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Preserving Your Smile: How Long Should A Dental Bridge Last?

Dental prosthesis sample

A dental bridge serves as a powerful tool in the dentistry arsenal, effectively bridging the gap left behind by one or more missing teeth. While the immediate benefits of dental bridges – functionality, aesthetics, comfort – are relatively well-known, understanding their longevity can be a bit of a mystery. So, how long should a dental bridge last?

Bridging the gap

A dental bridge is essentially a false tooth (or teeth), termed as pontics, held in place by the abutment teeth on either side of the gap. Tooth implants or real teeth may serve as abutment teeth. Bridges can be crafted from a variety of materials including porcelain, ceramics, alloys, or gold

Dental bridges deciphered

Living with missing teeth can significantly impact your quality of life, affecting your ability to chew, speak, and smile with confidence. One efficient solution to this problem is dental bridges. However, understanding the different types, their lifespans, and when to replace them can be daunting.

Types and lifespans

Dental bridges come in four primary categories:

  1. Traditional bridges

These are the most common type, consisting of one or more pontics (false teeth) held in place by dental crowns (abutments) cemented onto the natural teeth on either side of the gap. Traditionally, these bridges last between 5 to 15 years, depending on oral hygiene and regular dental visits.

  1. Cantilever bridges

These are similar to traditional bridges, but the pontic is supported by an abutment on only one side, rather than both. Due to its structure, dental professionals use it when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth. Cantilever bridges also typically last between 5 to 15 years.

  1. Maryland bridges

Also known as resin-bonded bridges, they consist of a pontic held in place by a metal or porcelain framework. The backs of the nearby teeth are cemented to this framework. While less invasive, they may not be as strong as traditional or cantilever bridges and typically have a lifespan of around 5 to 10 years.

  1. Implant-supported bridges

 

Instead of crowns or frames, these bridges rely on dental implants. Generally, one implant is placed for every missing tooth, and these implants hold the bridge in position. These are the strongest, most durable type of bridge, and with proper care, they can last over 15 years.

Constructed wooden teeth

Practices to prolong bridge effectiveness

To maximize your dental bridge’s lifespan, consider the following tips:

  1. Ensure proper dental hygiene: Floss your teeth every day and brush them twice a day.

  2. Regular dental check-ups: Regular dental visits allow for early detection and treatment of potential issues, thus prolonging the life of your dental bridge.

  3. Eat a balanced diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and dairy can help maintain overall dental health.

  4. Avoid hard and sticky foods: These types of food can cause damage to your dental bridge. It’s advisable to chew such food using the side of your mouth that doesn’t have the bridge.

  5. Avoid harmful habits: Habits such as clenching or grinding your teeth, chewing ice, or using your teeth to open packaging can all cause unnecessary stress on your bridge.

Lifespan

Typically, dental bridges can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years, even longer. Some may last over a decade, and with excellent care, even a lifetime. Several factors influence the durability and lifespan of a dental bridge. These include oral hygiene, the materials used, and the overall health and structure of the supporting teeth.

Impacting factors on the durability of dental bridges

Factors influencing the lifespan of your dental bridge include:

 

  • Materials used: Bridges crafted from high-quality, robust materials tend to be more durable and have a longer lifespan.

  • Oral hygiene: Good oral hygiene will significantly enhance the lifespan of your dental bridge. Poor oral care, on the other hand, can lead to gum diseases or tooth decay, impacting the overall longevity of the bridge.

Patient observing dental hygiene by brushing
  • Diet: Consumption of hard or chewy foods can potentially damage the bridge, reducing its lifespan.

  • Regular check-ups: Regular dental check-ups enable early detection of potential issues that can compromise the longevity of your dental bridge.

Recognizing when to replace a dental bridge

While dental bridges are durable, they don’t last forever. It’s essential to recognize signs that your bridge may need replacement:

  1. Loose bridge: Over time, the bridge can become loose, particularly if the supporting teeth or bones are weakened.

  2. Severe discomfort or sensitivity: If the teeth supporting the bridge have decayed, you may experience severe discomfort or sensitivity.

  3. Bad breath or taste: These can be signs of an infection under the bridge.

  4. Changes in alignment: If your bridge suddenly seems misaligned with your bite, it may need adjustment or replacement.

Takeaway

In essence, while a dental bridge is an effective and aesthetic solution for missing teeth, its longevity is dependent on a multitude of factors. These include material quality, oral hygiene, diet, and routine dental care. By ensuring excellent oral hygiene, regular dental check-ups, and maintaining a tooth-friendly diet, you can help maximize the durability of your dental bridge.

It is crucial to remember that a dental bridge is not just beneficial for your oral health, but it also significantly impacts your overall quality of life. With the right care and precautions, your dental bridge can serve you well for many years, giving you the confidence to smile, speak, and eat freely. Consult with your dental professional to understand the best practices for caring for your dental bridge, and here’s to a future filled with healthy and happy smiles!

 

Bridge the gap in your smile

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Is missing teeth affecting your confidence and quality of life? Dental bridges can restore the function and appearance of your smile, filling in the gaps seamlessly. You deserve a smile that’s whole and healthy. Contact Sheppard Dental Centre by calling today to schedule your dental bridge appointment.

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