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Do I REALLY Need to Replace This Dental Bridge?

I have a dental bridge on my lower right to replace a lost tooth. I initially thought about getting a dental implant but my dentist suggested the bridge would be less expensive. Now he is saying the one of the teeth holding the bridge is broken and I need to replace the entire unit. If I have no pain and no symptoms, do I really need to replace this? Is there another option?


Dear Jeremy,

Illustration of a dental bridge versus a dental implant

You’ve brought up one of the many benefits of dental implants over a dental bridge. If an adjacent tooth to the replacement is damaged it has no impact on the dental implant. With a bridge, that is not the case. The only reason I can think of that he steered you toward a bridge instead is that he doesn’t have dental implant training and did not want you going somewhere else.

That being said, I am a bit sceptical of your dentist’s diagnosis here. You have no pain. If a tooth was broken, you would be very likely to have some pain, especially when you bite down. Generally, the solution to a broken or fractured tooth that can be saved is a dental crown, so why is this one suddenly damaged when it already has that protection. Plus, replacing the bridge would only be necessary if the tooth had to be extracted, which means you would now need a longer bridge. That is another crown on a healthy tooth, with even more strain on it.

I would not consider this a dental emergency especially since you do not have any symptoms. My recommendation is for you to get a second opinion before following through with this. Don’t tell Dentist B who Dentist A is or what he said. They may know each other and you don’t want Dentist B feeling pressured to not contradict his pal. Instead, just go and say, I am seeking a second opinion on the lower right side of my mouth. If he asks you what the previous diagnosis was or who the dentist was, just explain you don’t want to prejudice his diagnosis in any way and just want a blind second opinion. He or she should not have a problem with that.

This blog is brought to you by Moline Dentist Dr. Thomas Goebel.