Along with dentures and dental implants, dental bridges are a popular and effective tooth replacement solution for men and women in Sarasota missing one or several teeth. However, after filling the gap in their smile with a dental bridge, some individuals later suffer from oral infections near the dental prosthetic. What is the explanation? And is this a common complication? Keep reading to find out!
What Is a Dental Bridge?
A bridge is a type of dental prosthetic used to replace one or several consecutive missing teeth. It is often crafted from porcelain and typically consists of a false tooth – known as a pontic – fixed between two dental crowns. The crowns on either end of a dental bridge are placed over the healthy teeth adjacent to the gap left by a missing tooth. The pontic sits between the crowns, where the natural tooth used to be. In this way, dental bridges replace missing teeth and restore dental function.
Additional benefits of dental bridges include:
- Prevent teeth from shifting into a dental gap
- Evenly distribute bite forces across teeth
- Restore the ability to properly chew and speak
- Help maintain facial shape
Can Dental Bridges Become Infected?
While dental bridges themselves cannot become infected, the natural teeth underneath are still vulnerable to harmful bacteria and acids in the mouth.
If a dental bridge does not fit onto the individual’s teeth well, tiny particles of food can get stuck between the prosthetic and the teeth and contribute to tooth decay. In addition, gum disease, often the result of poor oral hygiene habits, can also lead to problems in the teeth underneath a dental bridge.
Lastly, dental bridges gradually wear down over time. Small tears in an older bridge can act as a doorway for harmful bacteria to access the teeth underneath and cause trouble.
How to Prevent Oral Infections Near Dental Bridges
If you have a dental bridge, practicing excellent oral hygiene at home can help increase its longevity and keep your teeth and gums healthy. Prevent oral infections by following these recommendations:
- Brush your teeth and bridge twice a day for a full two minutes each time.
- Floss at least once a day. Ask your dentist about special flossing tools to clean the gap between your gums and the pontic in your bridge.
- Visit your dentist every six months for an exam and professional cleaning. Decay underneath a bridge is often not visible to the naked eye, so dental exams are an important opportunity for your dentist to check your bridge and teeth.
Dental bridges remain an excellent way to replace missing in Sarasota and across the United States. By following the advice above, you can help ensure both your bridge and your natural teeth stay in tip-top shape!
About the Author
Dr. Ben Tindal is an expert in the field of implant, esthetic and reconstructive dentistry. The University of Florida graduate earned a certificate in prosthodontics alongside his master’s degree and maintains an active membership in the American College of Prosthodontics. Sarasota residents interested in learning more about bridges and other dental prosthetics can visit the Tindal Prosthodontics website or call Dr. Tindal at 941-225-2520.