Dental bridges are a popular way to hide missing teeth and allow you to chew comfortably, but like your natural teeth, they sometimes need to be repaired, because on some occasions they crack, break, move or come off.
Depending on the severity of the damage, repair can be as simple as a quick visit to the dentist or the complete replacement of the dental bridge.
If your dental bridge moves or takes off, you don’t have to replace it!
Your dentist has installed a dental bridge by cementing it securely on two pillars and in most cases it will stay in place for a long time.
After a few years, your bridge could be weakened by poor oral hygiene, a blow or a fall and thus take it off or make it move.
If your bridge moves, takes off or hurts you, do not ignore it and immediately consult a dentist to assess the situation.
You should never try to clean or play with a moving dental bridge. If you have blood or debris in your mouth after an accident, you can rinse off with warm salt water. All cleaning procedures should be left to the dentist.
If the ubiquitous bacteria in the gums have caused minor cement failure, the dentist could cement your bridge again without having to replace it.
But if an abutment has been damaged, more invasive treatment may be necessary.
What are the common reasons for repairing a dental bridge?
A dental bridge usually has an expected life of 10 to 20 years and wears out over time. Sooner or later, several conditions may make it necessary to repair a dental bridge.
Some of them are related to the dental bridge itself, but in other cases, they can be related to the abutment teeth or the state of your dental health. The most common reasons for repairing a dental bridge are:
1. A dental bridge defect
A dental bridge can be defective due to structural or functional damage.
Most dental bridges are made of metal/porcelain and can break, flake or split under pressure, making repair necessary. The artificial pontic tooth (the missing natural tooth) between the two crowns should not be able to withstand the same forces as a natural tooth.
Excessive force when chewing hard food can cause the porcelain to crack or break. Porcelain is half as resistant as enamel.
Other causes of damage to dental bridges include:
- Poor bite: Poor bite results in uneven pressure distribution between the teeth. If it is an occlusion problem at the dental bridge, it can be damaged or break. A poorly designed dental bridge can also cause a similar problem, even if there is no problem with the teeth of the opposite jaw.
- Bruxism: Teeth grinding is another cause of dental bridge repair. Fractures of porcelain bridges are common in patients with the habit of grinding teeth.
- Trauma: The practice of contact sports without oral protection is a common cause of damaged dental bridges.
- Poor design: Problems can arise with a bridge that does not use its entire surface, especially on the missing tooth, which increases the force on each abutment tooth.
Sometimes a repair of a dental bridge may be necessary because it does not work properly and thus cause other problems.
If the bridge has design problems, it may not fit properly and the patient may be uncomfortable or have problems speaking or chewing.
If a crown is not well formed to meet the gums, it can cause irritation and pain in the gums.
Sometimes a dental bridge can come off if it is not properly glued and fixed on the abutment teeth.
Aesthetic problems include poor bridge color (too dark or too light) or shape (for example, the edge of the dental crown does not completely cover the tooth).
2. Damage to teeth
The need to repair a dental bridge often results not from a problem with the bridge itself, but from problems with the supporting teeth.
Although porcelain or other dental bridge materials are not affected by cavities, the underlying dental structure remains susceptible to cavities. Since most of the exposed tooth is covered with a crown, the most vulnerable area is the point where the bridge crown meets the natural tooth.
Lack of care of the dental bridge with proper oral hygiene can allow the accumulation of dental plaque and the development of dental caries under the edges of the crown near the gum, which weakens the teeth that support the bridge. A poorly adjusted bridge can allow food particles and dental plaque to be trapped around the edges of the crown against gums or natural teeth, increasing the risk of tooth decay.
A decayed abutment tooth can break or fracture and cause the bridge to come loose. The dental bridge must be removed to allow the dentist to clean the decayed part of the tooth or to perform root canal treatment. A dental bridge repair may be necessary before replacing it. If the abutment tooth is not viable and needs to be extracted, a new restoration solution will be required.
Severe gum disease can also weaken one or more teeth that support the bridge. If the abutment teeth of a dental bridge are affected by gum disease or gingivitis, their condition will deteriorate much faster as a result of increased pressure on their periodontal tissue.
Removing the gums can also cause cosmetic problems with dental bridges, exposing the dark and unattractive margins of the crown.
Repair options for a dental bridge
If problems arise, our dentist can try to repair your dental bridge instead of creating a new one.
Small defects, such as chipping or wear on porcelain, can usually be repaired in the dental office using a resin-based composite. Our dentist files the porcelain or metal material to obtain the best possible bonding when the resin composite is placed on the damaged area. However, the solution should be considered temporary. In addition to long-term peel-off problems, the color of the resin is not as stable as that of porcelain, so repair of the dental bridge should not take too long.
When you have a decayed abutment tooth, our dentist can try to put the old bridge back in place after filling the tooth, but if the tooth structure is removed at the base of the crown, dental bridge repair is necessary . If the tooth is lost, the old bridge becomes unusable.
If your dental bridge is broken, our dentist will send it to the laboratory for repair, but generally, even if a repair is possible, the cost of repair is too high and it is better to make a new bridge rather than repair the former.
Some problems can also arise when your dental bridge is removed for repair. The process requires great mechanical force to break the bond of the cement to the tooth. Removing a dental bridge increases the risk of a broken tooth or breaking the bridge itself.
Most dental bridges remain comfortable and intact for many years. In the event of a problem, our dentist will assess whether your dental bridge can be repaired, which will save you the cost of a new bridge.
Consider other teeth replacement options
In some cases, repairing or replacing a dental bridge is not an option.
This is common when the surrounding natural teeth can no longer support the bridge. It can also be caused by lifestyle factors that make bridge maintenance unrealistic. Whatever the situation, there are several viable alternatives to bridges that you can consider.
Dental implants, although more expensive, fix the false teeth with titanium roots. This allows the false tooth to interact more naturally with your body, including slowing bone loss in the jaw.
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