How often should a dental bridge be replaced? Does it matter where the bridge is located in your mouth?
Dental Bridge Replacement
Doctor Answers 10
Crown and Bridge work should last almost indefinitely.
The answer to your question is never. I have been actively practicing general cosmetic dentistry for over 30 years. I tell my patients that all Crown and Bridgework can last for a lifetime and my experience in my own practice bears this out.
Longevity of a dental bridge
I’ve seen dental bridges last for over 20 years and others that need to be replaced after only 7 years. The two main factors are the quality of dentistry and the oral hygiene. I’ve noticed that the patients’ whose bridges last a long time have immaculate oral hygiene. Most use a Waterpik to clean under and around the bridge, which I highly recommend.
Bridges usually fail when food gets trapped under the bridge. This causes decay in the teeth supporting the bridge. When this happens; the bridge needs to be removed, the decay cleaned out, and then a new bridge is fabricated. Good Luck!
Replacement of bridges
I wouldn't replace it unless it has failed. That can happen if the porcelain breaks, or you get a cavity under it. If it has broken, consider going with an alternative restoration like an implant. An implant crown can be constructed out of a stronger material like emax, and if the emax breaks, then you are only stuck with the replacement of 1 unit of porcelain instead of 3 or more.
Also to consider, if the bridge fails, and 1 or 2 of the adjacent teeth can still be salvaged, then the implant won't cost much more than the bridge anyway.
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How Often Should a Dental Bridge Be Replaced with a New Bridge?
If the bridge is fitting well and there are no breaks, leaks or cavities around it, then it could still last for years.
However, oftentimes there are "aging" changes in the mouth over the years. The gums recede, the space under the false tooth (called "a pontic") enlarges and starts to trap food under it. If the bridge is a porcelain bridge, oftentimes it will no longer match the color of the adjacent teeth. Over time, if the patient hasn't done a great job with their oral hygiene around the bridge cavities can occur. If the teeth have shifted or moved, the bridge may no longer support the bite properly. So, for a number of different reasons your dentist may suggest replacing an old bridge.
There is no "average" life expectancy for a bridge. I've seen some need replacement after only five years, and seen others that was still serving the patient well after thirty years. Your dentist should be able to explain to you his reasons for recommending the old bridge be replaced with a new one.
Dental bridge replacement
Always consider implant option before replacing your bridge. Talk to your dentist to go over your options and see if you are a candidate for implatn. The only problem when you are replacing an existing bridge with implant is the need to crown again the abutments used for your previous bridge, but with the new implant you can floss and keep the area clean much easier. Just remember if you have a bridge and there is a problem with one of your abutments, the whole bridge needs to be replaced.
Consider Dental Implants if your Bridge Needs Replacement
I don't think there is a specific time that a bridge would need to be replaced. However certain factors might be met to consider replacing the bridge.
- Esthetic failure - cracks or chips in the porcelain would certainly need to be addressed
- Wear - even metal can wear so if you grind your teeth or have an imperfect bite then the bridge can wear down and create a hole in the metal substructure
- Gum issues - if the gum pulls away from the bridge you may see a dark line around the teeth
- Cement failure - if the bridge becomes unglued but does not come completely off decay may start
If it is determined that the bridge needs to be replaced then you should consider dental implants to replace the missing tooth or teeth. Single crowns can be placed on the teeth that once anchored the bridge.
Longevity of bridges varies case by case
While mileage will vary from person to person, bridges can last from a few years to a few decades. There really is no "should".
People that grind and clench their teeth will have more wear and tear compared to people that don't, so restorations won't last as long. Young patients can expect to replace them a few times in their life, while people in their 60's or 70's may never need to replace them.
Material selection can influence as well, since porcelain CAN chip and all-metal will not. Type of cement is a factor too.
Replacement of a bridge depends on many factors
Replacement of a bridge or crown depends on many factors:
- What type of agent used to cement bridge or crown--regular cements may leak over time, requiring more frequent replacement; adhesive cements are far stronger and last longer
- If an all-ceramic bridge, the type of ceramic will dictate its strength, its location in the mouth and ultimately, how long it will last.
- The fit of the bridge or crown--if the fit is ideal, the potential for decay and cement wash-out is less, thereby requirement a shorter period for replacement.
Unfortunately, once a tooth has been restored with a crown, bridge, filling, inlay or onlay, it is never as strong as it once was and replacement at some point in the future is usually inevitable.
When to Replace a Dental Bridge?
I have seen bridges last for 30 plus years and I have seen some last only a couple of years. There are several factors that determine the longevity of a bridge all of which would take too long to discuss. What I will tell you is that over the last several years dental implants are becoming the treatment of choice over dental bridges. In my practice, the only time I recommend a bridge over an implant is when the patient does not have enough bone for an implant. With the advancements in ridge augmentation (bone grafting) and implant design the lack of bone is not an issue very often anymore. Definitely look into dental implants before you replace that bridge.
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.