Removing a Cemented Bridge without Destroying the Implants?

Dr. G. asks:
I recently cemented a 3-unit bridge on #20-18 replacing #19 with a pontic. I need to remove the bridge to send it back to the lab for a correction. I am reluctant to attempt to remove it with a hydraulic hammer or hook. I am afraid this may either fracture the dental implant or abutment or pull the implant our of the bone. Does anybody have a technique for getting off a cemented bridge without destroying it or the implants?

17 thoughts on “Removing a Cemented Bridge without Destroying the Implants?

  1. SFOMS says:

    Dr. G.,

    Obviously, this is one major disadvantage of cementing a restoration, there is no easy way of retrieving the prosthesis safely. You can drill thru the occlusal and find the abutment screws (if your abutments do have screws) to back out, leaving the abutments in the crown and screwing them back in and covering the holes with resin/composite. Otherwise, you may have to sacrifice your restoration.

  2. Dutchy says:

    If you didn’t use temporary cement or implant cement like premier cement what I assume, maybe you can drill a whole through the crowns of your brigde when you use the srews for the abutments. You can unscrew your abutments with the bridge in one piece and put on the cover screws for the time your technician needs to repair the bridge. Good luck

  3. DrAshish says:

    Hi ,Drill a hole through the implants into the screw .Use X-rays to get the right orientation.A good idea would be to place a cotton pledget in the screw so that you get a drop like Pulp chamber in case yo want to revisit the area.Open up the screw and Crowns /Bridge will come out with the abutment.

  4. Dr. P. says:

    I would agree with the previous comments; try to access the abutment screws through the occlusal portion of the crowns. If you can achieve this with small access holes, you should be able to close the access holes with resin / composite. Depending upon your patient, this may not be acceptable to them in which case, you will need to have a new restoration made. If this is the case, I would take an impression of the existing bridge as it currently is in the patients mouth, section off the bridge with care not to damage the underlying abutments, take any necessary impressions/bite and fabricate a transitional restoration with luxatemp or the like using your staring impression as a stent.

  5. Dr S says:

    If you did not use temp cement ..cut it off and start again
    I for one ,would not accept damaged goods on a new bridge

    Cement retained is all I do pretty much and so temp cement is standard for the first weeks
    When every body is happy I torque the screws again and use zinc polycarboylate
    If however the abutments are long and several and retention is good I stick to temp cement

    If the bridge needs “servicing’ after a long period of time then I would tap it off like I would for a regular tooth.
    I never use resin cement for Implants

    Althoughy you could remove the bridge as described I assure you patient will not be a happy camper

  6. Mark Dallamora says:

    Another option would be to cut a slot on the palatal collars of the bridge abutments right at the interface with the collars of the fixtures. The slot should be just big enough to place “bladed ” instrument similar to a flat screw driver. All you would have to do is twist the instrument in the slot, this should apply sufficient force to crack the cement and remove the bridge. This method does’nt apply any sudden force to the implants in any way.
    If this does’nt work, then you will have to cut the bridge off. The lab would be able to restore the collar with solder.
    Good luck.

  7. L. Scott Brooksby,DDS, DICOI says:

    this is the reason that I make screw retained crowns and bridges whenever possible. It does require you to have good soldering techniques as the precision is imperative. Then if you have a problem at anytime you unscrew and fix.

    I also use dycal as my permanent cement. This is strong, yet with ultrasonics, and some gentle banging, I can usually get it off if I was forced to use a cemented restoration.

  8. peter Shieh says:

    cutting off the bridge may not be a good idea because it will nick the abutment.If temp bond was used it can be tapped out without much problem.If permanent cement was used drill through the crowns & unscrew the crowns withthe abutments as one unit, then the crowns can be separated from the abutment by heating it over a flame & when warm pull them apart with a hemostat.But ther is a chance that the porcelain may flake if the flame is too hot

  9. Elianne J. Sorel says:

    I have been through several years of peridontal work..I had a three piece bridge put over three implants on my upper right side……..The bridge was defective and a piece broke off the edge…….The dentist tired to have the lab make a piece and bonded it in place……well the piece fell out and he is going to attempt to remove the bridge without harming my implants……I would like to be as informed as I can on different procedures that area available….I do know that he used a small ratchet like tool to put the studs in over the implants when the healing caps were removed……I am worried about the drill overheating the bone etc….can you give me some place to research different techniques used..thanks

  10. R. Hughes says:

    Use a highspeed hand piece to cut off the bridge. The use of alot of water will reduce the chance to overheat the bone. Do not tapp off the bridge, unless the cementation is defective.

  11. says:

    These are all good comments & I agree with most. Yes CBCT devices are expensive and one must weigh the cost/benefit for your patients. There is a new movement towards Mobile CBCT units that will come to your office and scan your patients, provide you with a report by a Dental Radiologist and give you the images in print and on a CD. I believe that this service is beneficial for your patients as well as your practice

  12. Lucille says:

    I have a pontic on the upper left side of my mouth. There is only one tooth in the middle that is supporting the entire pontic or maybe it is a bridge. It is loose and needs to come off to see if there is something wrong with the tooth underneath. . . the problem is it will NOT come off . . . my dentist, a good one, is having a difficult time removing it . . I had two visits for a total of 3 hrs. trying to remove it without destroying it . . . I am hoping it could be done as I do not need another expense. Is there someone who can help. Thank you

  13. Daley Jean says:

    I have a cavity under a 4 tooth bridge. I just cant afford to have another bridge made. Is there any product to help loosen the cement so that it can be removed, problem fixed, and bridge reput back in. Bridges come loose quite a bit, so how can I loosen this one. It is on the top left hand side of my teeth.
    Thank you

  14. Linda says:

    I had a temporary bridge that would not come off, it had to be drilled off (took 3 hours) and when the new gold bridge was placed it had to be drilled in several places to fit. Is this normal? The bridge feels alright but I am concerned I could have problems in the future.

  15. Lawrence says:

    Yes, I have the instrument you need. It’s called the Higa Bridge Remover. It holds the preparation in place while lifting up on the bridge. In your situation, you should drill a small aperture in both retainers until you reach the cement covering your implants and then use the instrument to loosen both retainers with no trauma or discomfort to your patient. In your case, loosen one at a time.

    Here’s a link

  16. mary says:

    i have bridge work , and the tooth needs to come out , it seems very loose , and just hanging down that you can see all the black , is that the bridge ,, sometimes i cannot even bite on it , my dentist dosent seem to want to take it out , is it realy that much trouble ,, now im getting scared , any advice ,Ireland

    • Lawrence says:

      Regardless of what you do going forth, the bridge will have to be removed. I can see why he’s avoiding it as this is a tough case but the longer you take, the worse it’s going to be.


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