A dental bridge, when well cared for, can last well over 10 years. However, much like enamel, porcelain is brittle and prone to chipping when exposed to excessive force. For instance, if you grind your teeth at night, it won't be long until your bridge is affected. If you chip one of your abutment teeth or even the false tooth, then you need to take action before the damage worsens.
Just as with enamel, once a porcelain crown is chipped, it is much more likely to break. Fortunately, as long as the damage isn't too severe, you may not have to replace the entire crown.
Cosmetic Contouring is an Option
Provided the chip in your porcelain crown is minor, your dentist can polish the tooth in order to shorten it. This will smooth out the chip, however, the other teeth in the bridge may also need to be adjusted slightly. Otherwise, the difference in length or shape may be noticeable.
The Tooth Can Be Repaired
When a tooth is so badly chipped that cosmetic contouring might remove too much of the tooth's structure, composite bonding can be used to repair the tooth. A dentist can apply the composite resin to the damaged area and sculpt it into the desired shape. The resin can also be made to match the shade of your natural teeth and the other teeth that make up the bridge.
However, dental bonding is not as strong or stain-resistant as porcelain and so you will need to be aware of this fact in future. You may also need to redo the bonding once every few years as wear and tear will take its toll.
The Damage Can Be Covered with a Veneer
Although bonding porcelain to porcelain is difficult, if done right, the bond should be strong enough to hold for a few years at least. A cosmetic dentist will simply place a thin porcelain shell over the damaged area to disguise it. Because veneers and crowns are both composed of porcelain, the new veneer should blend in well with the porcelain crowns in the bridge.
Your Bridge Might Need Replacing
If the chip is substantial, the best thing to do is to replace the bridge. While this may be more expensive than the other options in the short term, in the long run, you will save money as you can get at least 10 years from a new dental bridge.
Have you chipped a tooth in your dental bridge? Get to a dentist quickly before the damage is made worse. If you grind your teeth at night, you should also consider wearing a nightguard to protect your dental bridge from further damage.