If you’ve recently had a dental bridge put into place, you’re probably feeling pretty good about your smile. Not only have you replaced your missing tooth or teeth, but you have a customized restoration that blends in so well that no one else can tell these teeth are not real. And the best part is that they can’t develop cavities! But what about your natural teeth underneath? They’re covered by your dental bridge, so they’re protected from decay and gum disease, right? Unfortunately, that is not the case, and your local dentist is here to explain why.
Dental Bridge and Natural Teeth: Can an Infection Occur?
If you think back to your dental bridge procedure, you remember that your dentist had to “prepare” or “alter” your natural, healthy teeth for your restoration to fit snugly and comfortably. Unlike the missing tooth/teeth in the middle, those on either side of the gap remained in place but were simply filed down. Once your bridge was firmly in place, did you assume that the teeth underneath would be free of problems in the future?
The truth is your natural teeth are still susceptible to tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. If you do not practice good oral hygiene, bacteria can gather at the base of your restoration and spread to your healthy teeth. It’s also easy for gum disease to develop because of your natural gum line. If plaque and tartar begin to accumulate, you may begin to notice gum pockets forming, making it even easier to trap bacteria and food particles.
Should you begin to develop problems with decay and gum disease, it will be necessary for your dentist to remove your prosthetic and apply the right form of treatment (i.e. dental filling, root canal therapy, periodontal treatment).
Prevention is Key: What Can You Do to Avoid Problems?
No one likes the idea of having their restoration removed just to fix a problem that was preventable in the first place. Not only does this require additional time and money, but now you are dealing with more weakened teeth that can cause further deterioration of your smile.
To prevent all of this and maintain a healthy smile even while sporting a customized dental bridge, here are a few things you can do:
- Brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes using fluoride toothpaste. This will protect your pearly whites from tooth decay as well as strengthen the enamel.
- Floss underneath your dental bridge and between your teeth at least once a day to remove bacteria and trapped food particles.
- Rinse with an ADA-approved mouthwash to flush out anything left behind that flossing and brushing missed.
- Limit the consumption of sugary and starchy foods, as this increases your risk of harmful bacteria burrowing into your teeth and gums.
- Don’t chew on ice or inanimate objects (pens, pencils), as this can damage your restoration and make your natural teeth more vulnerable.
No matter how many dental crowns or bridges you have in your mouth, always remember that your natural teeth must also be maintained. This will ensure you have a beautiful, decay- and damage-free smile for years to come.
About the Author
Dr. Parnam Mohanna earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the University of Oklahoma, and he has continued to pursue additional courses focusing on various aspects of dentistry. At Complete Cosmetic Care Dentistry, he and his colleagues provide a multitude of restorative dentistry options to repair and rebuild smiles. But they also commit to ensuring the health of a patient’s natural teeth no matter if they are covered or not by a customized restoration. To learn how you can maintain a healthy smile with or without dental crowns or bridges, visit our website or call (918) 216-1000.