As with any treatment, the dental bridge is not without its risks.
The potential problems of a traditional fixed bridge are pretty much the same as the risks of having a crown only proportionally greater because a bridge involves more crowns. If a problem occurs with one of the abutment teeth it can potentially compromise the whole bridge putting you back to square one, or even further behind if it means another tooth gets lost.
The bigger the bridge, the more teeth are involved, the larger the stresses placed on it and therefore the greater the likelihood of something going wrong.
You can potentially get a problem with one or both of the adjacent teeth - both would be severely unlucky!
In summary, the risks are:
- A dark line at the gum (see aesthetic problems below)
- A bridge coming off because:
(i) The cement fails – this is good because it means generally it can just be stuck back in
(ii) The core fails- generally a pretty bad sign- the bridge is likely to need replacing with some extra modifications (and expense).
Additional Issues include:
A bridge does not allow normal floss to pass through and requires special cleaning instructions
. This means that the potential for plaque to collect around it and lead to decay or gum disease is higher than an individual crown or an implant.
Assuming you have no functional problems with the bridge you may find in 10-20 years because your gums have shrunk it just doesn’t look like it used to. If it is at the back of the mouth then this will actually make cleaning easier and is unlikely to be a major problem. If however, it is your front teeth, then if the looks are no–longer acceptable to you, the only option may be to replace it.
For more information about these points see- Risks and problems in crowns
Resin retained bridges (aka sticky or bonded bridges) are more prone to coming off than a normal bridge. More commonly they are of the cantelever type, meaning they are only attached on one side because if the cement fails, it will cause the bridge to fall out. If it has wings on both sides, one side can de-bond and you can get caries underneath without noticing, which if this goes undetected for some time, could land you with a large problem.
If this type of bridge fails repeatedly, you can progress to a more traditional fixed bridge or perhaps an implant crown.