You are here:

Dentistry/long span bridge vs partial


I had a bridge anchored on 30 and 28, missing 29 for only 6 years. Apparently developed severe decay in 30 and tooth can't be saved. It will be extracted soon

Options given were implants (I'm not a fan due to bone grafting, time and expense + my age 63), long span bridge or partial

I assume the long span bridge would be 32 over 30/29 and anchored to 28 and 27 (this would require work on a very healthy 27))...and 32 isn't in that great shape may require "lengthening"??

Since my last bridge only lasted 6 years I am leery, plus I've heard bad things about long span could ruin a perfectly good insurance won't cover the bridge as it is too close time frame to the original

Your dentist is new to me so I don't have a good feeling regarding "trust"

Dear Doug,

In the absence of implants, which are my preferred choice for tooth replacement in long-span situations where teeth are either healthy, untouched, or unhealthy, I would usually recommend long span bridge over partial.  Long span bridge has the advantage of being cemented, not removable, and feels more natural.  Partial has the advantage of not needing to alter adjacent teeth, but feels like foreign hardware in the mouth.  And the clasps (hooks) on partials are known to damage the teeth they are around.

I know this is a tough choice.  But having worn a bridge, you will likely not be as comfortable with a partial.

And call your insurance company.  Usually they will cover bridge replacement after 5 years.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Howard Finnk, D.D.S., P.A., CEO


I am a Family, Implant and Cosmetic dentist. I will answer questions on any aspect of dentistry and matters relating to the smile, gums, jaws and lower face. Member American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, and Atlantic Coast District Dental Association. I have served as District Council Member of Alpha Omega, as well as serving for one term as its President. I am also a member of The Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, and Mount Sinai Hospital Guild. I have served as a Volunteer for Project Dental Health and The Tri-County Dental Health Council.


Having attained over 30 years of clinical experience in private practice in Michigan, in 2001 I was re-certified by taking and passing the Florida State Dental Board Examination. After moving to Florida, I spent nearly 10 years re-honing my skills while working as an Associate Dentist for several large dental groups. In September, 2004, I was appointed Adjunct Clinical Professor at Nova University's College of Dental Medicine. I am certified in placement of Mini Dental Implants, and I am Director of The Florida Implant Center ( On March 1, 2010, at the age of 62, I began all over again by buying a dental practice near my home in the Fort Lauderdale area. As sole owner and Chief Dental Officer of the new Nob Hill Dental Center (, I can now carefully provide dental care to patients who care, all within a caring, joyful environment. Over my career lifetime, I have provided thousands of diagnoses, fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, periodontal treatments, TMJ therapies, partials, dentures and extractions, and dozens of implants for my patients. The only aspect of dentistry with which I have very little experience is orthodontics.

American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, Atlantic Coast District Dental Society, Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, Alpha Omega Alumni Association, and American Association of Dental Implantologists. Formerly, American Academy of General Dentistry, Michigan Dental Association, Macomb Dental Society, Detroit District Dental Society, Tri-County Dental Health Council (a charitable dental care organization)

"How To Save Money At The Dentist" Going to press soon.

Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Psychology from Wayne State University Doctor of Dental Surgery from University of Detroit College of Dentistry Adjunct Clinical Professor, Special Needs Department, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Awards and Honors
Membership in The Vedder Honors Society

Past/Present Clients
HIPAA rules do not allow me to post this information.

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]