March 12, 2024

What Signs Indicate an Infection in a Dental Bridge?

Maintaining the health of a dental bridge is essential to prevent future complications, and recognizing the early signs of infection can help you preserve your oral health. Continue reading to learn how to identify signs of an infection in a dental bridge.

Understanding Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are prosthetic devices used in restorative dentistry to replace missing teeth. They bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth, restoring both function and aesthetics to your smile. 

By anchoring to neighboring natural teeth or dental implants, bridges provide stability and support, allowing individuals to chew, speak, and smile with confidence. Each type of bridge offers unique advantages and considerations, and a dentist can determine the most appropriate option for your specific circumstances.

Traditional Bridges

These consist of one or more pontics (artificial teeth) supported by dental crowns on adjacent natural teeth, known as abutments. Traditional bridges are suitable when there are natural teeth adjacent to the gap left by missing teeth.

Cantilever Bridges

In cases where only one adjacent tooth is available to support the bridge, a cantilever bridge may be used. This type of bridge extends from the pontic on one side of the gap, with the artificial tooth anchored to the adjacent natural tooth.

Maryland Bonded Bridges

Also known as resin-bonded bridges or Maryland bridges, these bridges consist of a metal or porcelain framework bonded to the back of adjacent teeth using resin. Maryland bridges are often used when the missing tooth is in the front of the mouth.

Implant-Supported Bridges

When multiple adjacent teeth are missing, or when the adjacent teeth are not healthy enough to support a traditional bridge, implant-supported bridges may be recommended. These dental bridges are anchored to implants placed in the jawbone, providing a stable foundation for the restoration.

Signs of Infection in a Dental Bridge

Pain or Discomfort

Pain or discomfort in the vicinity of the dental bridge, especially when chewing or biting down, may indicate an underlying infection.

Sensitivity to Pressure or Temperature

Increased sensitivity to pressure or temperature changes, such as cold or hot foods, is also indicative of infection.

Swelling and Inflammation

Red or inflamed gums next to the dental bridge may signal an underlying infection.

Pus or Discharge Around the Bridge

Pus or foul-smelling discharge around the bridge area is a clear indication of infection that should be addressed promptly.

Changes in Appearance or Function

A dental bridge that feels loose or unstable may suggest underlying issues such as infection or damage to the supporting structures.

Changes in Bite Alignment

If you have difficulty chewing, or discomfort when biting down, that is a strong indicator of infection.

Unpleasant Taste or Odor

An unpleasant taste or odor originating from the dental bridge area may be a sign of bacterial infection or decay.

Persistent Bad Breath

Chronic bad breath that persists despite oral hygiene practices could be indicative of an infection in the dental bridge or underlying tissues.

Preventive Measures

Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings help maintain oral hygiene and prevent the buildup of plaque and bacteria around the bridge. Regular oral hygiene practices such as brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using antimicrobial mouthwash help prevent bacterial buildup and reduce the risk of infection. You should also avoid chewing on hard objects, using teeth as tools, or clenching or grinding teeth to help preserve the integrity of dental bridges and reduce the risk of damage or infection.

What to Do If You Suspect an Infection

If you suspect an infection in your dental bridge or experience any of the aforementioned signs or symptoms, contact your dentist immediately for evaluation and treatment. They will be able to examine it and give you treatment recommendations.

Treatment Options for Infected Dental Bridges

In cases of infection, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to control the spread of infection and alleviate symptoms. If the infection is severe or if the integrity of the dental bridge is compromised, removal and replacement of the bridge may be necessary to restore your oral health.

Depending on the underlying cause of the infection, additional dental procedures such as root canal therapy, periodontal treatment, or implant placement may be required to address the issue.

Knowing the signs of an infection in a dental bridge and promptly treating infections in dental bridges is essential to prevent further complications and preserve oral health and function. Contact our office today if you or someone you know is considering dental bridges.