How long does a dental bridge last?
Dental bridges can be used to fill the gap left by one or more missing teeth in a row, and they are two main types of dental bridge: fixed bridges, and removable bridges. Within these two categories, there are some variations. If you’re hoping to replace a single tooth or a few teeth, you probably want them to look good, feel good, and function well, and you’d hope they’ll continue to do all this for a while. So how long, exactly, will a dental bridge last? Again, there are variations in the answer to this question, factoring in the type of bridge, health of the patient, and other factors, and your dentist can help you decide which type of implant will best meet your needs. While fixed bridges last longer than removable bridges by design, both types of bridges require the right kinds of care and attention to ensure their longevity, and both can help improve your smile for a while.
A removable dental bridge is connected to the teeth adjacent to a gap with dental crowns that are placed over these adjacent teeth. These teeth serve as the opposite ends of a literal bridge, only in this case, the bridge is an artificial tooth or row of teeth. One of the drawbacks of these removable bridges is that dentists have to file healthy tissue off the supporting teeth in order to place the crowns that will make them strong enough to support additional pressure from the bridge. These removable bridges are taken out for cleaning, and both the bridge and the oral cavity and remaining teeth should be cleaned at least twice daily. The bridge should also be taken out before you fall asleep, to give your mouth a rest and keep the bridge free of oral bacteria. The main reasons people choose removable bridges over fixed bridges are their lower cost, and the fact that fixed bridges require surgery and extended healing times while removable bridges don’t.
Fixed dental bridges come in two main types. The first is basically the same as a removable bridge, only the dental crowns that support the bridge are cemented into place on the modified teeth that support them. The second type of fixed bridge relies on dental implants for support. Dental implants are small fixtures made of medical-grade titanium. These fixtures are surgically implanted into the bone in the jaw, beneath the gums, and the bone heals around them, fusing to them and creating a permanent bond. Once the implant sites have healed, the implant acts as a root, supporting a highly realistic-looking replacement tooth or row of teeth that functions just as well as healthy natural teeth.
While fixed bridges and removable bridges are clearly different in that one is permanent and one is removable, with excellent care, both types of bridges can easily last ten years or longer, and in many cases, they can last a lifetime. Fixed bridges are cleaned just like the natural teeth, with twice-daily brushing and daily flossing, and regular dental visits are a vitally important part of the oral hygiene routine for people with fixed bridges as well as those without. Removable dental bridges are cleaned outside the mouth and are brushed in much the same way as the natural teeth, and, of course, you should also brush your remaining teeth, tongue, gums, and other oral tissues. Your dentist will also recommend that you use caution when chewing hard or crunchy foods, avoiding the area of the bridge, and, of course, you could damage a bridge due to impact or by accident just as you could damage your natural teeth. Your dentist will give you specific instructions for proper care no matter what type of dental bridge you have, and your good habits can help your bridge thrive.