Dental bridges can last a very long time, depending on how you take care of them.
Tooth loss among older Americans is a severe oral health issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 percent of people aged 65 or older have severe tooth loss, defined as having only eight or fewer teeth.
Yet older adults (or anyone with tooth loss!) can get a complete set of teeth again with dental bridges, which have been used for decades to fill in the gaps left by missing teeth. But getting a dental bridge can be a complex, lengthy process, and you may wonder how long your bridge will last. Fortunately, dental bridges can last a very long time with proper oral care. Let’s first review how a dental bridge is fitted to your teeth and what you can do to make the bridge last many, many years.
Getting a dental bridge
Your dentist will first prepare the teeth next to the missing tooth for a crown. This process involves removing some enamel to reshape the tooth. The crown will serve as the anchor on which the bridge will be mounted. A pontic, or prosthetic tooth, will attach to the bridge to fill in the gap left by a lost tooth.
Before you get your permanent bridge, your dentist will make an impression of your mouth so the bridge, crown, and pontic will match the alignment and color of your teeth. As you wait for the bridge, you’ll be fitted with a temporary one.
Once the bridge is complete, you’ll visit your dentist for a final check to see if the bridge fits or needs adjustments. In all, getting the bridge typically takes two visits.
Bridges can be either fixed or removable. Fixed bridges are cemented to the adjacent, or abutment, teeth. Sometimes, the bridge is secured on a dental implant, not a crown. Removable bridges clip onto the abutment teeth and can be detached.
How to care for your bridge to make it last
Dental bridges typically last five to 10 years. Your bridge can last much longer, depending on how you care for your teeth.
Caring for your bridge also depends on which type you have. If you have a fixed bridge, take care of your teeth as you usually would. That means brushing, flossing, and rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash daily. If the teeth around your bridge become decayed, your bridge will be less secure, and you’ll need a new one.
To care for removable bridges, you’ll need to take some extra precautions, such as:
- Clean the bridge with a soft-bristled or denture toothbrush
- Use a denture cleaner instead of regular toothpaste, which can be abrasive
- Clean the bridge over a sink filled with water or a folded towel to avoid the bridge breaking if you accidentally drop it
- Always rinse with cool water, as hot water can warp the bridge
- Never soak the bridge overnight unless instructed by your dentist, as leaving the bridge in water or a solution could rust the metal.
Regular dental visits are a must whether you have a fixed or removable bridge. Keeping your remaining natural teeth healthy is the best way to extend the life of your bridge.
Do you have missing teeth? See Espire Dental!
Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Fort Collins, Colorado, location today! Our highly trained dentists offer a variety of solutions for missing teeth, including dental bridges. Don’t live near our Fort Collins office? Find one of our other locations near you.
2117 Custer Drive
Fort Collins, CO 80525