Caring for Dental Bridges and Dentures

senior woman looking in mirror sitting in dental chair

Welcome to our latest post where we explore the crucial world of dental bridges and dentures! Whether you’re a new wearer of these dental appliances or looking to refine your care routine, understanding how to properly maintain them is key to ensuring they last and continue to serve their purpose. Dental bridges and dentures not only restore the appearance of your smile but also improve your chewing ability and speech. This blog will guide you through the best practices for daily care, what to avoid, and how to handle common issues, ensuring your dental health remains top-notch.

In This Blog: 

  • Understanding Dental Bridges and Dentures
  • Daily Maintenance Routine
  • What to Avoid
  • Profesional Care and Regular Check-Ups
  • Troubleshooting Common Problems

Understanding Dental Bridges and Dentures

Dental bridges and dentures are essential for individuals who have lost teeth, offering both functional and aesthetic benefits. Understanding the different types available can help you better appreciate the care they require and the value they bring to your daily life.

Dental Bridges:

four types of dental bridges: traditional, cantilever, Maryland, and implant-supported

A dental bridge is used to fill the gap created by one or more missing teeth. It is anchored on either side by natural teeth or implants and can come in several types:

  • Traditional Bridges: Involve creating a crown for the teeth on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic (false tooth) in between. These are the most common type of bridges.
  • Cantilever Bridges: Used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth.
  • Maryland Bridges: Consist of a pontic held in place by a metal or porcelain framework, bonded onto the backs of adjacent teeth.
  • Implant-Supported Bridges: Supported by dental implants rather than crowns or frameworks. This type is considered the most stable and durable.

Dentures:

Dentures are removable appliances that can replace missing teeth and help restore your smile. Depending on the number of teeth lost, you may need one of the following types:

  • Complete Dentures: Used when all the teeth are missing and can be fitted for the top and bottom gum line.
  • Partial Dentures: Suitable for those who still have some of their natural teeth. These dentures fill in the spaces created by missing teeth and prevent other teeth from changing position.
  • Fixed Dentures: Often referred to as permanent dentures, these are typically anchored to dental implants to allow for a more secure and stable fit.
  • Removable Dentures: These can be taken out and put back into the mouth. While they are a more affordable option, they require careful handling to avoid damage.

Both dental bridges and dentures not only improve the functionality of teeth but also enhance facial aesthetics and assist in speech. They support the facial structure by preventing the remaining teeth from shifting, which could lead to further oral health issues. By understanding the types and functions of these dental appliances, wearers can better maintain them and enjoy the benefits they offer.

Daily Maintenance Routine

Maintaining dental bridges and dentures through a daily care routine is crucial for their longevity and effectiveness. Proper cleaning and handling can prevent the build-up of bacteria and ensure these dental appliances function optimally. Here’s how you can care for each type:

Cleaning Techniques for Dental Bridges:

  • Daily Brushing: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or a special bridge-cleaning brush to clean the area around and under the bridge. Gentle strokes help remove food particles and plaque without damaging the bridge.
  • Flossing: Special flosses, such as a floss threader or water flosser, are effective for cleaning beneath a dental bridge. These tools help remove debris and plaque from hard-to-reach areas between the gum and the base of the bridge.

Cleaning Techniques for Dentures:

  • Daily Cleaning: Remove and gently clean your dentures after every meal. Use a denture brush and a non-abrasive denture cleaner to avoid scratching the surface. Rinse dentures thoroughly before placing them back in your mouth, especially if using a denture-soaking solution.
  • Soaking Overnight: Dentures need to remain moist to keep their shape. Place them in a denture-soaking solution or water overnight to prevent them from drying out and warping.
  • Handling: Always handle your dentures with care to avoid accidental dropping. Fill the sink with water or place a towel down while handling them, providing a safety net in case they slip from your hands.

General Tips for Both Bridges and Dentures:

  • Avoid using toothpastes and cleaners that are too abrasive, as these can create micro-scratches where bacteria can accumulate.
  • Steer clear of hot water for soaking or rinsing, as it can warp the shape of dentures and damage the materials used in bridges.
  • Consider using an antiseptic mouthwash to help keep the mouth free of bacteria and other pathogens that can harm dental appliances.

By adhering to these daily maintenance routines, you can ensure that your dental bridges and dentures remain clean, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. Regular care not only contributes to your overall oral health but also enhances the comfort and durability of your dental appliances.

What to Avoid

Caring for dental bridges and dentures involves not only following a good maintenance routine but also knowing what to avoid to prevent damage or premature wear. Certain foods, habits, and practices can be particularly harmful to these dental appliances. Here’s what you should steer clear of to ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your dental bridges and dentures:

Foods to Avoid:

  • Hard Foods: Chewing hard items like ice, hard candies, or nuts can cause chips or cracks in dental bridges and can break dentures.
  • Sticky Foods: Avoid sticky candies and chewing gum as they can dislodge both dental bridges and removable dentures.
  • Extremely Hot or Cold Foods: Sudden temperature changes in your mouth can cause dentures to warp or become misshapen and may lead to discomfort with dental bridges.

Habits to Avoid:

  • Using Teeth as Tools: Never use your teeth – natural or artificial – to open packaging, bite nails, or hold items. These actions can place undue stress on dental bridges and dentures.
  • Smoking: Smoking can stain dentures and negatively affect the oral health foundation supporting dental bridges, potentially leading to further complications and reduced longevity of the appliances.
  • Neglecting Oral Hygiene: Failing to maintain proper oral hygiene can lead to plaque build-up around dental bridges and on dentures, which increases the risk of gum disease and tooth decay in remaining teeth.

Practices to Avoid:

  • Improper Cleaning Methods: Using harsh or abrasive cleaning materials such as regular toothpaste, household cleaners, or strong brushes can scratch or damage dental bridges and dentures.
  • Skipping Maintenance Routines: Regularly skipping cleaning or soaking of dentures can lead to bacterial build-up, bad odors, and can contribute to infections.
  • Wearing Dentures Continuously: Dentures should be removed at night to allow the gums to rest and to maintain good oral health unless advised otherwise by a dental professional.

By avoiding these foods, habits, and practices, you can significantly extend the life of your dental bridges and dentures. It’s important to remember that while these appliances are durable, they are not indestructible and require careful handling and maintenance to function effectively over time.

Professional Care and Regular Check-Ups

While daily maintenance is crucial, professional care and regular dental check-ups play a significant role in the longevity and effectiveness of dental bridges and dentures. These professional interventions help ensure that your dental appliances are functioning correctly and remain in good condition.

Importance of Regular Dental Visits:

Regular visits to the dentist are essential not only for your natural teeth but also for the care of dental bridges and dentures. During these visits:

senior man having dental appointment
  • Professional Cleaning: Dental professionals have the tools and expertise to clean your dental appliances thoroughly, removing any plaque build-up and ensuring that hard-to-reach areas are properly maintained.
  • Examination: The dentist will check for any signs of wear and tear, fit issues, or damage to your dental appliances. They can also assess the health of the gums and other supporting structures to prevent any underlying issues from worsening.

How Often to Visit the Dentist:

It is typically recommended to see your dentist at least twice a year for a check-up. However, if you have dental appliances like bridges or dentures, you may need to visit more frequently for adjustments, repairs, or more specialized cleaning. Follow your dentist’s specific recommendations based on your individual needs and the condition of your dental appliances.

Signs That You Need to See Your Dentist:

  • Discomfort or Pain: Any discomfort or pain while wearing dental appliances is a signal that they may need to be adjusted or repaired.
  • Poor Fit: If bridges or dentures begin to feel loose or cause sores on your gums, this could indicate that they no longer fit properly and need adjustment.
  • Breakage or Damage: Immediate professional attention is required if there is any visible damage to your dental appliances to prevent further complications.

Maintaining Regular Appointments:

Ensure that you maintain regular appointments as prescribed by your dental care provider. These visits are key to addressing potential issues before they become severe and to making necessary adjustments to your dental appliances.

By keeping up with professional care and regular check-ups, you can maximize the functionality and lifespan of your dental bridges and dentures. Regular interactions with your dental team also provide an opportunity to learn more about caring for your dental health and to receive personalized advice tailored to your needs.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Dental bridges and dentures can sometimes present challenges that require specific solutions. Understanding how to handle common problems can save you discomfort and prevent further issues. Here’s a guide to troubleshooting some typical concerns:

Common Issues with Dental Bridges:

  • Loosening of the Bridge: This can occur due to a decay of the anchoring teeth or a breakdown of the cement. If your bridge feels loose, contact your dentist. Do not try to fix or adjust it yourself.
  • Discomfort or Sensitivity: Some sensitivity is normal immediately after a new bridge is placed, but persistent discomfort may require adjustments by your dentist.
  • Difficulty Eating: Initially, eating with a new bridge might feel awkward. Start with soft foods and gradually reintroduce normal foods as you become accustomed to the bridge.

Common Issues with Dentures:

  • Discomfort and Sores: Poorly fitting dentures can cause irritation and sores. Rinsing with salt water can help soothe irritated gums. However, if sores persist, your dentures may need to be adjusted or relined.
  • Difficulty Eating and Speaking: It often takes time to get used to dentures. Practice eating different types of foods and speaking aloud to adjust more quickly. If difficulties continue, consult your dentist for a fit check.
  • Denture Slippage: This can occur during eating or speaking and is often a sign of a poor fit. Adhesives can help temporarily, but for a long-term solution, see your dentist for an adjustment.

DIY Solutions:

  • Cleaning Build-up: Regularly clean your dental appliances as recommended to prevent build-up that can exacerbate issues.
  • Handling Minor Discomfort: Over-the-counter products like dental wax or mild pain relievers can provide temporary relief for minor irritation caused by bridges or dentures.

When to Seek Professional Help:

  • Always contact your dentist if adjustments, repairs, or professional cleaning are needed.
  • If you experience severe pain, significant discomfort, or any changes in the fit of your dental appliances, it’s crucial to get professional help rather than trying to adjust them yourself.

By effectively managing these common issues, you can maintain your comfort and the functionality of your dental appliances. Regular check-ins with your dental care provider are essential to address any problems and to ensure that your dental bridges and dentures serve you well for as long as possible.

Conclusion

In conclusion, taking proper care of your dental bridges and dentures is crucial for maintaining not only the longevity of these appliances but also your overall oral health. By adhering to the daily maintenance routines, being mindful of what to avoid, and committing to regular professional check-ups, you can ensure that your dental appliances remain in excellent condition. Remember, encountering issues with bridges or dentures is not uncommon, and knowing how to handle these situations effectively can greatly enhance your comfort and confidence. Always seek the guidance of your dental professional to address any concerns or adjustments that may be needed. Your proactive care and attention will go a long way in preserving your beautiful and functional smile.

Continue to Learn More About Dentistry:

Share:

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest

More from the Chestnut Dental Blog