Dentist Questions Dental Bridges

What are the disadvantages of dental bridges?

My dentist wants me to have a dental bridge for my missing tooth. Is this a safe way of replacement? What are the disadvantages?

5 Answers

Dental bridges are a safe option for replacing a missing tooth. The disadvantage for considering a dental bridge vs. implant (single tooth replacement) is that the adjacent teeth to the space where the missing tooth is will be shaved down a bit for a bridge to fit over the site. You will also have to learn how to floss under and around a bridge properly.
The main disadvantage is that the 2 adjacent teeth need to be reduced in order to make room for the two abutment crowns. Also, the is a chance that making the bridge will cause a root canal on one of the adjacent teeth. If they are not fitting well, food can get stuck around and under the bridge. It's fairly common that the teeth occluding opposite the bridge can break after a few years. Over time, the is a higher incidence of periodontal problem s around the bridge. Implants have their problems as well. What the dentists don't tell you is that often not treatment is the best option. Just because you are missing a tooth does not mean that you must fill in the space. You have to see the whole picture. I myself lost a tooth and have not replaced it for 5 years and it's doing just fine. So, always consider doing nothing.
Make sure you’ve discussed replacing the tooth with an implant-supported crown before you decide to do a bridge, because the fate of the replaced tooth in the bridge is dependent on the other teeth that support it - if you develop a problem with one of the supporting teeth in the future, such as decay, it can threaten the entire bridge if it’s serious enough.
Bridges involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between. The disadvantage with a bridge is that the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth need to be crowned & that you are essentially tying 3 or more teeth together. So if 1 tooth fails, 3 or more teeth are lost. Sometimes, however, a bridge is the best restoration given the situation. Ideal treatment for a single tooth replacement, however, is a dental implant.
A bridge is a good tooth replacement, but it does have some disadvantages. The neighboring teeth have to be shaped down to allow space for the bridge to rest on top of them. This is only a disadvantage if these teeth never had any dental work done to them before. Another possible disadvantage is that it is more challenging to clean around a bridge, so a patient may develop cavities or gum disease around the bridge at a higher rate. Also, it’s possible that one of the anchor teeth can break or crack in the future. I’ve seen patients with a successful bridge for many decades, so they can work very well.