Dental bridges can offer natural-looking results for patients who have experienced tooth loss. But daily life with a dental bridge can take some time to get used to. Eating, speaking, and brushing your teeth will probably feel a little different. Usually, patients must adjust the most to cleaning their new dental bridge; the process for thoroughly cleaning and maintaining a bridge is quite different than for natural teeth. However, it’s important to learn proper maintenance early; keeping your bridge sparkling clean will not only improve its functionality and comfort, but can extend its life. (So think of your daily cleaning routine not just as a step in the right direction for your health—but for your pocketbook, too!) |
Your Cleaning Tool Kit
Right after receiving a fixed dental bridge, some patients may find it hard to clean underneath the bridge and “pontic” (the artificial tooth). We always recommend collecting the right dental tools that are specially designed to clean around dental appliances like bridges or braces. With practice, you can find yourself cleaning your bridge with ease in just a few days.
In the beginning, we recommend patients try out different cleaning methods and tools, to discover the technique that works most effectively for them:
• Interdental brush. These tiny bristled brushes look like a bit like miniature versions of toothbrushes. Interdental brushes are often used by patients with metal braces, to clean away food that gets trapped in the wires after eating. The brush’s soft, bendable bristles are deft at clearing away debris from hard-to-reach spots. Using one is quite simple—wriggle the brush gently underneath the dental bridge and move across the covered area of the gums to remove any leftover food or plaque build-up. Interdental brushes can be used after eating and as a part of your daily brushing routine.
• Floss threader. A nylon floss threader lets patients with dental bridges use traditional floss underneath their bridge. The tool looks a bit like an over-sized plastic needle. To use a floss threader, you must first pull off about 12 or 14 inches of dental floss. Then, you insert one end of the floss about six inches into the threader’s loop before gently placing the thread underneath the bridge. Carefully remove the threader, leaving the floss underneath the bridge. From there, you can gently pull the floss back and forth to remove any hidden debris.
• Oral irrigator. An oral irrigator is essentially a water-powered flossing tool. You may have heard them called “water picks.” These tools can be found at most drug stores, and cost anywhere from thirty to seventy dollars. The irrigator releases steady pulses of propelled water that can blast away water-soluble food particles and plaque buildup from teeth, gums, and bridges or crowns. Many patients find water flossing to be more comfortable than traditional flossing or interdental brushes, and it can be used throughout your entire mouth as an effective substitute for traditional floss. However, oral irrigators must be regularly charged, and can take up valuable bathroom counter space.
Skilled Restorative Dentistry in St. Louis, MO
When talking about proper bridge care, we can’t forget to mention that one of the best ways to keep a functional, like-new bridge is to stay on top of your entire oral health. Twice daily brushings, daily flossing, and routine trips to our St. Louis dental practice help your entire mouth—gums, teeth, and restorative treatments—stay healthy. Brushing twice a day, and flossing once, should be combined with bi-annual appointments with Dr. Mike Frith or Dr. Jeremy Frith and our experienced dental team. With the right at-home care, your bridge could last up to 15 years!
For more information on how to properly clean your dental bridge, or for help scheduling your appointment, contact our practice at 636.394.5200.
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