After a dental bridge procedure, you can expect to eat and chew without problems, but you need to make some changes to your dental care routine. Dental bridges replace missing teeth, and the three major types are traditional, cantilever and Maryland. Cleaning any of these types of dental bridge involves cleaning under the false tooth. What else should you expect from your new bridge?
When Your Dentist Fits a Dental Bridge
Having a dental bridge fitted requires at least two visits to the dentist. At the first visit, the dentist will create a mold of the affected teeth, and on the second or third visit he or she will fit a permanent bridge. In the case of a traditional or cantilever bridge, the bridge will be cemented to the natural teeth that were prepared earlier. In a Maryland bridge, the dentist will fix it into place with porcelain or metal wings. After the local anesthetic wears off, the bridge should feel comfortable in your mouth.
Lifespan of a Dental Bridge
With good care, a dental bridge can last 10 years or longer, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. Tooth decay is one of the biggest threats to dental bridges. Food can become stuck between the teeth or under the false tooth. If decay sets in, the natural teeth on either side of the false tooth are weakened and the bridge can fail.
Caring for a Dental Bridge
By following a few simple steps, you can keep your dental bridge fresh and clean and prolong its useful life. The Cleveland Clinic suggests the following tips for bridge care:
- Brush twice a day with toothpaste such as Colgate Total Advanced Deep Clean, which helps maintain a dentist-clean feeling with advanced-cleaning silica similar to what dentists use.
- Floss once a day under the false tooth as well as between your natural teeth. You can use regular floss or a proxybrush, which is a tiny brush designed to get into all the nooks and crannies between teeth.
- Visit your dentist or dental hygienist regularly for a professional cleaning.
- Eat a diet higher in fruits, vegetables and fiber than meat.
A dental bridge prevents dental problems and chewing difficulties that may follow the loss of a tooth. After your dental bridge procedure, brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day to keep your bridge clean and reduce the risk of tooth decay, which negatively affects your bridge. Ask your dentist about how to care for your dental bridge if you aren't sure, and continue regular return visits so that he or she can check your bridge and give it a thumb's up.