A Bridge To Nowhere: When a Dental Bridge Won’t Work

When it comes to your teeth, there’s an important factor you should always keep in mind: you only get one set.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that many patients get a bit nervous when it comes to replacing teeth. Fortunately, you have options. One of those options is the ever-popular and time tested dental bridge.

Used to bridge the gap between a missing tooth and your natural teeth, dental bridges have been a part of the dental world for thousands of years. Yes, it’s true – dental bridges have been used for thousands of years, and were pioneered by the Etruscans – despite the fact that they were mainly used as a signifier of status. Many early dental “patients” would even have their natural teeth removed so they could be replaced by golden bridges.

Today, things are just a little different. Instead of making sure that family, friends, and common onlookers notice your shiny gold dental bridges, modern dental bridges use all of dental technologies latest advancements to ensure your dental bridges look as natural as possible. But when is a dental bridge not recommended?

While dental bridges have become a regular standby in the dental world for being able to quickly, effectively, and reliably replace teeth all over the mouth – they aren’t always the best option.

This is mostly the case when the teeth on either side of the missing tooth are perfectly healthy. Now you might be wondering, “So, it’s a problem that the teeth on either side of a missing tooth are health?” Unfortunately, in this case that’s exactly right. You see, in order to install a dental bridge your dentist needs to carefully file down the teeth on either side of the gap. This prepares those teeth for dental crowns, which are used to strengthen the teeth so that they can reliably support the added pressure of the dental bridge. But, most dentists simply hate having to damage perfectly healthy teeth in order to replace a missing tooth.

This is true for a couple reasons. Not only is crowning a perfectly healthy tooth an unnecessary expense, it also makes it so that  in order to treat those teeth in the future the entire bridge would be affected. On the plus-side, it’s generally rare for the teeth on either side of a missing tooth to be perfectly healthy, because generally the tooth is missing due to poor oral care. However, when this is the case your dentist will generally recommend an alternative solution, such as a dental implant.

Another situation that could lead to your dentist recommending an implant over a dental bridge is if you have a history of cavities or poor oral hygiene. A dental bridge is a bit trickier to take care of than a dental implant (which is virtually cavity-proof), and if you’ve had a hard time brushing and flossing in the past, there’s a good chance those habits won’t change after getting a dental bridge.


Do you have questions about dental bridges, dental implants, and cosmetic dentistry as a whole? Our friends at My Downey Family Dentist have answers. Check out their blog to learn more!

Categories:   Health & Fitness