Can Teeth Rot Under a Dental Bridge?

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A dental bridge procedure aims to replace one or more missing teeth. It is a more affordable alternative to dental implants and can last several years. Unfortunately, like other dental treatments, dental bridge problems can also occur.

Read on to find out more.

What Is a Dental Bridge?

A bridge is a fixed dental restoration used to replace missing teeth. It comprises two dental crowns attached to the teeth on each side of the gap and a false tooth (or pontic) in between. The crowns support the pontic and secure it in place, bridging the gap created by one or more missing teeth. Bridges can be made from various materials, including ceramic, gold, and porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM). Bridges help support the surrounding teeth and can prevent them from shifting.

Although bridges are designed to be strong and durable and generally last 10-15 years, they still require regular maintenance, like any other dental appliance or restoration. This avoids issues like decay under a bridge and a dental bridge with infection.

How Is a Tooth Prepared for a Dental Bridge?

Here’s a summary of a typical dental bridge procedure:

  • Before the procedure, your dentist will give you local anaesthesia to numb the teeth that will be used as the bridge’s anchorage. These teeth are called abutment teeth. Most dental bridges have at least two abutment teeth, but cantilever bridges only have one.

  • The abutment teeth will be prepared by removing a small amount of enamel from their surfaces to create room for the crown that will be placed on top of them. If there is decay, your dentist must remove it before the bridge is placed so that it will not progress under the bridge. Otherwise, it will damage the bridge.

  • Once the teeth are properly prepared, the dentist will take an impression or a mould of your teeth that will be used to craft a model for the dental bridge. A temporary bridge will be placed over your prepared teeth until your permanent bridge is ready, usually after 2 to 3 weeks.

What Causes Infection Under a Dental Bridge?

In some cases, infection occurs under dental bridges. Below are some of the potential reasons why:

  • Tooth decay
    Decay could occur under a bridge if the decay on the abutment teeth is not entirely removed before the implant is placed. The disease will progress, leading to infection under the bridge.
  • Poor oral hygiene
    Proper dental hygiene must be maintained after a dental bridge is placed. Frequent removal of plaque and tartar build-up is important to prevent infection. 
  • Gum disease
    If gum disease is present, it can lead to a dental bridge with infection. Gum disease exposes the roots of the teeth to bacteria which can lead to an infection. Poor oral hygiene and smoking are common causes of gum disease.
  • Injury or trauma
    A dental bridge infection can also result from trauma or injury to the adjacent teeth that were not addressed immediately. This could be caused by an accident or a sudden blow to the mouth.

What Are the Symptoms of Dental Bridge Infection?

Watch out for the following warning signs that may indicate you have an infection under your dental bridge:

  • Pain or discomfort in the affected area.
  • Red, tender and swollen gums
  • Pus around the bridge or gum line
  • Bad breath
  • Pain when chewing food


smiling girl is looking in the mirror checking out her beautiful teeth. 

Is Brushing Enough to Stop the Infection on a Tooth With a Bridge?

Brushing your teeth alone is not enough to prevent dental bridge infection. Instead, you must visit your dentist to address the problem before it worsens.

Infection on a tooth with a bridge starts when plaque and bacteria build up around the bridge. Poor oral hygiene habits combined with a weakened immune system can contribute to the progression of infection. If not addressed immediately, this infection can cause pain, inflammation, swelling, and even abscesses that require medical attention.

How Will My Dentist Address a Decayed Tooth Under a Dental Bridge?

If you experience decay under a bridge, your dentist will first take x-rays to determine the extent of the problem. Depending on the severity, different actions may be necessary:

  • If the decay is minimal, the dental crown will be removed, and a tooth filling can be placed.
  • If more extensive damage is present, the abutment teeth may need root canal treatment.
  • In severe cases, tooth extraction may be necessary to remove the source of the infection.
  • Antibiotic treatment may also be recommended to fight the infection.
  • In case of gum disease, your dentist may suggest periodontal treatment, wherein they will surgically open your gums to clean the root area. 

Can a Dental Bridge Be Recemented After Removal?

This depends on the condition of the bridge and the abutment teeth. If the supporting teeth are in good shape, your dentist may be able to recement the bridge. However, if your bridge needs to be removed for other dental bridge problems, such as extensive decay, it cannot be re-cemented. Major dental treatments can change the anatomy of the abutment teeth, which can cause the bridge to be loose. If this happens, the dental cement may not be enough to hold the dental bridge securely in place. As such, the bridge must be replaced.

How Can I Prevent Infection Under the Bridge?

Below are some tips to prevent infection under your dental bridge:

  • Take care of your oral health.
    Poor oral hygiene is one of the most common causes of infection under a dental bridge. Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss your teeth at least once daily to avoid plaque build-up and decay. Consider using an oral irrigator and floss threader to clean hard-to-reach areas around the bridge.
  • Avoid sugary snacks and drinks, as they can lead to decay under a bridge.
    They don’t only cause cavities to your surrounding healthy teeth over time but also to the tooth under your bridge.
  • Avoid or consider quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
    These habits can increase your risk of developing an infection around a bridge. They can lower your immunity and prevent your body from fighting off bacteria.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and  check-ups
    Your dentist can spot any potential problems and recommend treatments to prevent infection from occurring under your bridge.
  • Wear a mouthguard if engaging in contact sports or activities with a risk of trauma to the mouth

If you have a dental bridge, it is essential to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and gums from injury.

Final Thoughts

A dental bridge is a great way to replace missing teeth and achieve a healthy, beautiful smile. However, taking care of your bridge is important to avoid infection. Practise good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings. If you experience any symptoms of infection or decay under the bridge, see your dentist as soon as possible for treatment.

Call us now to book an initial consultation if you want a dental bridge procedure. We can assess the condition of your teeth and gums to determine if you are a good candidate.

At Byford Smiles, we are equipped with the latest technology and techniques to provide you with quality dental care. The dentists at our clinic have years of experience performing dental bridge procedures. They will guide you through every step of restoring your smile.

Frequently Asked Questions

A bridge is one of the many viable treatments for those who are missing a permanent tooth. A bridge replaces the missing tooth by anchoring an artificial replacement tooth onto the existing teeth on either side. Installing a bridge involves trimming natural teeth, which can raise some concerns that it could harm adjacent teeth. Despite this fear, a dental bridge does not usually cause damage to surrounding teeth in the long run, but it does involve a certain permanence as the removed part of each involved tooth will not regenerate or grow back after being trimmed down.

Bad breath can be one of the dental bridge problems you encounter if you do not follow an adequate oral hygiene regimen. If the area around the bridge becomes infected, it can create an unpleasant smell in your mouth. Poor oral hygiene and food particles stuck underneath the bridge can also contribute to bad breath. To prevent this problem, brush and floss regularly and use an oral irrigator or floss threader to ensure that all areas are clean. Additionally, visiting your dentist for regular checkups will help detect any issues early on.

Though it may seem alarming, darkened gums are a common consequence of dental bridgework. When bridges are constructed with metal or contain metal components, oxidation from exposure to saliva can cause discolouration of the gums around the bridge. The darkening does not signal an infection and is not necessarily harmful. In fact, it could be seen as evidence that the bridge is securely anchored in the mouth. To avoid gum discolouration, ceramic-based bridges may be an appropriate solution for those concerned with aesthetics and willing to spend a little more.

Dental bridge alternatives include implants and dentures. Dental implants replace the missing tooth root with a titanium post. They are longer-lasting and much more stable replacement teeth. Dentures can also replace one or more missing teeth. They are made of acrylic resin moulded to fit your mouth. Your dentist will help you decide which option works better for you based on the condition of your teeth and gums.

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