Oral Hygiene Routines for Dental Bridges
Dental bridges are effective at replacing missing teeth. However, having a bridge does not mean that you can neglect your oral hygiene. On the contrary, with a bridge, dental hygiene becomes even more important than before. However, you may have to learn new techniques for cleaning your dental bridge, as well as avoid some behaviors or activities that you commonly engaged in prior to your dental work.
Why is it important to maintain good oral hygiene with a bridge?
A bridge consists of one or more prosthetic teeth anchored to one or two abutment teeth on either side of the gap left by missing teeth. Traditionally, the bridge attaches to the abutment teeth with crowns that fit over them. An alternative, available in some situations, is attaching the bridge to abutment teeth with metal wings that are bonded to the back. In either case, you have to keep the abutment teeth clean to prevent them from developing decay. Otherwise, they may no longer be able to support the bridge, which could lead to its failure.
How long a bridge lasts depends partly on the material it is made out of. Metal bridges last the longest but are not very common because they do not blend in with the natural teeth. Bridges made of other materials may mimic the appearance of natural teeth but may not last as long. Nevertheless, taking care of a dental bridge can increase its life expectancy, and even bridges made of more fragile materials may last up to 10 years if well cared for.
How do you take care of your dental bridge?
Taking care of dental bridges includes being diligent about oral hygiene as well as avoiding things that could damage them. Knowing what to do and what not to do could make all the difference.
What to do
It is important to maintain your usual oral hygiene habits when you have a bridge. This means brushing your teeth, including the bridge, at least twice a day and flossing at least once daily. However, while the frequency of these tasks does not change, you may have to modify the techniques you use when cleaning your bridge.
There are no gaps between the prosthetic teeth of your bridge, nor are there gaps between the prosthetics and the abutment teeth. There is, however, a gap between the teeth and gums where food particles could get trapped. Therefore, you need to find a way to clean under your prosthesis.
There are several different methods you can use to clean under your bridge. You could clean under it with a dental pick or an interproximal brush. A dental pick is like a regular toothpick except that the tip is made of rubber. An interproximal brush has bristles arranged in such as way as to make them look like a Christmas tree. Both can be inserted underneath the bridge to remove any food that has become stuck there.
You can also use floss to clean under your bridge. It can be difficult to insert the floss under there on its own, but you can use a floss threader that you can insert under the bridge and use to pull the floss through.
In addition to daily oral hygiene, including special care for your bridge, you need to make regular visits to the dentist for routine cleanings and examinations. Your dentist can inspect your bridge and inform you whether you need a replacement.
What not to do
Avoid excessive intake of food and drinks that are acidic or that contain large amounts of sugar. These foods promote tooth decay, which is especially important to avoid when you have a bridge to avoid damage to the abutment teeth. Avoid eating or chewing on anything that could damage either the teeth or the bridge. Bridges can be damaged by sticky foods like caramel or hard foods such as nuts or popcorn kernels. Biting or chewing on ice can damage both your bridge and your natural teeth, so avoid this. The same is true of using your teeth as tools to tear off tags or open packages. You should never use your teeth this way, especially when you have a bridge.
Taking care of dental bridges helps them last longer. In addition to avoiding things that could damage your bridge as much as possible, maintaining oral hygiene is the most important thing. You may have to modify your habits to effectively clean your bridge.
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