For many patients, a dental bridge can last years. Decades even. But just like any bridge over any body of water is going to require some sort of repair over the years, it generally isn’t likely that a dental bridge will go more than 8 or 10 years without needing some sort of repair.
You probably already know that a dental bridge is a fixed dental appliance used to replace one or more missing teeth. This means it can’t be removed – except by your dentist. For most bridgework, the replacement tooth (the pontic) is held in place by your own healthy teeth on either side, these are usually called “abutment” teeth.
With just this much information, we can already identify a few “weak points” where a dental bridge might fail. First, we have the actual “prosthetic” – the pontic. A pontic, just like any other tooth, can be damaged or cracked from impact, injury, or gradual wear and tear.
What Causes Dental Bridge Failure
Just like your natural teeth can be damaged from a wide variety of sources, the dental bridge isn’t much different. Typically, a dental bridge is either made out of ceramic or porcelain that’s been fused to a metal frame for support. Just like poor oral care can undermine the health of your natural teeth, it can also undermine your dental bridge. When bacteria works its way into or under the crowns protecting the abutment teeth, decay has the opportunity to spread. This is actually one of the primary downsides of the dental bridge, simply because it’s harder to clean a dental bridge than it is to clean your natural teeth. For this reason – getting a bridge should also be a reminder to really step-up your oral hygiene routine.
But the potential causes for dental bridge failure don’t just come down to decay. Problems with the actual bridge itself can lead to the need for early repairs as well, but these are generally rare and – more often than not – involve the underlying metal structure of your bridge.
“Does my Dental Bridge Need Fixing?”
A dental bridge, on average, should last between 5 and 8 years. However, dental bridges have been known to last decades. This often leads patients to wonder when repairs are needed.
Because the abutment teeth on either side of your replacement tooth are covered with crowns to help them support the bridge, it’s often difficult to see their signs of decay. For this reason, it’s important to pay careful attention to how these teeth feel. Should any pain or sensitivity on the teeth or gums develop, it might be a good signal that your bridge needs repair.
On top of this, if you notice actual cracks in an abutment tooth or the pontic itself – you should see your dentist.
If you’re a patient in the Garden Grove, CA area wondering about bridge repair or other topics in cosmetic dentistry – the family dentists at Primary Dental Care of Garden Grove can help.