Question: I have a three-tooth bridge that needs to be redone for the third time over a period of about 20 years. The dentists all say that I keep getting decay underneath. Is this normal? — Aunt “B” in Delray
Answer: All of us tooth docs wish that all dental work could last forever. (I thought the roof on my house would last forever; boy, was I wrong. That was some bill!)
The common treatment to replace a single missing tooth by crowning the adjacent teeth and stringing three crowns together has its limitations. Only a pair of dextrous hands can snake a floss threader underneath the fake tooth to clean out bacteria.
The area missing the tooth will continue to resorb, creating an increasingly larger gap that traps food leading to tooth decay.
Some reports state that these types of bridges have an average life of seven years. If you have enough bone in the area missing the tooth, discuss with your dentist the implant option. This will stop bone resorption and provide you with a single, floss-able crown that better mimics a natural tooth.
by Dr. Mitchell Josephs