The cleaning of fixed tooth restorations – crowns, bridges

Lost teeth should be replaced without delay for various reasons. Missing teeth not only give rise to aesthetic complaints but may also cause masticatory disorders while also overloading the remaining teeth. Not chewing food bits but swallowing them whole leads to obesity, and stomach ache may develop.

Missing teeth can be replaced using a fixed tooth restoration, more precisely, a bridge. A bridge is replacement tooth containing multiple crowns either mounted on natural teeth or implants.

Bridge mounted on natural teeth. Existing teeth serve as pillars or anchors, with the teeth replaced (edentulous areas) being pontics (source: internet)

The cleaning of bridge work borne by upper natural teeth with an interdental brush

Bridge replacement supported by dental implants. The implants installed serve as pillars or anchors, with the teeth replaced (edentulous areas) being pontics (source: internet)

Overall, it is safe to say that an average bridge replacement in the molar region is operable for a long time, to that end, however, thorough home care, regular dental examination and professional tartar removal (scaling) are indispensable.

The cleaning of a lower full-arch bridge with and interdental brush

The cleaning of dental bridges

It is important to bear in mind that porcelain crowns need just as much care as natural teeth do. Thoroughly wash your teeth, interdental space, gum edges and spaces underneath the bridge after each meal to avoid major dental issues and increase the life expectancy of your replacement teeth.

Keeping dental bridges clean requires a great deal of care. Be mindful of your brushing technique. Make sure brushing lasts at least two minutes. A soft bristle tooth brush is recommended, to be used with moderate strength and in circular movements. In addition, use a dental floss and interdental brush on a daily basis as these tools help keep clean areas not accessible by a tooth brush.

See more on effective and thorough tooth care at this link.

Tools for cleaning dental bridges and crowns:

  • Tooth brush
  • Single tufted tooth brush
  • Dental floss (Super floss)
  • Interdental brush
  • Mouth rinse

Please use the above or book an appointment to be shown the correct techniques of oral care.

Hazards of lack of hygiene and neglecting regular tartar removal

The space beneath the dental bridge (the edentulous area) and tooth neck are at increased risk for caries. Tartar, bacteria and food remains stuck underneath the bridge and at the interface of the tooth and the crown may become our inveterate enemies despite our best efforts. Unless they are properly removed they may cause the inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and periodontal disease (periodontitis).

Bottom view of arch bridge designed for implants with thick deposits of tartar having piled up on the replacement teeth over the years. Neglect of hygiene greatly jeopardizes the long-term success of the implants and contributes to the development of foul breath (halitosis)

The incipient problems often go unnoticed due to the bridge. Frequent gum bleeding is the first sign that we do not clean our teeth and bridge properly and there is tartar and food remains underneath the bridge. Often the spaces under the crowns are also at risk, with tartar having clung beneath the crown and the bridge giving rise to tooth decay (caries). Often the patient will only have noticed anything when the problem has engulfed the tooth and the tooth has incurred major damage. If the caries extends to the dental pulp, the nerve gets infected and a palpitating pain may develop (pulpitis) Often the pain can only be treated by the removal of the bridge and the root canal treatment of the tooth. The treatment of the tooth underneath a bridge or a crown will not only impose an increased financial burden on its wearer but the treatment will also be more complicated and root canal treatment may often be performed only in multiple sittings, until the tooth becomes pain-free.

Neglected teeth, dental foci, dental caries, carious old bridges. Multiple teeth had to be extracted and the patient was due for implants, root canal treatments, post and core abutments…

The previous case with the finished permanent crowns mounted on root canal treated teeth and implants. What with the photographs, the patient could be convinced of the importance of regular dental check-ups and scaling (tartar removal)…

Dental plaque not removed from the teeth begins to harden after 48 hours developing into tartar. Tartar not only forms on sound natural teeth but also on tooth necks (cervices) and implants. At home, we cannot remove deposits of tartar, only a dentist or dental hygienist can, using an ultrasonic scaler, sandblasting and polishing. Scaling should be performed at least twice yearly. Plaque deposits and food remains having stuck for several days, the inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and caries may cause foul breath (halitosis). In such cases undergoing thorough professional cleaning and mastering effective home tooth care techniques may offer a solution.