It's probably safe to assume that if you're getting replacement teeth, you want them to look and function as closely to the real thing as possible. And that means you want them to last as long as real teeth, too. But is that possible with a dental bridge? And if not, how long do dental bridges typically last? We'll let you know what you can do to maximize your dental bridge's lifespan, how long you can expect the device to last with proper care, and we'll help you ensure your bridge functions well enough and long enough to keep you smiling.
How Long Do Dental Bridges Last?
Removable bridges have crowns on either end that clip onto existing teeth (filed down by a dental professional to fit correctly). If you get these impermanent teeth replacements, you'll need to take them out to clean them every day. People who choose removable bridges over fixed bridges often do so because they come at a lower cost and don't require surgery.
There are two types of fixed bridges. One is similar to a removable bridge in that each end of the bridge caps a natural tooth. The difference is that they are cemented in place.
The other kind of fixed bridge is attached to dental implants – metal fixtures that are surgically fastened to your jawbone below the gums. The American Academy of Implant Dentistry says that 3 million Americans have dental implants, and that number is growing by 500,000 every year. These metal implants become anchored to your bone through osseointegration (the bone fuses to the metal). This process provides stable support you can rely on while eating and speaking. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the healing process after getting an implant can take 6-12 weeks. Your dental professional will then place a metal post (or abutment) into your implants, onto which they will mount your crown.
Whichever of these replacement tooth options is best for you – they can be vital in maintaining your oral health. Gaps in areas of loss can cause your other teeth to begin rotating or shifting into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. And missing teeth can even lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
Learn about dental bridge procedures.
Good question! People in the dental profession have published varying opinions on how long bridges can last, largely because your oral care routine, diet, and lifestyle can greatly impact the lifespans of these devices. According to the Cleveland Clinic, dental bridges can last at least five to seven years, and by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dental professional for regular visits, it could last over 10 years. The University of Rochester Medical Center concurs, stating that with good oral hygiene, most dental bridges can last longer than 10 years and could even last a lifetime.
Caring for fixed bridges requires practicing good oral hygiene just as you would with your real teeth. Brush at least twice a day, floss or clean between your teeth with interdental brushes or water flossers at least once a day, and consider using other helpful products like antimicrobial mouthrinses and tongue scrapers. Be sure to see your dental professional for regular cleanings – not only to keep your teeth pearly white and bacteria-free but also to check the health of your bridge.
To properly care for your removable dental bridge, you'll need to remove it to clean food debris and plaque from all parts of your bridge every day. Here are a few tips you can use to take great care of your replacement teeth:
- Clean your removable bridge over a sink full of water or a folded towel so that, if you drop it, it won't break.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or a denture brush and cool water. You can use denture cleaner, but don't use abrasive toothpaste or household cleaners, which can scratch your bridge's surface.
- After brushing, rinse with cool, clean water. Hot water could warp your bridge.
- Don't leave your bridge in water or a denture-soaking solution overnight unless your dental professional advises you to. The metal attachments on your removable bridge could rust.
Dental bridges often fail for the same reason you can have issues with your natural teeth. If you don't practice good oral hygiene, you can have issues with your bridge. Impact and injury can also result in bridge failure.
Learn more about avoiding dental bridge problems.
When you first get your bridge, eating softer foods that have been cut into small pieces is best. Chew evenly on both sides of the mouth, and avoid eating tough, hard, chewy, or sticky foods, like:
- Or chewing gum
These are just a few examples of the foods that can cause problems for your bridge. Use your best judgment, and speak with your dental professional if you have any questions.
If you're wondering how long your dental bridge will last, the best answer is that it largely depends on you. Dental professionals tend to agree that if you practice good oral hygiene, they can last at least 10 years, and some dental professionals would even say that with proper care, you could have them for a lifetime. Now that's something to smile about.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.