After a bridge restoration, slight discomfort can occur – from tenderness to loosening. We summarize the causes of dental bridge pain and show treatment options.
What is a dental bridge?
A bridge is a fixed denture that the dentist can use to fill a small to the medium-sized tooth gap. They attach a dental bridge to at least two abutment teeth (bridge anchors) that are next to a tooth gap. Between the bridge anchors, there are bridge members that replace the missing teeth. Bridges are firmly bonded to the remaining teeth. The patient himself cannot take them out.
Why can a bridge hurt?
Toothache can have different causes after bridge treatment:
- The bridge has loosened
- Pain from inflammation of the gums under the bridge
- Pain from tooth decay on the crown margin
- Teeth do not fit together properly
- The nerve inside the tooth is irritated, inflamed, or dead
Find out here how the different pains in the dental bridge arise and how the causes are treated.
1st cause: Dental bridge pain from loosening the bridge
A dental bridge should normally not move. If it feels flexible, either the abutment teeth are loose or the glue that connects the bridge and teeth has come loose.
Loose fit because the glue has loosened
If only the dental bridge moves, or if it can be removed from the teeth, the adhesive that connects the dentures and teeth has loosened. If the sensitive teeth are no longer protected under the bridge, a toothache can result from cold, warmth, and contact.
Attention: Please do not put the bridge loosely on your teeth. There is a risk of swallowing them. Go to your dentist as soon as possible. If nothing has broken off, he can quickly reattach it. For this, you usually must pay a small contribution, as the health insurance company only pays part of the costs.
The dental bridge is loose because the abutment teeth have loosened
If the bridge moves but you cannot pull it off your teeth, the abutment teeth may have loosened. Movement causes pain in the gums and jawbone. The walkers can loosen up when overloaded. If just a few teeth must support an exceptionally large bridge (for example two teeth hold three bridge units), they may not withstand this load.
Here, the dentist can remove the bridge and fill the excessively enormous gap with a removable denture.
2nd cause: Dental bridge pain because of inflammation of the gums
Toothache and tooth loosening are also caused by acute or chronic inflammation of the gums. Good care is especially important here. The gums under the pontic and around the bridge anchors must be cleansed regularly. If plaque and leftover food collect there, it can become infected and teeth can loosen.
We must treat acute gingivitis at the dentist. To prevent inflammation, there is dental floss with a reinforced end that can be pushed under the dental bridge. They should use this several times a week for cleaning.
With chronic inflammation of the gums, they must clean the teeth supporting structures (periodontitis treatment). This is supposed to fight the inflammation and prevent the gums and bones from receding and loosening. The receding bone also creates exposed tooth necks on crowns and bridges, which can be painful in cold and warm.
3rd cause: Dental bridge pain because of caries on the edge of the crown
Pain is not uncommon when a hole in the transition to the crown has formed. With small holes, the teeth are initially sensitive to cold and heat. Large holes can cause severe discomfort.
If the crown margin is no longer tight, we should remove the bridge. Only then can it be guaranteed that caries will be completely removed. After they have completed the filling therapy, they must make a new bridge.
4th cause: Dental bridge pain because teeth do not fit together properly
New dentures are often unfamiliar at the beginning. However, if you notice that other teeth do not fit together optimally while chewing, this can lead to strong pressure and pain on the bridge abutments. Here, the new bridge is still a bit too high, and the bite is not quite right.
Your dentist has a simple solution to this problem: He can grind a little so that all teeth come together evenly.
5th cause: Dental bridge pain from inflamed dental nerve inside
If teeth are ground down, heat develops despite the water cooling, which can irritate the tooth nerve. If it only irritates him, it becomes sensitive to cold and warmth. This subsides after days or weeks.
But if the pain gets worse and worse, the nerve has become infected and must be removed by a root canal treatment.
Teeth that are supplied with dental prostheses such as dental bridges or crowns can also have (deep) fillings before incorporating the dental prosthesis. If fillings are close to the nerve, it can become inflamed, even after it has been crowned. This causes a lot of pain. The affected tooth is overly sensitive to cold, heat, and touch. The dentist can now perform a root canal treatment and remove the inflamed tooth nerve. The dental bridge does not have to be removed for this. The dentist can drill a hole through the crown to access the nerve.
Deep fillings and the heat of grinding sometimes cause the tooth nerve to die without the patient or dentist noticing. Dead tooth nerves can lead to a feeling of pressure up to very severe pain and swelling. Here, too, your dentist will have to perform root canal treatment. If they cannot solve the problem with a root canal, the alternative is tooth extraction. However, dead dental nerves need not cause pain. They are often incidental findings on x-rays.
Our tip: Supplementary dental insurance can protect you from high treatment costs. Consider taking the dental supplementary dental insurance, which covers you retrospectively, even if treatment is already advisable, is already running or teeth are already missing.
When should you visit your dentist?
Please note that we strongly recommend a visit to the dentist in the event of severe pain. We can consider slight discomfort and sensitivity after grinding the teeth normally.
If the following symptoms occur, consult your dentist:
- Severe or increasing pain in cold or heat: the nerve is irritated or inflamed
- Severe pain when biting the bridge: the nerve may have died, and the jawbone has become infected
- The bridge is loose, you can pull it off your teeth, and it needs to be reattached
- The gums are swollen and/or bleed to the touch: your gums or jawbone have become infected
- You can see a hole in the crown’s edge or feel it with your tongue: we must remove the bridge to close the hole and avoid pain