Dental crowns and bridges are popular dental restoration options that can repair damaged or missing teeth and restore the appearance and functionality of your smile. However, as with any dental work, dental crowns and bridges need proper care and maintenance to ensure their longevity. Unfortunately, many people with crowns and bridges may not know how to clean and maintain them, which can lead to problems like decay, infection, or damage to neighbouring teeth, potentially requiring crown or bridge replacement or even the loss of the natural tooth.
In this article, we’ll explore the importance of properly cleaning and maintaining dental crowns and bridges and how to identify potential problems and prevent future issues. So, let’s dive in!
What Are Dental Crowns And Bridges?
Let’s explore what dental crowns and bridges are and when you need them.
A dental crown, also known as a “cap,” is a dental restoration placed over a damaged or decayed tooth to protect and strengthen it. It is typically made of materials such as porcelain, ceramic, or metal and is custom-designed to match the shape and colour of the natural tooth.
Dental crowns may be needed for:
- Severely decayed or damaged teeth that cannot be repaired with a filling or other dental treatment.
- Covering teeth that have undergone a root canal procedure to protect them from further damage or fractures.
- Improving the appearance of misshapen or discoloured teeth to improve smile appearance.
- Completing a dental implant by capping it, functioning as a prosthetic tooth
- Providing additional support to weak or worn-down teeth reduces the risk of further damage and prolongs the tooth’s life.
Dental bridges replace one or more missing teeth by bridging the gap between adjacent teeth. It consists of artificial teeth, called pontics, that replicate the appearance of natural teeth and are anchored by dental crowns on the adjacent teeth, known as abutments. Bridges can be made from materials similar to crowns, ensuring durability and a natural appearance.
Some common scenarios where dental bridges are often recommended include:
- When one or more teeth are missing, it affects the appearance and functionality of the smile.
- To prevent the shifting of remaining teeth, maintain facial symmetry and support the face’s natural contours.
- To distribute the bite forces evenly across surrounding teeth to prevent excessive wear
Why Should You Maintain Your Crowns and Bridges?
Maintaining your dental crowns and bridges is vital for several reasons. Here are a few:
Preservation of the Natural Teeth
One of the main reasons to maintain your crowns and bridges is to preserve your natural teeth. Dental bridges are anchored to the surrounding teeth, which means that these teeth need to be healthy and strong to support the bridge. If the supporting teeth decay or become damaged, the bridge’s integrity can be compromised. Similarly, an improperly maintained crown can lead to decay or infection in the natural tooth underneath.
Prevention of Gum Disease
Another reason to maintain your crowns and bridges is to prevent gum disease. Bacteria can accumulate around the base of the crown or bridge, leading to inflammation and infection in the gums. If left untreated, gum disease can cause the gums to recede, exposing the roots of the teeth and making them more vulnerable to decay and infection.
Maintaining your crowns and bridges can also help optimise your smile’s aesthetics. Over time, the crowns and bridges may become discoloured or stained, which can detract from the appearance of your teeth. Regular cleaning and maintenance can help keep your crowns and bridges bright and natural.
Proper maintenance can also help to extend the life of your crowns and bridges. Regular brushing, flossing, and routine dental check-ups can help prevent their damage and deterioration. If you neglect your dental hygiene, your crowns and bridges may need to be replaced sooner than expected.
Cleaning Tips for Your Crowns and Bridges
Dental crowns and bridges require proper care and maintenance to last longer. Here are some ways to clean and care for your crowns and bridges:
Brush and floss regularly
Regular brushing and flossing are essential to maintaining good oral health and cleaning dental crowns and bridges. Here are some points to keep in mind to prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease.
- For consistent oral care, brush your teeth twice daily, in the morning and before bedtime.
- Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste for successful cleaning without causing damage.
- Brush gently around the base of crowns or bridges to remove plaque and bacteria without compromising their integrity.
- Use a back-and-forth motion while flossing at least once a day to reach areas between teeth and around dental work.
Use an interdental brush.
Interdental brushes can be a valuable tool for maintaining the health of your dental crowns and bridges. These small, cone-shaped brushes are designed to fit in between your teeth and can help remove plaque and food particles that may be missed by regular brushing and flossing. Keeping the area around your crown and bridges clean can help prevent decay and gum disease, which can threaten their stability.
When using interdental brushes, choosing the right size for your teeth and using them gently to avoid damaging your dental work is essential.
Rinse with mouthwash
Mouthwash can help to kill bacteria and freshen your breath. Rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash after brushing and flossing to help keep your crowns and bridges clean. Be sure to choose an alcohol-free mouthwash, as alcohol can cause dry mouth and damage the crown and bridge.
Avoid hard or sticky foods.
Hard foods like ice or candy and sticky foods like caramel or chewing gum can damage or dislodge your dental crowns and bridges. Try to avoid these types of foods and make sure to brush and floss immediately after meals to remove any debris.
If you tend to clench your teeth at night, you may be unknowingly putting your dental crowns and bridges at risk. Over time, this habit can cause damage to these prosthetic teeth, leading to costly repairs or replacements. Wearing a mouthguard while you sleep can help protect your crowns and bridges from the effects of teeth grinding.
Visit your dentist regularly.
Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are essential for maintaining the health of your dental crowns and bridges. During your appointments, your dentist can inspect your crowns and bridges for signs of wear and tear, decay, or other issues requiring attention. They can also clean and polish your dental work to help keep it looking its best. By staying on top of your dental care, you can help prevent small problems from turning into larger, more costly ones down the road. Additionally, your dentist can offer advice on caring for your crowns and bridges at home, such as which oral care products to use and how to brush and floss around your crowns and bridges properly.
At Dana Street Dental, we believe everyone deserves a positive experience at the dentist. Our team is dedicated to creating a warm and welcoming environment where you can feel comfortable and at ease. We offer a range of dental services to help you maintain your oral health and prevent any potential issues for a healthy and beautiful smile.
Keep Your Crowns and Bridges Shining Bright
If you’re missing teeth, getting a bridge can be a great solution to restore your ability to eat, talk, communicate and smile. However, keeping them clean is essential to maintain their shine and increase their longevity.
If you want to learn more about how to care for your crowns and bridges properly, we highly recommend reaching out to our dentists at Dana Street Dental. We can provide valuable tips and advice on proper dental care and tailored treatments to keep your teeth and gums in optimal condition.
Schedule a visit with us today!