Any tooth pain is of concern: what happens if the tooth pain is located under a bridge?
What Is A Bridge?
A dental bridge is a device that is used to replace a missing tooth. It usually has three distinct sections: a central tooth (called a pontic) which replaces the missing tooth, and a crown on either side which anchor the pontic to the teeth on either side of the space. A bridge can be made of precious metals (often containing gold), porcelain/ceramic or a combination of both. The bridge is cemented to the adjacent teeth, and is considered to be a long-lasting fixture. Some bridges will last many years, even decades.
What Can Cause Pain Under A Bridge?
There are several things that your dentist will be considering as they diagnose the cause for your pain:
- If the bridge is new, is the bite too high?
- Has food impacted under the bridge or between the nearby teeth, causing the pain?
- Is the bridge loose?
- Is there decay under one of the crowns supporting the bridge?
- Has gum disease weakened one of the supporting teeth?
- Has the nerve died in one of the supporting teeth, causing an abscess?
- Has one of the supporting teeth cracked?
- Is it referred pain from somewhere else?
What Will Your Dentist Do To Figure It Out?
The dentist is very likely to do some or all of the following:
- Ask you questions about the pain: its onset, quality and how long it lasts, what relieves the pain, what makes it worse and so on
- Examine your bridge and the surrounding teeth
- Examine the gums around the teeth supporting the bridge
- Take some x-rays to inspect the teeth and gums under the bridge
Once the dentist has figured out what the problem,they will recommend the appropriate treatment. This may be straightforward or complex, depending on the nature of the problem. In some cases, the bridge and it’s supporting teeth may need to be removed, leaving a gap three teeth long.
How To Avoid Pain Under A Bridge
Anything artificial in your mouth has the potential to attract plaque, which may ultimately cause a cavity or gum irritation in the area: bridges are no exception. It can be tricky to keep a bridge free of plaque, but it’s very important that it is cleaned thoroughly every day. Your dental team will show you how to brush and floss around your bridge properly. Be committed to this level of cleaning: decay under a bridge can lead to the loss of three teeth instead of one!
Depending on the age of your bridge and what it’s made of, your dentist may recommend that you avoid chewing certain foods on it.
If you grind or clench your teeth at night, your dentist may recommend a Night Guard (Occlusal Splint) to prevent the bridge and its supporting teeth from damage.
Regular dental appointments are also critical is that your bridge can be monitored for early signs of deterioration. Dental x-rays are helpful here because they can help the dentist to see areas that are otherwise impossible to inspect.
It’s often easier to intervene if trouble is spotted early. Prevention is the key!