A dental bridge can last for many years. However, it is important to care for the appliance properly in order to avoid potential problems. Here are some of the things you can do to ensure the longevity of your bridge.
Brush and Floss Regularly
A dental bridge cannot decay like a natural tooth. However, it is still important to brush and floss properly around the appliance. This includes threading floss between the false tooth or teeth of the bridge and the gums.
Bits of food that become caught between the gums and the appliance can cause gingival inflammation. In addition, bacteria may become trapped in the area, causing a gum infection.
Brushing and flossing also help keep the teeth that are covered by the bridge crowns in good shape. When a bridge crown is first attached to a tooth that borders the gap from the missing teeth, the crowns may appear to be flush with the gums. However, there may still be enough space to allow bacteria and plaque to have access to any exposed tooth material. This is especially the case as the gums begin to recede with age.
If a tooth that lies beneath a bridge crown decays and requires extraction, the bridge has to be removed. In some cases, the appliance may be reinstalled after the placement of a dental implant. However, many problems with the bridge could be avoided with proper brushing and flossing.
Rinse with an Antibacterial Mouthwash
Mouthwash can improve the smell of your breath, but it can also help reduce the potential for oral infections and gum problems by killing the bacteria in your mouth. Severe gum disease can cause bone and tooth loss. A tooth that is covered by a bridge crown is not exempt from issues related to periodontal disease.
Still, many antibacterial mouth rinses are alcohol-based. These rinses do kill bacteria. However, they may also dry out the mouth. As a result, it is best to use a mouthwash with another antimicrobial agent, such as chlorhexidine.
Wear a Night Guard
If you grind your teeth at night, your dentist has probably already recommended a night guard. The guard protects both your teeth and your dental work.
The force experienced by your teeth and dental appliances as you grind your teeth at night can be large enough to crack or break components of a dental bridge. Bridge crowns are often made of porcelain-over-metal. If the porcelain chips away, the metal of the crowns is exposed, making the bridge less attractive.
If you would like to learn more ways to protect your dental bridge, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area, such as Scott W. Murphy, D.M.D., P.A..