Choosing Between A Fixed Bridge And A Resin Bonded Bridge

When damage or age causes you to lose a few teeth, you need something to fill the gap both to restore your smile and to keep the other teeth from shifting position. Bridges are more affordable and come with fewer complications than implants, but not all bridges are the same. Find out the differences between bridges permanently bonded to the surrounding teeth and those attached with resin.

Lifespan Of The Prosthetic

The biggest different between the two types of bridges lies in the lifespan of the piece. Fixed bridges are better anchored to the healthy teeth next to the gap, so they usually last at least 5 years and up to 15 with proper oral hygiene and good luck. Most permanent bridge failures that occur before the decade mark occur due to a basic chewing mistake that cracks the device or decay in the teeth supporting the piece.

In contrast, resin bonded bridges need to be replaced every few years. If you don't get the short-term equipment replaced on time, the space between the metal support of the resin bridge and the supporting tooth traps food and creates advanced decay.

Aesthetic Appeal

On the aesthetic front, both types of bridges look about the same. Since they're anchored with relatively similar methods, the false tooth looks more realistic than a partial denture or another removable prosthesis. The bridge fits seamlessly over the gum line. Covering the gum tissue with a bridge also stops it from shrinking and leaving a visible gap, which is a common problem with partial dentures that rub against the soft tissue. The only difference becomes visible if the metal anchoring wings are placed incorrectly by the dentist so that the dark metal peeks out from behind the teeth.

Effect On Healthy Teeth

Worried about a bridge doing damage to the rest of your teeth when you're trying to fill just the gap left by a single missing tooth? While permanent bridges are safe and have a proven track record, it's undeniable that the dentist has to shave down the supporting teeth to anchor the device. Resin bonded bridges are cemented to the backs of the surrounding teeth with little to no grinding or removal of enamel and dentin. While most of the teeth acting as supports for permanent bridges stay intact and whole for the lifespan of the prosthesis, there are minor risks of issues like

  • exposed nerves that cause pain when putting pressure on the teeth, which requires a root canal to repair,
  • accelerated decay, especially if the bridge has a tiny gap in it that lets food and bacteria under the caps, and
  • weakness of the anchoring teeth, if too much dentin is removed due to a tight fit.

Durability For Chewing

Are you concerned about your bridge breaking while you're biting down on a crunchy piece of toffee? Fixed bridges are definitely more stable when it comes to chewing on sticky, hard, and fibrous foods. Resin bonded bridges are fairly break resistant when installed in the front of the mouth where the forces are relatively light, but they're prone to cracking and potentially damaging the surrounding teeth when installed among the molars. 

Long-Term Sensitivity

Finally, consider the possibility of long-term sensitivity to hot and cold when choosing a bridge. The surface bonding method rarely causes these kinds of issues because the healthy teeth stay intact, even if the resin is later removed in order for the dentist to install a different dental device. In contrast, fixed bridges are prone to creating these kinds of mild sensitivities because of the shaping of the underlying teeth. Toothpaste for treating sensitivity may not help either if the active ingredient, potassium nitrate, can't reach the teeth because they're capped with the bridge.

For more information, consider contacting a professional like those at Rose City Dental Care.