Asian man holding the side of his face portraining dental bridge pain

Why Does My Temporary Bridge Make My Face and Jaw Hurt?

Although the bridge was still comfortable, my dentist recommended replacing it before I began to have problems. She took impressions of my mouth and placed a temporary bridge. But I take ibuprofen every day because the bridge hurts. The entire left side of my mouth and jaw hurt. It hurt to speak and chew more than anything, and my gums are slightly swollen.

My dentist took x-rays and said they look okay. But she cannot explain my pain. Of course, I am not allowing my dentist to request the final bridge because this temporary bridge hurts so bad. My dentist recommended an endodontist, but I do not have an appointment until early next month. Based on my description, why would a temporary bridge cause ongoing pain? Thank you. Lyle from Rhode Island


Thank you for your question. One of our dentists would need to examine your bridge, teeth, and x-rays for an accurate diagnosis. But we will explain three factors that might cause a temporary bridge to hurt.

Why Would a Temporary Bridge Hurt?

A temporary bridge can hurt because your teeth are sensitive after preparation or irritated by bacteria, or the bridge is not in the optimal position.

  • Sensitive teeth after preparation – Placing a bridge requires shaving down teeth on the sides and top so the ends of the bridge will fit over them. Teeth prepared for a bridge can ache, be sensitive to cold and hot temperatures, food, and drinks. Removing a bridge and preparing teeth from one are traumatic events.
  • Irritation from bacteria – If a dentist finds decay beneath a bridge or its components, bacteria could have infected and irritated your teeth.
  • Bridge position – If a bridge does not fit well, it can affect your bite. When you eat, the opposite teeth (upper or lower) can hit the bridge teeth harder than normal and make them ache. You can feel jaw or neck pain and get headaches, too.

Referring You to a Root Canal Specialist

When a dentist cannot identify the cause of your pain, they may refer you to a root canal specialist (endodontist). The endodontist will examine your teeth and possible x-ray and test their sensitivity.

Although some dentists delay making the permanent bridge, others place it with temporary cement. It gives the dentist time to observe your teeth and see if the sensitivity resolves. An x-ray will show whether the tissue inside the tooth is infected or died and requires root canal treatment. And a root canal specialist can help your dentist find the cause of your pain.

Best wishes for a progressive recovery.

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