If you develop decay under a dental bridge, if it is unsightly due to fractured porcelain, if your bridge loosened as the result of periodontal (gum) disease or if a dark metal border appears at the top of your crowns due to recession, it is time to have your bridge replaced. The steps involved in constructing a new bridge or remaking an old bridge are similar.
Schedule an appointment for X-rays and an examination. Explain to your dentist your reasons for wanting to replace your dental bridge. If the dentist agrees that the problem necessitates replacement of the bridge, schedule a follow-up appointment to begin treatment.
Have your old bridge removed on your return visit to the dental office and the abutment teeth, the teeth used to support the bridge, re-prepped (filed down) for the new bridge. When the preps are completed, the dentist takes impressions of your teeth and sends the casts to the dental laboratory. According to Quality Dentistry, the laboratory technician uses the casts to construct the underlying structure, or the metal framework, for your new bridge. This is the initial step in the process.
Have impressions taken for a transitional bridge during the same visit in which your teeth are prepared for the new bridge. The dentist temporarily cements the transitional bridge in place until your new bridge is completed. This temporary bridge is for cosmetic purposes as well as to keep your teeth from shifting. It has limited functionality.
Return to the dental office within approximately one to two weeks to try in the metal framework for your new bridge. At this time, the dentist makes any necessary adjustments and sends the framework back to the dental lab to have the porcelain baked on. Some dentists skip this step and go straight to insertion of the completed bridge. The dentist makes this decision on an individual basis depending upon the overall health and physical make-up of the patient's mouth.
Return to the dental office in about one week to have your new bridge temporarily cemented. The condition of your teeth, the supporting structures and the fit of the bridge determine how long your new bridge remains temporarily cemented. Sensitivity is one factor that delays permanent cementation until the problem subsides.
Keep your scheduled appointments until any problems with your new bridge are rectified. Maintain your new bridge with proper oral hygiene, including flossing, and by visiting your dentist every six months for an examination and cleaning.