How Long Do Dental Bridges Last?
For those who have a missing tooth, a dental bridge can be a good option. Dental implants, even though initially more expensive and time consuming, may be significantly less expensive over a period of many years. Conventional dental bridges do not last indefinitely, and the length of time which they last will depend upon how well they are looked after.
Durability of Bridges
Estimates of the durability of conventional dental bridges differ slightly depending on where you find the information. In general, dental bridges are expected to last for up to eight years, whilst properly constructed implant supported bridges are estimated to last for around double this length of time.
Care of Bridges
One of the primary risks to a bridge arises from food becoming trapped in between it and the adjoining teeth. According to the AAID (American Academy of Implant Dentistry), it might be difficult to clean this area with dental floss; consequently the area around the bridge may begin to decay if it is not adequately cleaned. We recommend Waterpik™ as the most effective system to clean underneath bridges, in so doing, increasing the bridges longevity.
We recommend using a specific flossing system which is designed to access areas which are difficult to clean with traditional dental floss. The more effectively these areas are kept clean and free from plaque, the more likely it is that your bridgework and the adjoining teeth will continue to stay healthy for as long as ten years. It is highly recommend that individuals with bridgework should have dental hygiene sessions about every 6 months and avoid foods with a high sugar content, as this can result in decay which may spread to the healthy natural teeth. Again, Waterpik™ is recommended as the best device for effectively cleaning under dental bridges.
Types of Bridges
There are 4 main types of dental bridges:
- Conventional, where a false tooth is attached to crowns which are fixed on the neighbouring teeth.
- Cantilever, where there is a natural tooth only on one of the sides of the missing tooth; this will compromise the integrity of the adjacent tooth by weakening it significantly.
- Maryland bonded bridges, when a metal framework is used to support the false teeth.
- Implant-supported bridges, which are very similar to a conventional bridge, but instead of being supported by natural teeth the bridge is supported by dental implants. The Implants have the added benefit of also helping to prevent bone loss.
The conventional bridge is the most popular and strongest option, whilst a Maryland bridge requires less tooth preparation but is also the weakest of the four different types. In addition, the material which the bridge is made from can determine its strength and affect its longevity; gold bridges offer the highest level of strength, and bridges made of ceramic materials are the weakest choice but do offer the most natural appearance.
Following the initial healing period, there are two main factors that effect the length of time a dental bridge will last. How well you maintain the dental bridge and how well you keep the surrounding teeth free from plaque, preventing tooth decay. To look after your dental bridge it is very important to avoid anything which may damage the bridgework, this includes hard foods which are difficult to eat. It is also important to avoid foods which are high in sugar, the very foods which may have previously contributed to the dental problems resulting in the need for a dental bridge in the first place.