symptoms of Ill-Fitting Dental Bridge- causes, treatment and preventions
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A dental bridge, when perfectly crafted and fitted, can seamlessly restore the harmony of your smile, enabling you to chew, speak, and laugh with confidence. However, the line between comfort and discomfort, between a seamless fit and an ill-fitting dental prosthetic, can be as thin as a strand of dental floss. An ill-fitting dental bridge is not just a minor inconvenience; it’s a harbinger of potential oral health complications that can affect your daily life and well-being. Recognizing the symptoms of an ill-fitting dental bridge is crucial, as early detection can prevent a cascade of dental issues, from minor irritations to severe oral health problems.
Understanding the symptoms of an ill-fitting dental bridge is the first step towards addressing the problem, ensuring your dental health remains on a solid foundation. Whether you’re currently experiencing discomfort with your dental bridge or you’re looking to stay informed about your dental health, this article is your guide to recognizing when it’s time to seek professional advice and action.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a fixed restoration that is customised to bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth in your mouth. Natural teeth over which crown are placed are termed as abutment teeth and the false tooth or replaced teeth are termed as pontic.
As it is a fixed or permanent restoration, it usually lasts for a number of years but there are chances that it becomes loose or displaced before due. You should know what the symptoms of ill-fitting dental bridge are, how to manage it and when to approach your dentist for a loose bridge.
Types of Dental Bridges
Being cornerstone of restorative dentistry, dental bridges are designed to fill the gaps left by missing teeth. Here are the primary types of dental bridges:
- Traditional Dental Bridges: The most common type, these bridges consist of one or more prosthetic teeth (pontics) held in place by dental crowns cemented onto the adjacent natural teeth. Ideal for when you have natural teeth on both sides of the gap.
- Cantilever Bridges: Similar to traditional bridges but the pontic is supported by a dental crown on only one side, rather than both sides of the missing tooth space. Suitable when there are teeth on only one side of the lost tooth or teeth.
- Maryland Bridges: A conservative alternative to traditional bridges, Maryland bridges use a metal or porcelain framework bonded onto the backs of the adjacent teeth. This type requires no removal of enamel from the supporting teeth, making it less invasive.
- Implant-Supported Bridges: These bridges are supported by dental implants rather than crowns or frameworks. Each end of the bridge is anchored onto an implant placed in the jawbone, offering a strong, stable foundation. Ideal for when multiple teeth are missing, and maximum support is needed.
6 Symptoms of ill-fitting dental bridge
Here are some of the most common symptoms of an ill-fitting dental bridge:
It is the main reason as well as a symptom of an ill-fitting dental bridge. If there is an improper bite then the dental bridge must be experiencing undue dislodging forces which ultimately lead to tooth pain, TMJ pain, headaches and at last loosening of dental bridge. Also, vice versa if the dental bridge becomes loose because of some other reason like decay or any accident, it can show uneven bite due to shifting of crown.
If your dental bridge is loose, food can be easily entrapped underneath the bridge. It can not be easily removed by brushing. Due to entrapment of food below the dental bridge decaying of the food gets started. In long terms,this is going to alter your taste as well as the odour of your mouth.
Movement with a finger/tongue- Dental bridge not fitting
A dental bridge should be fixed like your natural tooth. If it is movable while drinking, chewing or even touching with a finger or tongue then it is a notable sign that your bridge is loose.
A common problem with dental patients is- ‘Dental Bridge feels weird’
If your dental bridge is not fitted properly, it can affect your speech or functions and you can feel discomfort or some awkward feeling all the time. It is a common feeling when a new prosthesis is placed in your mouth. In maximum cases, it gets resolved by it’s own as you get used to it after some time. But if the dental bridge is loose or not fitted properly, you will always feel weird and in that case you should immediately contact your dentist.
Dental bridge sensitivity and gum pain
It is very common to feel hot or cold sensitivity for a few days after placing a dental bridge but if your dental bridge has not covered the teeth properly, then dental bridge sensitivity will persist. Also, a loose bridge can constantly touch your gums on movement and can cause pain in your gums. Loose bridge creates a gap in between the tooth and prosthesis which can also lead to plaque retention in that area that also a common cause of sensitivity and gum inflammation below the dental bridge.
Deep pockets or periodontal disease
Loose dental bridges can lead to gingivitis, deep pockets and further can turn into periodontitis. As described above, due to gap in between the teeth and prosthesis plaque gets accumulated that lead to dental bridge gum irritation or gingivitis proceeding further to bone loss in that area and become the root cause of deep pockets and pyorrhea.
Some patients ask, “Is it normal for a dental bridge to feel loose?”
No, it’s not. Your dental bridge should be fitted properly and should be very comfortable and in complete harmony with your mouth, tongue, teeth and cheeks. Yes, it’s normal if you feel little bit of awkward feeling for few days as new prosthesis is placed in your mouth but as you get you used to it, it feels as your natural tooth.
If permanent prosthesis fails, you may feel mild to severe symptoms. So, it is important that you should know the symptoms and problems with dental bridge and can consult with your dentist.
causes of an ill-fitting dental bridge
An ill-fitting dental bridge can lead to a host of oral health issues, including discomfort, difficulty eating, and an increased risk of decay and gum disease. Understanding the causes of an ill-fitting dental bridge is crucial for both prevention and correction. Here are some of the main causes of an ill-fitting dental bridge:
- Cementation failure – The process of cementing a dental bridge onto the adjacent teeth is critical for its stability and fit. Cementation failure can occur due to improper application techniques, inadequate curing (hardening) of the cement, or the use of substandard cementing materials. When the cement does not form a strong bond, the bridge can become loose, leading to micro-movements that cause irritation, discomfort, and even make the area more susceptible to bacterial invasion and decay.
- Poorly made bridge – The precision with which a dental bridge is crafted directly influences its fit and function. A poorly made bridge can result from inaccurate dental impressions, errors in the dental lab during the fabrication process, or a design that does not adequately account for the patient’s bite and jaw movements. Such discrepancies can lead to a bridge that sits too high, creating bite issues, or too low, failing to prevent food from becoming trapped underneath, both scenarios leading to discomfort and potential damage to the oral structure.
- Gum irritation – An ill-fitting bridge can cause constant rubbing or pressure on the gums, leading to irritation and inflammation. This condition not only causes discomfort but can also lead to more serious gum diseases if left unaddressed. Gum irritation often signifies that the bridge does not properly conform to the natural contours of the gum line or that there has been a change in the gum’s shape since the bridge was fitted.
- Caries – Caries beneath or around a dental bridge can compromise its fit. Decay can occur when food particles and bacteria become trapped under or around the bridge, especially if the bridge does not fit snugly against the teeth. This situation is exacerbated by the difficulty of cleaning under or around an ill-fitting bridge, increasing the risk of decay in these hard-to-reach areas. As the supporting teeth deteriorate, the stability and fit of the bridge are further compromised.
- Shifting of teeth – The natural movement or shifting of teeth over time can affect the fit of a dental bridge. Teeth adjacent to the bridge or those that serve as anchors (abutments) may shift due to a variety of factors, including natural aging, loss of other teeth, or periodontal disease. This shifting can create gaps between the bridge and the natural teeth, leading to instability, increased risk of decay, and aesthetic concerns.
treatment for ill-fitting dental bridge
If you feel any of above symptoms of ill-fitting dental bridge, you should immediately consult your dentist to prevent further damage to your gums and teeth. Treatment for ill-fitting bridge is decided according to its etiology whether it can be adjusted in the same bridge or new prosthesis to be made. This can be decided by a dental professional by properly diagnosing the cause. the options for treatment are-
- Recementation – Recementation is often the first line of treatment if the bridge itself is in good condition but has become loose or detached. This process involves carefully removing the bridge, cleaning the underlying teeth and the bridge itself to remove old cement, and then recementing the bridge back into place. Recementation can effectively restore the function and fit of the dental bridge if there has been no significant change in the structure of the teeth or gums.
- Remake the dental bridge – In cases where the bridge is damaged, significantly worn, or if the fit cannot be corrected through recementation due to changes in the mouth or errors in the original fabrication, remaking the bridge may be necessary. This process involves taking new impressions of the teeth to create a new bridge that accurately fits the current shape and arrangement of the teeth and gums. A remake is also considered if aesthetic issues with the original bridge cannot be corrected through minor adjustments.
- Dental implants – For some patients, replacing an ill-fitting dental bridge with dental implants may be the best long-term solution. Dental implants provide a stable and durable foundation for replacement teeth by anchoring them directly into the jawbone. This option is particularly valuable in cases where the natural teeth surrounding the gap are not healthy enough to support a new bridge or if there has been significant bone loss. Dental implants can replace a single tooth, serve as anchors for a bridge, or support a full set of dentures, making them a versatile and often preferable option for many patients.
Prevention from ill-fitting dental bridge
Prevention is always better than cure. It is true in this case also, to take some precautions immediately after the start of your procedure for dental bridge to prevent dental bridge failure. Some tips and tricks to prevent ill fitting dental bridge from our experienced Prosthodontist Dr. Kirti Parashar are:
- Maintain proper oral hygiene – Patient should properly maintain the adequate oral hygiene. It can be achieved using mechanical methods like brushing, flossing, etc. and chemical methods using mouthwashes, etc. You can ask your dentist for proper demonstration of brushing and dental flossing.
- Daily Cleaning: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to clean your teeth and bridge thoroughly at least twice a day. Pay special attention to cleaning under and around the bridge to remove food particles and plaque.
- Flossing: Use flossers designed for bridges or a water flosser to clean beneath the pontic (the false tooth) and along the gum line where bacteria can accumulate.
- Antiseptic Mouthwash: Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash to reduce bacteria in your mouth, which can lead to decay and gum disease affecting the teeth anchoring your bridge.
- Regular check ups – Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings, typically every six months, though your dentist may recommend a different frequency based on your oral health status. These visits allow for early detection and intervention of potential issues that could affect your bridge’s fit.
- Prevent sudden forces – Sudden impact forces like biting on nut or any hard and sticky food like caramel should be avoided in the dental bridge area.
- Protective Gear: Use a mouthguard during sports or if you grind your teeth at night (bruxism) to protect your bridge and natural teeth from unexpected or excessive forces.
- In emergency situation – If your bridge becomes loose, breaks, or you experience significant discomfort, contact your dentist immediately. Prompt action can prevent further damage and may allow for simpler solutions like recementation. In some cases, your dentist may provide or recommend a temporary dental adhesive or suggest specific care steps to protect your bridge and teeth until you can be seen.
Why Dentists don’t Recommend Traditional Dental Bridges?
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long does it take to adjust to a new dental bridge?
A: Adjusting to a new dental bridge typically takes a few weeks. During this period, patients may experience sensitivity and need to adapt to the feel of the bridge in their mouth.
Q: Can an ill-fitting dental bridge be adjusted or does it always need to be replaced?
A: In some cases, an ill-fitting dental bridge can be adjusted. However, if the fit issue is significant or if the bridge is damaged, replacement might be necessary.
Q: What are the long-term effects of wearing an ill-fitting dental bridge?
A: Long-term effects of wearing an ill-fitting dental bridge include increased risk of tooth decay, gum disease, discomfort, and damage to adjacent teeth.
Q: How often should a dental bridge be checked by a dentist?
A: A dental bridge should be checked by a dentist at regular dental check-ups, at least once every six months, to ensure it remains in good condition and fits well.
Q: What steps can I take at home if my dental bridge feels loose before I can see a dentist?
A: If your dental bridge feels loose, avoid chewing on the side of the loose bridge and maintain oral hygiene. Contact your dentist as soon as possible for advice and to schedule an appointment for assessment and repair.
As a proper treatment plan, it is very important to design a prosthesis customized for each patient to prevent ill fitting dental bridge. But, sometimes it becomes impossible to prevent some common issues or with time the bridge becomes loose. In that case, you should consult your dentist immediately and get it corrected.