When you're missing a tooth or several teeth, a cosmetic dentist may recommend a fixed bridge as a tooth replacement option. Fixed bridges are similar to a partial denture, but unlike dentures, they're not removable. The porcelain crowns that replace your missing teeth are secured in place by metal framework anchored to the surrounding teeth. Once your dentist installs your dental bridge, you'll want to take care of it so that it stays comfortably in place. Here are a few tips for maintaining your fixed bridge.
New Tooth-Cleaning Tools
The bridge and its framework means that you have all new places to clean in your mouth to clean. Plaque and food between the device and your teeth can cause decay and gingivitis, so you'll want to make sure that you have the tools you need to reach and clean these area. Orthodontic dental floss is one helpful option. Orthodontic floss is designed specifically to work around and underneath various dental appliances, like bridges. You'll notice that it's stiffer and less flexible than regular floss, which means it's less likely to cut your gums or get tangled up in your bridge.
Another option is an interdental toothbrush. These brushes were designed as an alternative to dental floss, and the small brushes come in a variety of sizes in order to remove plaque and debris from hard-to-reach places, like the areas around a dental device.
Keep Your Teeth White
Speaking of brushing your teeth, your bridge will need to be brushed every day along with your natural teeth to prevent staining and damage to the new crowns. When you buy new toothpaste, check the packaging and choose a toothpaste that's rated as non-abrasive. This will prevent wear on your new crowns and keep them looking bright and white to match your natural teeth.
You can also prevent staining by avoiding staining foods and beverages, like berries, coffee, and wine. If you can't avoid these items entirely, consider drinking staining beverages through a straw, and always brush shortly after eating foods that stain to minimize the chance of leaving permanent dark spots.
Protect Your Teeth
Your new crowns may be more prone to wear and tear from biting down than your natural teeth. To preserve the shape of your crowns, consider investing in a custom mouthguard, especially if you're prone to nighttime tooth grinding, or if you participate in contact sports. Your dentist can design a customized mouthguard specifically to fit comfortably around your new fixed bridge.
Of course, the most important thing you can do to protect and maintain your new dental bridge is to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and follow your dentist's instructions. Don't hesitate to ask if you have questions about the best way to care for your new bridge.