Dental Education Lecture: Bridge and Abscess
Mrs. Pang has had a 3-unit bridge (B1-3 in Fig.1). She lost a molar tooth at B3. Two natural teeth (at B1 and B2) were used to support the missing tooth. It is very difficult to clean underneath the fake tooth (red arrowheads). Also due to poor mechanic of this type of cantilever bridge, an infection is developing underneath the bridge, manifested as bone loss in two years (compare white arrowheads in Fig.1 and 2). One day, Mrs. Pang has a big abscess (* in Fig.3).
Therefore when we lose a tooth or more, it is not a good idea to fix with bridge. If it has been done, we should use special devices (such as small brush, threader and superfloss) to keep bridge clean, particularly underneath it. The better way to restore a missing tooth is to place an implant. When the bridge fails, it is the best to remove it and to place an implant.
Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 01/01/2010, last revision 09/28/2012