Getting a dental bridge may seem like a big change in your life, but the procedure is not all that different from getting a filling or two. Yes, there are a couple of significant differences, but in general, your aftercare shouldn't be too tricky.
Here are four standard steps you should take to care for your new dental bridge.
1. Be Gentle With Yourself
After the procedure, try to wait until the numbness has worn off before you start eating anything chewy. For the first 24 hours, drink a lot of liquids and restrict your meals to soft foods that don't need to be chewed.
Your teeth and gums will be sensitive for a while because the procedure involves cementing your bridge in place. So even after you gain your feeling back, try to avoid eating chips, nuts, or other crunchy and sharp items that might irritate your gums.
Try to keep hot and cold foods and beverages away from the area for a few days as well. Afterwards, once the sensitivity has gone down a bit and you're learning your new normal, you can introduce these items back in. You will still want to be gentle with the bridge itself though; don't try to chew ice or really hard foods in that spot, for example.
2. Adapt Your Hygiene Routine
Your dental bridge can be a long-lasting and effective part of your mouth, but it does require special care. For one thing, you'll need to be especially vigilant with your brushing and flossing sessions because the life span of the bridge is dependent on the health of the teeth on either side of it. If one of those teeth is compromised by decay, the bridge may be compromised too.
Additionally, you'll need to learn new flossing techniques to clean all the new spaces around your bridge where bacteria and plaque might hide. Talk to your dentist about the best tools for this; you may be able to use a dental floss threader, a water flosser, or an interdental brush (those tiny brushes used to clean around braces or between teeth).
Some dentists even recommend flossing around and under your bridge twice a day rather than once a day to be extra sure it stays clean.
3. Be Punctual With Dental Visits
Dental structures such as a bridge make regular visits to your dentist even more vital. Your dentist will want to make sure your bridge is still performing well and catch any problems as quickly as possible.
In some cases, your dentist may recommend that you shorten the length between visits, coming in for a cleaning and checkup every three or four months. They might suggest this for a variety of reasons, such as if you face an elevated risk of developing gum disease.
4. Monitor Your Bridge for Changes
Once you have gotten used to your new bridge, keep an eye out for any changes you notice and report them to your dentist. Changes in its appearance (such as chips or cracks), changes in sensation (especially new pain or increased sensitivity), or changes in bite can all indicate a problem. And of course if your dental bridge feels loose, you know something is wrong as well.
These four steps will help you take great care of the new dental bridge in your mouth and keep it going strong for years and years. If you are due for a checkup or if you're worried something is wrong with your dental bridge, our dentist Vicki Vida Kestler, DDS, would love to help, so be sure to give us a call today.