Can You Reuse A Dental Bridge After You Have Removed It?

A dental bridge can last many years if you practice good oral hygiene. But in some cases, dentists may need to remove a dental bridge to treat a condition like dental decay or looseness. These conditions are urgent, and removal of the affected bridge is often necessary to treat them.

But can you reuse a dental bridge after your dentist has removed one? It depends on the reason for removal and how the bridge is removed.

Loose Bridges Can Be Reused Sometimes

One of the most common reasons to remove a dental bridge is looseness. When a bridge loosens, the pontic lifts and traps food underneath it as you eat. This can cause infection and inflammation of the gum tissue. The crowns holding a bridge in place can also loosen over time, as the cement or bonding material holding them in place degrades.

Dentists will usually remove the bridge and check the area underneath for tooth decay or gum disease. Once they have done that, they then replace the bridge using cement or bonding. If the crown is very loose, removal should be easy, and no damage will occur to the crown.  

Broken Bridges Cannot Be Reused

Removing a dental bridge can sometimes prove very difficult without doing damage to the bridge. One technique that dentists use to remove dental bridges is tapping. A dentist taps the crown holding the bridge, and if done gently, they may be able to remove a crown and bridge without damaging them.

But dental bridges sometimes break if the cement holding them in place is still strong. And in some cases, the removal of a bridge can damage the support teeth that keep the bridge stable in the bite. In both cases, your dentist will need to make a new dental bridge.

Decay-Affected Bridges Cannot Be Reused

Dental bridges rely on the natural teeth beside them for support. Traditional dental bridges, for instance, rely on dental crowns that fit over the teeth adjacent to a missing tooth. One or more crowns sit over a supporting tooth, held in place by a strong bonding or cement. But dental decay can creep along the margins of a dental crown if you don't practice good oral health.

Because tooth decay can spread under a dental crown, your dentist will need to remove your crown to ensure that decay hasn't damaged the tooth under the crown. If tooth decay has altered the supporting tooth, then your current crown will no longer fit adequately. Your dentist will need to remove the decay, then fashion a new dental crown to fit over the supporting tooth.