A dental bridge is a great way to repair your smile if you have missing teeth—or had teeth removed due to damage. But cleaning and maintaining dental bridges can present new challenges, especially when it comes to flossing. Bridges are joined, which means there’s no gap between the adjacent teeth and the replacement tooth (abutments and the pontic). So how do you floss?
While it might seem easier just to skip flossing your dental bridge, doing so will only create bigger problems for you in the long run. Plaque and debris will still build up below the gum line. Instead of skipping over your dental bridge when flossing, let Dr. Attar at Attar Dental help you master flossing around these teeth! He’s helped patients in Mundelein and Libertyville preserve their smile through intuitive flossing techniques, like the ones below.
How often should you floss a bridge?
Every day, multiple times each day! Treat a dental bridge like the rest of your teeth. You should floss it every time you complete your oral hygiene routine. Dental bridges need just as much maintenance as any other tooth. Although you can’t use a normal piece of floss, dental bridges require daily cleanings because they’re equally susceptible to plaque, bacteria and decay.
Many patients go too long without flossing their dental bridges because they’re convinced it’s too much of a hassle. The truth is, caring for your dental bridge doesn’t add extra time to an oral care routine. Flossing a dental bridge is quick and easy, much like cleaning the rest of your teeth.
Tip: use a floss threader for tight spaces
A string of floss by itself won’t fit in between the abutments and pontic. They’re all connected at the top, otherwise known as the occlusal surface, which means you need a tool that can fit underneath the bridge. This is where floss threaders come in handy. A floss threader is a small, flexible loop that allows you to weave floss under the occlusal surface.
Floss threaders are intuitive, easy-to-use tools. Simply tie a knot around the loop using normal floss then weave the pointed edge underneath the bridge. A floss threader can fit through the tight space in between the gum line and the bottom of your dental bridge. From there, floss the bridge like you would with a normal tooth before pulling out the floss.
Tip: rely on an interdental brush daily
An interdental brush can also fit underneath a dental bridge. It consists of an inch-long wire coated in soft bristles, which is attached to a small handle. Dentists frequently recommend interdental brushes for people with braces because regular floss is too difficult to weave under the brackets. However, people with dental bridges benefit from them, too.
Interdental brushes take mere seconds to use. The wire and bristles easily slip in between the abutments and pontic. Since the wire is flexible, you can bend it into whichever angle will most effectively clear away plaque and debris beneath the bridge. These brushes are so easy and leave your mouth feeling so clean, you’ll want to use them multiple times a day!
Tip: invest in a water flosser or irrigator
If you want something a bit fancier, talk to your dentist about a water flosser. This nifty gadget creates a highly pressurized stream of water that can blast away plaque and debris built up along the dental bridge. A water flosser is the easiest tool to use because you don’t have to worry about threading floss or an interdental brush into a tight space. The one downside is that water flossers are also the most expensive flossing tool. Nevertheless, they’re often a good investment for general oral health.
Tip: swish thoroughly with antiseptic rinse
After dislodging all that gunk, you don’t want it to keep sitting inside your mouth. Finish up your flossing routine with a quick swish of mouthwash. It will get rid of any remaining plaque and kill bacteria that leads to bad breath and cavities. A combination of flossing and antiseptic rinse will leave your dental bridge feeling healthy and squeaky clean.
Learn to care for dental bridges the right way
Dental bridges have the power to restore your smile to a beautiful, natural, flawless appearance; however, they can be tough to care for. If you’re struggling to floss like many patients in Mundelein and Libertyville, schedule an appointment with Dr. Attar at Attar Dental. As an expert in dental bridges and crowns, he’ll help you master the art of caring for your bridge, so you can floss with confidence and keep your teeth looking their best.