How a Dental Bridge Affects Adjacent Teeth

A dental bridge is usually used to fill spaces between the teeth. When one or more teeth are missing, the dentist may turn the teeth near the gap into a supporting abutment for the permanent restoration that will fill the empty area. The primary effects of a dental bridge are not in the bridge itself but the impacts of drilling the abutment teeth.

A typical case is when one or two teeth are missing. However, in complicated cases when many teeth are lost on an arch, the dentist can build an extended bridge spanning from one side to the next, using the unaffected teeth as braces. Yet, this is not the best option because the pressure can result in further complications. If any of the supporting teeth go bad, it can compromise the entire dental bridge.

Getting dental bridges

Getting a dental bridge is like the crown placement procedure. First, a temporary bridge is attached to the area before the permanent bridge is ready, as it usually takes a few weeks to make. Once the bridge is complete, it will replace the temporary bridge.

Side effects of dental bridges

Typically, a dental bridge should be ready for use after installing it, but it is important to note the condition of the supporting teeth which are bored during the procedure. If no instance of boring has ever occurred on the tooth, it could be debilitating for the nerves in those teeth and ultimately cause temporary or long-term sensitivity.

In other cases, where the tooth has been bored before for fillings and/or crowns, it is necessary to drill the tooth again for the bridge. Repeated drilling increases the risk of sensitivity and death of tooth nerves, necessitating a root canal procedure. When preparing for a bridge, it is important to note these factors.

Drawbacks of the procedure

One of the major drawbacks is that after installing the bridge, flossing becomes hard because the teeth are connected. The farther back it is, the harder it is to floss and clean the bridge. The most common challenge with the bridge is that once food debris builds up on that area, cavities form. In this case, treating the cavity entails extracting the bridge, cleaning the plaque or dental decay, and designing a new bridge.

Cleaning the bridge

Bridge maintenance requires flossing. Brushing can clean the outer and inner parts, but it cannot reach in between the teeth. Several floss options are available for gently threading the floss beneath the bridge.

Final note

The success — or failure — of a dental bridge lies in aftercare and in following the dentist’s instructions. Through correct and regular brushing and flossing, you can make the dental bridge and the adjacent teeth last long without negative impacts. The porcelain used to build the bridge is sturdy but can be damaged when abused, consequently affecting the teeth connected to it.

Bad habits such as chewing on ice and nail-biting should be avoided as they weaken the bridge. The patient is responsible for taking proper precautions to keep the bridge and the teeth supporting it in good condition. Do you have any more questions about dental bridges? Talk to one of our dental health professionals today.

Request an appointment here: or call Eastside Dental at (414) 888-4000 for an appointment in our Milwaukee office.

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