There are several ways to replace missing teeth, including dental bridges, dentures and implants. Bridges are a popular option because getting one is a relatively safe and easy procedure, and they are usually less expensive than implants. They are also reliable--the Colgate World of Care website says they can last a lifetime. Unfortunately, they usually don't last quite that long. Their lifespan depends on the type of dental bridge you have, as well as how you care for your teeth.
There are three main types of dental bridges. According to Doc Shop, the Maryland bonded bridge is the least expensive type. It is also the least invasive to the teeth surrounding the missing tooth. The false tooth is held in place by bands attached to the adjoining teeth. Doc Shop says the traditional bridge is the most common type. It consists of a false tooth held in place by crowns on the adjoining teeth. The third type, a cantilever bridge, is used when there are teeth on only one side of the gap that is being filled with a false tooth.
Overall, Doc Shop says that most bridges will last between five and seven years, while the University of Maryland Medical Center says that many last for a decade. However, the usual lifespan can differ for each type of bridge. Traditional bridges usually last the longest, while cantilever bridges have a shorter lifespan because the dental bridge is only supported on one side. The limited support can cause it to fail, especially if it's in an area that gets a lot of bite pressure.
When you have a problem with your dental bridge, it doesn't always have to be replaced. If it comes off, your dentist may be able to cement it back in place. If it is damaged, she may be able to repair it. Call your dentist as soon as you notice a problem with your bridge. This maximizes the chance of being able to get it repaired rather than needing a replacement.
If you get gum disease, Colgate says it can cause your dental bridge to fail more quickly. Severe gum disease can cause bone loss, which destroys the bridge's support. You can also have problems with your bridge if the teeth surrounding it are damaged by cracks, decay or other problems.
Colgate says you can prevent problems with your dental bridge and help it last longer by practicing good oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth every time you eat, flossing regularly, and visiting the dentist at least twice a year for a check-up and professional cleaning. This will help prevent gum disease that could endanger the bridge. In addition to normal flossing, gum threads should be used to clean underneath the bridge.