Dental bridges are permanent, in the sense that they’re fixed rather than removable. Once cemented in place, you cannot remove them, and can last for between 5 and 15 years or even longer with good oral hygiene.
How long do dental bridges last?
As mentioned before, dental bridges are a permanent restoration that can last for decades with proper maintenance. However, these dental appliances are prone to damage, simply based on the materials they’re fabricated from.
Most dental bridges are made by joining porcelain or ceramic to a metal framework, therefore they are not totally unbreakable. If the bridge is not well taken care of, it will eventually fail. Bacteria that enters through the crowns and under the bridge might cause decay to begin in the abutment teeth. Not to mention that with time, the abutment teeth may start to fracture.
Repairing and adjusting dental bridges
Since the abutment teeth are hidden when a dental bridge is worn, any decay-related symptoms won’t be obvious. But if the patient’s gums or teeth become extremely sensitive, it may be a good sign that the bridge needs to be repaired.
If there’s an issue with the abutment tooth, the bridge will need to be removed by your dentist. In some cases, this may require the bridge that has been bonded to the abutment teeth to be broken.
The dentist can perform new calculations and place an order for a bridge replacement once the teeth have been cared for and are strong enough to sustain one.
If the dentist is unable to repair them, the abutment teeth will have to be replaced with implants so that the new bridge can be supported by them. To ensure the stability of the restoration, these must be surgically inserted into the jaw bone.
Fixed vs. removable dental bridges
Although fixed dental bridges are permanent, patients also have the option for removable or detachable dental bridges to replace missing teeth. Removable dental bridges are adjusted in your dentist’s office to suit your specific bite. They are essentially a partial denture that can be removed for daily cleaning. A detachable dental bridge will take some getting used to, but it will eventually feel much more comfortable.
It’s recommended that you remove your removable dental bridge each night for cleaning and then replace it the following morning. It can be a little challenging to remove and reinstall the bridge at first, but it soon becomes second nature. To get the bridge to stay in place, you shouldn’t bite down too hard because you risk destroying it.
If it gets damaged though, please contact your dentist to get it fixed.
Who needs a dental bridge?
Dental bridges are used by people with missing or damaged teeth. However the prosthetic can only be installed if you have enough strong teeth with good bone support to support the crowns and hold it firmly in place. You have to consult with your dentist to determine whether a dental bridge is the best and most cost-effective option for replacing your tooth.
The method that you use to replace missing teeth depends on:
- Number of missing teeth
- Position in your mouth
- Condition of other teeth
Why should you replace a missing tooth?
There are many reasons why you should fill spaces between your teeth. To begin with, a gap can interfere with your bite because the teeth adjacent to the space can lean into the gap, altering the way the upper and lower teeth bite together. This can in turn cause food to get packed into the gap, resulting in both decay and gum disease. So, a dental bridge can prevent the teeth adjacent to the gap from drifting out of position and reduce the risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease. Other benefits include:
- To maintain the shape of your face and enhance your appearance
- To restore a proper bite to facilitate chewing
- To improve your smile
- To reduce damage to your teeth caused by a misaligned bite
- To distribute the forces in your bite proportionally
Dental bridge versus partial denture
A fixed bridge is used when there are few teeth that need replacing, or when the gaps are on only side of the mouth. Otherwise, a partial denture – removable prosthetic tooth – is used.
Dental bridges are similar to partial dentures in that they are used to fill spaces with missing teeth. A dental bridge is an effective dental treatment that comprises a false tooth, referred to as a pontic, with dental crowns or abutments acting as props. The crowns are fixed to the tooth on both sides of the gap, attaching the pontic firmly in place of the absent tooth.
This procedure uses the term “bridge” because the pontic is secured using dental cement to prevent the buildup of bacteria between the prosthetic and gums, yet there is no physical connection between the jawbone and the false tooth.
Can anyone get a dental bridge?
Generally, any person with one or several missing teeth can opt for a bridge, though the surrounding teeth and gum tissue must be in good health, because they form the foundation for the replacement prosthetic. Bridges do not require oral surgery, which makes them a great alternative for individuals who are afraid of going through oral surgery in dental implant procedures. While the supporting teeth are adjusted to receive abutment crowns, no gum or bone tissue drilling is necessary for bridge placement.
Purposes of Dental Bridges
Missing teeth can have a huge impact on the functionality and appearance of your smile. Without something to fill the gaps, remaining teeth can easily shift their position and alter your occlusion or bite, resulting in jaw pain, speech impediment, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), increased susceptibility to periodontal disease, and frequent headaches. So, bridges help to:
- Restore a healthy bite for proper chewing
- Reduce strain on remaining teeth due to misaligned bite
- Prevent gum disease and tooth decay because of food accumulating in the gap
- Maintain facial contours
- Improve your smile and appearance
- Restore self-confidence after an injury or accident