what is dental bridge?
Dental bridges are an attractive option to cover gaps left by any missing teeth. These helpful prosthetics fill the space where one or more of your teeth used to be. Unlike dentures, they can’t be removed from your mouth and are secured onto your surrounding teeth.
Your dentist can cover teeth lost from disease or accidental damage with dental bridges. This feature means they could be a great solution to most missing teeth you have, whatever the cause. However, it’s a requirement that the surrounding teeth or implants be healthy and have adequate bone support.
Bridges made from porcelain and ceramic often match your natural teeth. Materials for dental bridges vary by location, function, appearance, and cost.
Helpful fact: False teeth in a bridge are also called pontics. The natural teeth the bridge is secured to are known as abutments
What Is the Dental Bridge Procedure?
Because the procedure involves multiple steps, installing a dental bridge takes more than one dental visit.
These are the steps typically taken to implant a traditional bridge:
The dentist injects a local anesthetic into your gum near the site of the future bridge.
The dentist prepares the supporting teeth through shaping by making room for a crown to be placed over them.
The dentist creates an impression of your teeth.
The dentist creates a temporary bridge or crown to protect your mouth. In contrast, a bridge is custom-made by a laboratory.
The dentist removes your temporary bridge or crown and fits your new, permanent bridge.
To ensure a perfect fit, the dentist may secure the bridge with cement for several weeks before permanent placement.
Ask your dentist to see if a dental bridge is right for you and how it should fit.
The tooth replacement (pontic) is connected to the crowns.
With the freedom to chew all sorts of foods comes the responsibility for cleaning the dental bridge well! Here, we’ll share why it’s important to clean your bridge properly and provide some tips on how to take care of your bridge.
How To Care For Your Dental Bridge
Dental bridges are a great, permanent solution for replacing missing teeth. You don’t have to deal with the inconvenience of having to remove dentures to clean them every day, and bridges are more aesthetically pleasing and comfortable. However, dental bridges still require proper cleaning and maintenance every day.
A dental bridge is made up of two or more dental crowns that are placed on adjacent teeth (also known as abutments).
Why You Need To Clean A Dental Bridge
Although the fake tooth (pontic) is close to the gum surface above the missing tooth ridge, there are still micro gaps. Plaque and bacteria can continue to accumulate there. This can result in halitosis (i.e. bad breath) or dental disease to the supporting teeth (abutments).
When oral hygiene is not maintained, the teeth under the dental bridge can suffer from gum disease and tooth decay. This might result in the loss of the abutment teeth and the bridge.
How To Clean A Dental Bridge?
1. Dental Tools You Can Use to Clean Under a Dental Bridge
As the bridges are joined, a floss cannot pass through between the teeth units within the bridge from the top (occlusal surface). Thus, you can’t floss between the bridge using regular floss.
It’s best to continue to clean under the bridge with a super floss, a floss threader, or an interdental brush. A water pick can also be used.
Floss Threader vs Interdental Brush vs Water Pick
Here, our dental hygienist shows you how to clean your dental bridge using a floss threader.
2. Brush Your Teeth As Usual
Of course, flossing should go hand-in-hand with brushing. Tooth brushing is usually done before the flossing to remove most of the plaque on your teeth. You should use a soft-bristled toothbrush in circular motions at a 45-degree angle towards the gum.
Oral hygiene maintenance for a dental bridge is very simple, with many easy-to-use aids available as mentioned above. Patients do not report a significant increase in the time spent on their oral hygiene maintenance routine.
What Should I Not Eat If I Have A Dental Bridge?
Generally, avoid biting hard food such as nuts, bone, or ice, especially if your bridge is made of ceramic (porcelain).
Cracking a hard sweet, or using your bridge to tear open a chip bag, can result in chipping or fracturing of the ceramic. A damaged dental bridge will need to be replaced.
Other than hard foods, the bridge should be and can be used as natural teeth. You can enjoy your favorite steak, or bite into an apple without worrying about the bridge dislodging (unlike removable dentures). Being able to enjoy a variety of foods is one of the greatest advantages of getting a dental bridge.
Maintaining Your Dental Bridge with Regular Cleans and Checkups
You should visit a dentist twice a year for a professional clean by a dentist or dental hygienist. That’s because dental calculus (hardened dental plaque that contains bacteria) builds up around your teeth and bridge, and cannot be removed by normal tooth brushing or flossing.
Therefore, getting scaling and polishing helps prevent dental or gum diseases.
Aside from cleaning, you should also visit your dentist regularly to assess the health of your bridge. This way, they can detect early problems with your bridge, to ensure your bridge stays healthy.
It is important to clean your dental bridge to prevent infections. Since a dental bridge is permanent, you cannot remove it to clean it.
Choose an easy-to-use aid such as a floss threader, super floss, interdental brush, or water pick for your dental bridge. You can discuss the options with your dentist, and ask them to show you how to use them on your bridge.
Other than good oral hygiene, make sure you avoid hard foods. Do visit the dentist regularly for dental checks and cleaning. If you’re due for your next dental appointment or need help with a dental bridge, book an appointment with our friendly dentists today.
We love our patients and love to help them form a healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions so get an appointment today.