Dental Bridge Broke in Half: Causes & What to Do?

Dental bridges are a good option for replacing a missing tooth or teeth. They are strong, durable, and can last 15 years, even a lifetime when maintained properly. However, dental bridges are not indestructible. They may break or fracture over time, which can be frustrating for dental patients, especially if they don’t know why their dental bridge broke in half.

What are Dental Bridges?

You should know how dental bridges work to understand how & why your bridge broke in half. A dental bridge is a dental restoration that replaces a missing tooth or teeth. It consists of two dental crowns and a false tooth (pontic) in between. The false tooth fills the missing tooth gap, and the dental crowns are cemented onto the neighboring natural teeth (abutment teeth) by dental bonding material to support the bridge.

When you chew on the false tooth, the force transfers from the dental bridge to neighboring natural teeth. High chewing forces can crack, break, or make your bridge lose. Learn more about the different bridge types in dentistry.

A traditional dental bridge
A traditional dental bridge consists of two crowns and a false tooth (pontic) in between.

My Dental Bridge Broke in Half, Why?

Dental bridges are strong and durable but can break for several reasons. Here are some possible reasons why your dental bridge cracked or broke in half:

  • Long missing teeth gap: The longer the gap, the more false teeth are used, the greater the deflection and stress on the dental bridge. The deflection of the dental bridge could be the cause that broke your bridge in half. Compared to a single false tooth, the deflection is 8 times greater with 2 false teeth and 27 times greater with 3 false teeth. The longer the gap of missing teeth, the greater the deflection of the dental bridge.
  • Teeth grinding & clenching: They could make your dental bridge weak & prone to breakage.
  • Poor oral habits: Poor habits like chewing on a pen or opening soda cans with your teeth can break and fracture your dental bridge.
  • Improper dental hygiene: Natural teeth that support the bridge are susceptible to tooth decay and periodontal disease (gum disease), which can reduce the stability of the bridge and make it break easily.
  • Injury: Falling on an object or getting hit in the face can break the dental bridge.
  • Wrong Bridge Type: Types such as cantilever and Maryland bridges are not suitable for back teeth and places with high chewing force.
  • Laboratory errors in the fabrication: This may occur due to some mistakes during the fabrication, such as low bridge thickness, poor dental material selection, or wrong fabrication technique, which can affect the longevity of the dental bridge.
A dental bridge broke in half due to great deflection
The longer the span of missing teeth, the greater the deflection of the dental bridge.

What To Do If My Bridge Broke in Half?

If you have a loose bridge or your dental bridge broke in half, contact your dentist as soon as possible. At the dental office, your dentist will remove the broken bridge from your mouth and try to identify the underlying causes of the breakage.

Once the broken bridge is removed, your dentist will assess the condition of the abutment teeth (the teeth that support the bridge) to ensure they are still healthy and strong. If there are any dental issues with the abutment teeth, your dentist may need to address those before placing a new one.

Dental bridges broke in half can’t be repaired and must be replaced. So, your dentist will take dental impressions and send them to the dental laboratory to make a new one. Your dentist may make a temporary bridge to replace your broken bridge while waiting for the permanent one.

Temporary bridges, also known as acrylic bridges, are commonly used to temporarily restore the function and appearance of your smile and prevent complications until the permanent bridge is ready.

During the next dental appointment, your dentist will remove the temporary bridge and clean the temporary cement from the abutment teeth.

Then, your dentist will proceed with the placement of the new permanent bridge. This process typically involves using dental cement bonding material to permanently secure the bridge to the abutment teeth.

What are Other Treatment Options If My Bridge Broke In Half?

First, you have to know why your bridge broke in half to prevent this from occurring again. For example, if your bridge failed because of years of dental neglect, maintaining good dental hygiene habits, regular checkups, and professional teeth cleaning will help prevent another failure.

These are alternative treatments when a dental bridge breaks in half:

  • Dental Implants: If you have 3 or more missing teeth on one side, your dentist may recommend dental implants to support the bridge. This will reduce the deflection and stress on the restoration. However, the implant-supported bridge costs are high compared to traditional bridges.
  • Solid zirconia bridges: They are stronger than porcelain-fused-to-metal bridges and suitable for patients with teeth grinding.
  • Traditional bridges: Use the traditional design of bridges to replace missing teeth in places with high chewing force. Cantilever and Maryland bridges are not suitable for places with high, direct pressure.
  • Removable partial dentures: If dental implants or bridges are not suitable for you, your dentist may suggest using removable partial dentures. These dentures consist of artificial teeth attached to a gum-colored acrylic base. Partial dentures are supported by metal clasps attached to the neighboring teeth. While they may not offer the same stability as dental implants and bridges, they can provide a functional and affordable solution for replacing missing teeth.

Caring for Your New Dental Bridge

Here are some dental care tips to prevent dental bridge issues and maintain healthy teeth:

  • Maintain dental hygiene: Bridges need proper dental care to make them last longer. Brush your teeth, floss, and use dental products such as mouthwash and fluoride toothpaste to keep your oral health good and protect the dental bridge from decay.
  • Nightguard: If you have teeth-grinding, it is recommended to use a nightguard to protect your teeth and bridge.
  • Avoid dental injuries: Falling on an object or getting hit in the face can break your dental bridge. So, use a mouthguard when playing sports, doing exercise, or working with heavy equipment that could injure you.
  • Make regular dental visits: Regular checkups are important for oral health. So, visit the dentist at least once every 6 months for regular checkups and professional teeth cleaning to avoid dental disease.

Dental Bridge Broke in Half – Conclusion

If your dental bridge broke or fractured in half, it is recommended to contact your dentist as soon as possible. Broken bridges can’t be repaired and are usually replaced with new ones. Your dentist will remove the broken bridge and try to identify why it broke. Also, they may recommend alternative treatments in places with high chewing forces, such as dental implants and zirconia bridges.

Several factors can affect the longevity of dental restorations such as teeth grinding or clenching, poor oral hygiene, or injury. To prevent this problem again in the future, maintain good oral health with regular checkups at least once every six months and avoid accidents by using a mouthguard while playing sports or working with heavy equipment.

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