Along with crowns, dentures and dental implants, bridges are among the most popular and effective tooth replacement solutions. Just imagine not having to worry about others noticing the gap in your smile anymore! However, although bridges can restore your dental function and appearance, it is important to know that they cannot totally eliminate the risk of tooth decay. Keep reading to learn more about the ins and outs of dental bridges and how to maintain a healthy smile when wearing a dental prosthetic.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a common dental prosthetic that can restore one to three consecutive missing teeth. Typically crafted from porcelain, bridges consist of a false tooth – known as a pontic – connected to two dental crowns on either side. A dentist sets the crowns on a patient’s healthy teeth on either side of their gap. Once in place, the pontic fills the space where the natural tooth or teeth used to be, thus restoring the patient’s smile and dental function.
Dental bridges provide their wearers with a range of benefits, such as:
- Preventing teeth from shifting into the space where a tooth is missing
- Restoring the ability to chew and speak normally
- Helping maintain full facial shape
- Evenly distributing the force from biting across teeth
Can Dental Bridges Become Infected?
The good news: dental bridges cannot become infected. The bad news: the natural teeth underneath the crowns of a dental bridge are still vulnerable to tooth decay and other oral health issues.
Tiny bits of food can get stuck in between teeth and a poorly fitted dental bridge, leading to tooth decay. Or, if a dental bridge is nearing the end of its lifespan – typically 10 to 15 years – the cement holding it in place may crack. Bacteria can then enter those tiny cracks and infect the underlying teeth.
In addition, individuals that have dental bridges are still susceptible to gum disease. Usually the result of poor oral hygiene, gum disease can also lead to problems in the teeth underneath a dental bridge.
How to Prevent Oral Infections Near Dental Bridges
Fortunately, preventing oral infections while wearing a dental bridge is not so complicated. To keep the teeth underneath a bridge healthy – and all your teeth healthy, for that matter – follow these recommendations:
- Brush your teeth and bridge twice a day for a full two minutes each time.
- Floss at least once a day. Special flossing tools can help clean the gap between your gums and the pontic in your bridge – ask your dentist for more information.
- Visit your dentist every six months for a dental exam and professional cleaning.
As you can see, keeping both your bridge and your natural teeth in tip-top shape is not difficult – so do not wait! If you are ready to finally fill the gap in your smile, talk to your dentist today about getting a dental bridge.
About the Author
Dr. Matthew Nawrocki provides high-quality crowns, bridges, dentures and other restorative solutions at his conveniently located Orange Park private practice. The University of Florida College of Dentistry graduate holds a specialist certificate in prosthodontics and is an active member of the American College of Prosthodontics. To learn more about dental bridges and how to prevent tooth decay, visit Dr. Nawrocki’s website or call 904-272-1588.