If you've been fitted with a dental bridge to replace one or more missing teeth, you know how remarkable it is that this simple device is able to correct your smile, restore your ability to eat and speak and protect your other teeth from shifting out of position. However, you should be aware of the various dental bridge problems that can occur from this, particularly when eating. In theory, it should be easier to eat once you're accustomed to the bridge, according to the Cleveland Clinic, but if you've experienced any of these difficulties, these tips will help you to resolve them.
Accumulation of Food Particles
While dental bridges are meant to fit seamlessly against your gumline, factors such as bone resorption or a poorly fitting device can cause open space between the bridge and the gum. This creates a food trap where particles can accumulate. If you're not able to clean your mouth effectively, food debris and bacteria will begin to form in your mouth. This may cause bad breath and can eventually result in gum disease.
Development of Tartar
Dental bridges are permanent fixtures in the mouth, which means you can't remove them conveniently to clean the area. Once bacteria develops and is combined with saliva, plaque begins to form in the mouth. Unless you eliminate it, plaque can harden into tartar or calculus, which is much harder to remove. This can also lead to gingivitis and eventually periodontal disease (bone and tooth loss) if the bridge is not cleaned by a dental professional at least every six months, according to the American Dental Association.
Damage to Your Bridge
Patients fitted with dental bridges are advised by dentists to avoid chewing extensively on foods such as raw vegetables, hard candies and ice. These foods can cause damage to the bridge, which may require replacement if it cannot be repaired.
Resolving Dental Bridge Problems
Preventive measures are key to preserving your bridge. You can get excellent wear from your bridge by:
- Ensuring your bridge fits perfectly before you leave your dentist or prosthodontist's office.
- Avoiding foods known to cause problems, particularly hard or sticky foods.
- Practicing good oral hygiene with regular, twice-daily brushing and daily flossing before bedtime.
- Using a toothbrush designed to clean all the hard-to-reach areas, and a proxybrush to clean areas with open space.
- Rinsing daily with an antiseptic mouthwash, such as Colgate Total® Mouthwash for Gum Health.
- Scheduling regular checkups to ensure your dental bridge is intact and performing as it should.
- Getting regular professional dental cleaning, which can help to prevent gingivitis and other oral diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
It's possible to enjoy all the benefits of a dental bridge and avoid the majority of these problems by being proactive, taking care of your mouth and ensuring good oral hygiene.