-free.
Is it possible to replace a gold bridge?
Yes, a dentist can remove your gold bridge if needed.