After my last dental cleaning, exam, and X-ray, my dentist said that a tooth beneath my upper left dental bridge is cracked. She wants to replace the bridge, but I’ve only had it for three years. I don’t have any pain or discomfort when biting or chewing. Do I need the bridge replaced? – Thanks Raina from Chicago
When considering dental restoration options, such as a dental bridge or implant, it’s important to weigh the long-term implications and costs. Each option has distinct advantages and potential drawbacks, depending on the situation.
The Long-Term Cost of Dental Bridges
A dental bridge may initially seem cost-effective, but if any tooth supporting the bridge fails, the entire bridge often needs replacement.
A problem with one of the abutments (supporting) teeth, such as a crack, may require removing the damaged tooth and fabricating a new, longer bridge to span the gap between now two missing teeth.
The Stability of Dental Implants
Unlike bridges, dental implants are independent of adjacent teeth. Issues with neighboring teeth do not affect the implant, making it a more stable long-term option.
Concerns About a Cracked Tooth Beneath a Dental Bridge
A cracked root typically presents with sharp pain upon biting, which you are not experiencing. It’s uncommon for crowned teeth to crack since crowns are designed to fortify weakened or cracked teeth, preventing further damage.
Studies have shown that even completely fractured teeth can sometimes be saved by aligning the pieces, crowning the tooth, and thus preserving it.
Get a second opinion before agreeing to treatment.
- Do not disclose the previous dentist’s diagnosis or identity to ensure an unbiased second opinion.
- Provide minimal information about prior consultations to prevent influencing the new dentist’s assessment.