Are there any serious complications from bridges? Are bridges safer than dental implants? For those active in contact sports, would it be a concern to have a bridge rather than an implant or vise versa?
What Are the Most Common Bridge Complications?
Doctor Answers (5)
Implant vs. bridge
According to some studies, bridges have an average life span of about 6.7 years. This is due to frequrent recurrent caries, root canal complications, and excessive forces that are common to bridges. Generally, I don't recommend them. Dental implants are now the standard of care for tooth replacement and if properly done can have lifetime results. Please see our website in the implant section for some very insightful information on the difference.
Bridge vs. Implant
There are no significant complications from getting a bridge over an implant. Both have risks and benefits.
A bridge requires reduction of the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth area to support and hold the bridge in place. We recommend this option in our office when the adjacent teeth have already been heavily restored and may require crowns in the not too distant future. The risks include recurrent decay of the bridge/ tooth margin due to poor hygiene or damage to the porcelain surface.
An implant is used to replace a missing tooth without involving adjacent teeth. This is a great option when the adjacent teeth have no restorative concerns or potential. Risks here include failure of the implant to heal into the bone, infection of the implant site and damage to the restoring crown.
Both methods are equally safe and require the same precautions as for natural teeth when you are involved in contact sports.
Dental Bridge Failing.
The number one complication or cause of failure of a dental bridge is decay under one of the adjacent teeth.
A dental bridge is a form of replacement of a tooth that utilizes adjacent teeth as abutments. Because of the inability to floss between the connected teeth, the abutment teeth are very susceptible to decay. The decay can very easily lead to pulp (nerve) necrosis (death) and may result in a need to preform root canal therapy.
A dental implant replacement avoids this problem as it is much easier to clean around a dental implant than it is around a bridge.
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Common bridge complications
When discussing the replacement of a missing tooth, dentists typically place in order an implant then a bridge. An imlplant is a slight bit more costly ut takes longer to heal, yet is more conservative because no adjacent teeth are touched. A bridge is second because there are some concerns over time. Cavities can start under the bridge on the tooth near the root. This can lead to a new bridge being required. Flossing under a bridge can prevent this from occuring. Routine brushing is required as well. Generally that is it! Brush and floss as you have been told by the dentist your entire life and you should have much fewer problems!
There are really no serious bridge complications. The only reason you may choose a bridge over an implant would be if the teeth on either side are not in the best condition. If the teeth are in relatively good shape I would opt for a dental implant since it does not invovle preparing the teeth on either side. Being active in contact sports should have no effect on either choices. Speak to you dentist and see which you are a better candidate for.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.