Like any dental restoration, it is important to keep the area around a dental bridge clean so that new decay or gum disease does not develop around this large restoration. Unlike other types of treatments, bridges require some additional steps for effective oral care, because they affect more than one tooth under a single restoration.
Bridges span from one tooth, across an open space, to another tooth. That means food and bacteria can accumulate under the bridge as well as under the gum pockets on the interior surfaces of the teeth that support the bridge. Because of this, bridge teeth are more susceptible to recurrent tooth decay, bone loss and periodontal disease if not cared for properly. Cleaning them routinely each day is essential for the long term life of the teeth and the bridge.
To clean under the bridge, most dentists recommend using a floss threader to weave floss under the bridge and through to the other side. Then the floss should be wrapped around each tooth and slid up and down under the gums, across the bottom of the bridge, and in the gum pocket of the other tooth. Other types of oral hygiene devices that can clean areas under the bridge include water flossers or proxa brushes (when there is excess space under the bridge.)
The better you care for your bridge and the supporting teeth, the longer it will function for you. Routine preventive cleanings can help screen for problems and remove tartar buildup from areas that are more difficult to reach. If you have problems cleaning your bridge, ask your hygienist about different techniques or tools available to access these unique restorations.
Posted on behalf of Dr. David Janash, Park South Dentistry
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