Proper Care for Dental Bridges

Proper Care for Dental Bridges

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

A common misconception regarding dental bridges is that they don’t require care like natural teeth. In fact, the opposite is true. A bridge requires care, just like any natural teeth. If you’re not familiar with bridges or are considering one but aren’t sure how to care for it, here are some tips to ensure your smile not only is complete, but properly cared for.

What is a Bridge?

A dental bridge is another name for a fixed partial denture; it gets its name because of the way it spans – or bridges – the gap across missing teeth. When it comes to bridges, there are a number of options to choose from. The most common is made of ceramic or porcelain false teeth that are fused to a metal bridge. Natural teeth support the bridge on either end; these teeth are filed down to fit underneath the bridge. Bridges can also be anchored to the post of a dental implant. There is a cantilever bridge for patients who don’t have two teeth to anchor it. There’s also the “Maryland bridge,” which consists of a false tooth attached to a metal winged-strip that is cemented to the back of the remaining teeth on either side of the gap. With all these choices, bridges provide an attractive option to complete a smile.

Bridge Care: Dos and Don’ts

There are certain dos and don’ts associated with having a bridge. They include:

  • Do keep them clean.  Even though it is made from artificial material, bridges still must be maintained by cleaning under and around it with daily brushing. Flossing keeps the gums strong and healthy – ask your dentist for special flossers to get underneath the fake tooth. It is advisable to rinse with fluoride. Consider an irrigation device or water flosser that is as effective as string floss but more gentle in removing debris and plaque stuck up in nooks and crannies.
  • Don’t smoke or chew tobacco.  Smoking weakens your gums, can cause cancer and sores, and can stain teeth. And while one may get their teeth whitened, matching the color of natural and artificial teeth can be difficult, if nearly impossible. Best to avoid problems and cut out tobacco.
  • Do eat healthy. Sugary sweet and sticky foods can leave plaque on your teeth. Remember, your bridge is relying on its supporting teeth to be healthy. Maintaining a wholesome, healthy diet that is low in sugars and acidic foods will keep your remaining teeth healthy and strong enough to support your bridge.
  • Don’t chew ice or use your mouth to open bottles. Your bridge may seem indestructible; it’s not. Bridges can chip, break and loosen up over time. Don’t be overly aggressive in your crunching, biting or chewing. Likewise, be mindful when using your teeth for anything other than what they were intended for – chewing.
  • Do consider sleeping without your bridge. Some dentists advise their patients to sleep without their bridge, or wearing a night-guard if you are grind your teeth at night.
  • Don’t forget to take precautions. When cleaning your bridge, be sure to treat them with kid gloves. Fill the sink up with water or wash them over a towel to avoid the bridge from falling and cracking. If the bridge should become damaged, do not try to fix it yourself. Never wear a damaged bridge; contact your dentist immediately.

Caring for Your Natural Teeth

Even with attention and care, remember, if a tooth under the bridge fails, the bridge will fail as well. That can be a problem if one of the “anchor teeth” rots away. If an anchor tooth needs to be replaced, chances are you will need a new bridge or implant as there is no guarantee the bridge will be the same.

Why a Bridge?

For many, a bridge is the perfect option to fill in a smile. It’s typically cheaper than implants and will also help prevent remaining teeth from shifting out of alignment. A bridge can correct bite problems that develop from shifting teeth; it also can prevent the sunken face people without teeth have. Bridges can make eating a more pleasurable and natural experience. Plus, it feels good to be able to smile confidently and with pride. And with proper care and good dental practices, you can expect your bridge to last ten years or more! 

Time to Address Your Dental Issues

If you are tired of holding your hand over your mouth when you laugh or never smiling from dental issues, then you aren’t alone. Dr. Ari Binder and his team at 360 Dental are Eugene’s experts at preserving your dental health, from routine cleanings and exams and dental implants, to emergency and scheduled tooth extractions. Visit 360 Dental to achieve your most beautiful smile and enhance your confidence. Call Dr. Binder at (541) 689-1645 or click here to schedule your appointment today!