Losing a tooth can be traumatic physically and emotionally. Just one gap can interfere with eating, speaking, and smiling confidently. Fixed bridges are among the most popular options for replacing missing teeth, as they are more stable than partial dentures with a lower upfront cost than implants. However, without proper care your bridgework, and the teeth supporting it, can be very short-lived.

Typically, bridges are said to last between five and seven years, but that depends largely on the skill of your dentist and your own oral hygiene. Dr. Dean Dietrich wants you to love your smile for many years to come. He carefully prepares the abutment (supporting) teeth, ensuring that the restoration is not subjected to undue pressure. He also offers tips and instruction for preventing decay of the abutment teeth, which is the most common reason for bridge failure.

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The pontic (false tooth) rests against the gumline. Unfortunately, bacteria only need a microscopic space to enter, so they can accumulate by the millions under it. Although a bridge is not susceptible to direct decay, it can trap bacteria against your gums and adjacent teeth. It is vital to clean under the appliance thoroughly, every single time. There are several ways this can be accomplished, without adding a great deal of time to your oral hygiene routine.

Flosser: This very helpful tool resembles a large, curved, plastic sewing needle, and works in a similar manner. Floss is inserted through the eye, which allows you to thread it under your bridge.

Stiff ended dental floss: If you prefer not to use a flosser, you can buy pre-cut lengths of floss, which have one stiff end to go under your bridge.

Interproximal brush: This very small brush may be able to reach some areas under and around bridgework. However, it should not be your only method of cleaning your appliance, because it cannot fit in the smallest spaces.

Oral irrigator: This device allows you to clean hard to reach places with water pressure. It can be useful for bridges, braces, crowded teeth and other challenging hygiene situations.

Of course, one of the most important things you can do to keep your smile beautiful and healthy (with or without a bridge) is visit Dr. Dietrich every six months for cleanings. Call us at (708) 576-1900 for all of your dental care needs.

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