My dentist thought it was time to replace my dental bridge before it broke. I’ve had the bridge since 2007. It was comfortable, but my dentist said I should replace it before it wears out. I am wearing a temporary bridge and have been taking ibuprofen since I got it. The bridge makes the left side of my mouth and jaw hurt. Whenever I talk or eat, the pain is intense. Even after taking x-rays, my dentist cannot explain my pain. I am afraid of how long I will need to wear a temporary bridge because I will not approve a final bridge unless the temporary one fits well. Is it normal for a temporary bridge to cause ongoing pain? Ismael from Austin, TX


Thank you for your question. Dr. Lim would need to examine your bridge, teeth, and x-rays for an accurate diagnosis. But we will explain factors that can cause discomfort with a temporary bridge.

Laser dentistry can used to remove hard to reach plaque.

Why Would a Temporary Bridge Hurt?

A temporary bridge may hurt if your teeth are sensitive after preparing them or dental crowns if you have an infection. Also, the bridge position can cause discomfort. Consider the factors:

  • Sensitive teeth after preparation – Before placing a bridge, your dentist must shave down two natural teeth that the bridge will fit over for support. After preparation, the teeth can ache and become sensitive to cold and hot foods and drinks.
  • Irritation from bacteria – Bacteria from decay beneath an old dental bridge or its components can linger and cause irritation and discomfort.
  • Bridge position – A bridge that does not fit well can affect your bite. When you chew, the teeth opposite the bridge (upper or lower) can hit the crowns in the bridge harder than usual and create sensitivity. Your symptoms may include jaw pain, neck pain, or headaches.

Referring You to a Root Canal Specialist

If your dentist cannot determine why your jaw hurts, they can refer you to an endodontist (root canal specialist). The specialist will x-ray and examine your teeth and conduct a sensitivity test. An x-ray will show whether the tooth pulp is infected and requires root canal treatment.