A bridge is a dental appliance used to replace a missing tooth. A false tooth is placed into the empty space and anchored by crowns on the adjoining teeth. Colgate says that bridges can last for a lifetime if you care for them properly. Proper bridge care starts with an overall good dental hygiene routine. Then you must add a few steps that are focused on the bridge and the surrounding area to keep the gums clean and healthy.
Brush your teeth and bridge after you eat and before going to bed. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, and pay special attention to brushing around the bridge, especially where it meets your gum line. Dr. Dan Peterson of Family Gentle Dental Care recommends using an electric toothbrush, since they often clean better than manual brushes.
Floss your teeth and bridge twice a day or more. Bridges require a special flossing technique because you must clean the area below the bridge. Use a dental threader to get the floss strip underneath it. Once it is threaded, move the floss around under the bridge to thoroughly clean the covered area.
Use a mouthwash containing fluoride every night before bed. Dr. Peterson says you should swish it around in your mouth for at least 60 seconds. Don't rinse your mouth out with water or drink anything for at least half an hour after using the mouthwash.
Use a WaterPik at least once a week to clean the gum line around the bridge. Dr. Peterson recommends filling it with an alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash to enhance the cleaning power and kill bacteria.
Visit your dentist for an exam and professional cleaning at least twice a year. Even if you clean your bridge properly, Colgate says it can benefit from regular professional cleanings. Your dentist can identify any potential problems with your bridge while they are in the early stages. He can take care of them or suggest changes to your bridge care routine so they don't develop into something worse.