If you have teeth that are missing or have been removed, a dentist will usually close the gaps by using dental bridges. These types of bridges are essentially false teeth or dental crowns that are secured by abutment teeth on either side of where the tooth or multiple teeth are missing.
But how long do these bridges last? Are Dental Bridges Permanent? Here is a break down of what you should know about the longevity of dental bridges.
Dental bridges are permanent if they are they are fixed rather than removable. Fixed bridges are reliable and durable while looking almost identical to the rest of the surrounding teeth for esthetic purposes. If home care and personal hygiene are maintained regularly, fixed bridges can last 5 – 15 years and sometimes even longer. Other bridges can last 5 – 7 years if they are well taken care of.
The lifespan of a dental bridge depends on the combination of routine professional cleanings, regular oral care, and sometimes specialized care. If these habits are put in place early on, your dental bridge will last much longer.
Are Dental Bridges Removable?
While fixed dental bridges are not able to be taken out, there are most certainly removable dental bridges available.
Removable dental bridges are a denture that is partial and can be taken out for daily cleaning once it has been adjusted by your Fyffe Dentist for your unique bite. You won’t get used to the feeling of a removable dental bridge overnight, but after some time it will become much more comfortable.
Once your natural teeth, gums, and tongue have all gotten used to the bridge being there, you will be able to start a daily routine to keep it working the way that it’s supposed to.
First Impressions With Your Removable Dental Bridge
After a removable bridge has been fitted to a patient’s mouth, your Fyffe Dentist will most likely inform you of how long you need to keep it in before removing it regularly.
This gives the dentist some time to examine the bridge for any potential problems such as the bridge putting unwanted pressure on a focused area of the gums. If this happens, it will need to be adjusted.
After Your Dental Bridge Has Been Adjusted
Once the removable bridge has been adjusted and all issues have been resolved, the patient is encouraged to remove the bridge every night for cleaning purposes and put it back in place the next morning.
Taking the bridge out and putting it back in can be a little tricky in the beginning and requires a small amount of practice for it to become a smooth practice. The Fyffe Dentist will normally give the patient instructions that break down the process in detail so that they can learn how to do it as quickly as possible.
The patient mustn’t bite down with a lot of force for the bridge to sit in place, because it can end up damaging it. If however this does happen, simply contact your dentist immediately to find out the next steps for repairing it.
When You Want To Eat With A Removable Bridge
If a patient wants to eat while wearing a removable bridge, it’s a good idea to start out using soft foods that have been cut into smaller pieces. Bigger pieces of food that aren’t as easy to break down could cause complications with the bridge, so it’s best to stick to the basics in the beginning.
When chewing, make sure that the pressure is distributed evenly on both sides of the mouth, and try to not eat any foods that are sticky or hard.
Taking Care Of Your Removable Bridge
Almost just as important as having a removable bridge, is being able to take care of a removable bridge. This process means that you clean away the plaque and food residue that has accumulated throughout the day regularly. Here is how you can achieve this effectively:
Step One: Protect The Removable Bridge —
The first step is to either place a towel, blanket or article of clothing on or around your sink to create a safe surface for your bridge to fall onto in the case that you accidentally drop it.
Another way you can protect your bridge is to fill a sink with water so that it simply floats to the bottom instead of getting damaged.
Step Two: Brush The Removable Bridge —
Once you are satisfied with the protection you have provided for your removable bridge, simply take a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush the bridge. Denture cleaner is also an option you can use, but make sure to avoid toothpaste or household cleaners. These types of cleaners could potentially scratch the surface of the bridge.
Step Three: Rinse The Removable Bridge:
Finally, once you are satisfied that all of the food and plaque has been removed, rinse your bridge with clean, cool water. The reason you want to use cool water is that hot water can potentially cause the bridge to warp into an unwanted shape.
Make sure you consult your Fyffe Dentist on what the best practices are for cleaning your specific bridge.
Are Dental Bridges Easy to Replace?
Dental bridges can last for a very long time, but like everything else, eventually, they will need to be fixed or swapped out. There are two main reasons why you might need to get one replaced:
Dental Bridges Can Get Damaged
The majority of dental bridges are created by porcelain or ceramics being fused to a metal frame, which means that they are not completely invincible. If the bridge is not taken care of, or oral care has been ignored, it will most certainly begin to become faulty.
Decay in the abutment teeth can start to form through bacteria making its way under the bridge and through the crowns. Not to mention that the abutment teeth can begin to fracture over time.
Sometimes the underlying metal of the bridge can break, and the coating can be fractured.
Dental Bridges Need To Be Adjusted
When wearing a dental bridge, the abutment teeth are covered up, so if there are any signs that there is decay, they won’t be visible. If the patient’s gums or teeth become very sensitive, it could be a sign that the bridge requires repair.
If a problem arises with an abutment tooth, the dentist will need to take out the bridge. In some cases, breaking the bridge may be required if it has been cemented to the abutment teeth.
After the teeth have been taken care of, and the teeth are healthy enough to support a bridge, the dentist can make new calculations and order a bridge replacement.
Unfortunately, if the dentist is not able to fix the abutment teeth, they will need to be swapped out with implants that will be strong enough to support the new bridge that is being made. These need to be placed through surgery directly into the jaw bone for the most durable support.
If the coating on the outside of the bridge becomes fractured or chipped while the bridge stays relatively undamaged, your Fyffe Dentist may be able to fix the outside coating.
What Are Some Alternatives to Dental Bridges?
When you are missing a tooth or even more than one, dental bridges aren’t necessarily the only option that is available to you. Some of the alternative options include:
Bone Grafts Or Implants Instead Of A Dental Bridge
While the treatment time takes significantly more time and is a bit pricey, an implant with a crown could be a great option.
If the foundation of the bone is preserved enough, extra bone-graft operations shouldn’t be necessary. On top of that, your dentist wouldn’t have to adjust the abutment teeth if all goes as planned.
A Partial Denture Instead Of A Dental Bridge
Another option that would work as an alternative to a dental bridge would be a partial denture. Partial dentures work well in the cases where there is bone or gum loss in addition to missing teeth.
This type of denture can replace the tissue lost by the gum and tooth but relies on soft tissues and remaining teeth to stay in place.
Partial dentures can be taken in and out of the mouth as needed and take a little while to get fully used to. If you go this route, you would be choosing an option that is not fixed and cost-efficient.
Space Maintainers or Braces
Space maintainers or braces are utilized to keep your teeth from closing the gap before an alternative solution can be put into place. For your kids, this option is used to keep a spot reserved for the permanent teeth that haven’t come in yet or to serve as a temporary solution until one of the other options above can be used.
For any more questions that you have about dental bridges or other solutions for your dental needs, be sure to reach out to your local Fyffe Dentist today!