What to Expect After Getting a Dental Bridge
So you have a new dental bridge! Now what?
Sensitivity and Tenderness
Congratulations on your new dental bridge! You can now return to normal eating and speaking, smile naturally without a gap, and you may have even helped to restore your facial structure (if it was impacted by the missing teeth). Another benefit of having the new bridge is that it will prevent adjacent teeth from shifting into the area where teeth are missing, helping you to avoid greater issues down the road.
While having a dental bridge is something to celebrate, there are a few important things to keep in mind:
- If the bridge or crowns do not fit correctly, bacteria can get trapped beneath the crown and cause tooth decay. Floss should not get caught underneath the crowns while flossing.
- If the teeth used to support the bridge are weak to begin with, the bridge can fail. A couple examples include teeth that had previous root canal therapy or tooth with little structure left.
- The supporting teeth may be weakened by the bridge-preparation procedure or over time due to tooth decay. In this event, these teeth may later require extractions and dental implants to maintain bridge function in the future.
You may experience some sensitivity or tenderness for a while. Discuss with your dentist if the sensitivity or tenderness does not go away or if there is pain present.
Adjusting Your Diet
You can avoid damaging the new dental bridge by staying away from:
- Hard foods and candies such as popcorn or nuts.
- Chewy and sticky foods
Hard foods can break or crack the crown while chewy and sticky foods can pull the bridge off.
How to Care for a Dental Bridge
Unlike partial dentures and full dentures that are removable, dental bridges are "fixed" and cannot be removed for cleaning. Maintaining a good oral hygiene can prolong the bridge's lifespan! Ideally, your dentist, dental assistant, or hygienist have demonstrated how to brush, floss, and properly care for the new bridge. If you are uncertain about how to care for your bridge, call your dental office right away and ask about it.
- Brush twice a day using the appropriate technique: a circular motion with the bristles angled 45 degrees toward the gum for two minutes. A manual or automatic toothbrush may be used.
- Floss after every meal to remove food trapped under the bridge. Regular dental floss may be used for areas that do not have a dental bridge and between the anchor teeth and their neighbor. However, super floss, a floss-threader, interdental brush, or a water flosser must be used to clean the space under the bridge.
Schedule regular checkups to ensure cavities are detected before they get too large and that bone level and density remain stable around the teeth that support the bridge. The dentist will also check the bridge for stability/function.