How do you floss a dental bridge: An impossible dilemma made easy
Solving oral hygiene problems: How do you floss a dental bridge?
Flossing is a key member of the oral hygiene flossing, almost like the middle brother that no one really pays attention to as opposed to his older brother .. brushing or his younger brother .. Mouthwash, but flossing is just as important, if not more so, than those two. Only flossing can clean the areas between the teeth which are almost always the source of all problems of the mouth including gum disease and decay; However, flossing is not easy, and it becomes virtually impossible if you have braces, or if you have large restorations as dental bridges. So here, we attempt to remedy just that, and explain how do you floss a dental bridge.
Dental bridges are essentially 2 or more crowns, joined together with strong joints in order to fill an empty space left by an extracted or lost tooth. Bridges last from 8 to 12 years, and unlike popular belief, they can trap food, induce decay and even accumulate plaque and tartar, so they need an effective method of cleaning. Unlike natural teeth, dental bridges have no spaces between its units, so this means that the traditional string floss can’t pass to clean the areas that need cleaning. Not only that, but bridges tend to trap food and debris under them (between the bridge and the gums) and this area is often neglected and could result in both inflammation of the gums as well as problems to the teeth carrying the bridges.
Another problem with bridges is the way the contact the neighboring teeth. Natural teeth have a kind of “light but tight” contacts between them, which allows the string floss to open this contact for a brief moment as it passes, before it closes again. With bridges or crowns the situation is different. Crowns are covered by porcelain, which could have a rough surface or minute nodules in the contact area, in addition to having a larger than natural contact area. This is because some dentist and laboratories tend to favor over-sized crowns as opposed to under-sized ones – and they are quite right because an open contact entails a variety of problems that cannot be solved except with a replacement of the entire restoration – which makes it a difficult task to pass a piece of string between a tooth and a bridge or crown.
Understanding these problems, How do you floss a dental bridge?
As you can probably deduce, string floss isn’t gonna cut it. It is impossible to pass it between the units of the bridge, and quite difficult to pass it between the bridge and natural tooth, so we need to explore other options. With bridges, there are essentially 4 viable ways to floss:
The good ole string floss attached to a small rigid tip, like a needle and thread. This “needle” is strong enough to pass easily under the bridge to clean the underside, and there is also no need to pass the string between the bridge and the tooth since the threader fits under the contact area. This is the simplest and cheapest method, but it has a problem of difficult manipulation. It is not easy for everyone to pass the threader under the bridge, and most people don’t know what to do once they do, and for that reason this method is not entirely popular.
A small tooth pick like structure, but covered with hair instead of wood which makes it gentler on the gums. The interdental brush is strong and rigid enough to pass under the bridge, and is easy to use in a back and forth movement. It also easily fits under the contact to clean those shielded areas. They are available in every shape and size, and sold in packs that could last a couple of weeks. A very popular option.
These devices use a strong stream of air to clean the food remnants and debris. Very easy to use, just point and click, and are capable of cleaning under bridges, around braces and in tight contact areas; However, they are not adequately tested and don’t receive as much attention as water flossers, and due to the lack of a coolant, they generate quite a bit of heat which could damage the gums under the bridge.
The solution to all problems related to flossing. These amazing devices are capable of cleaning anything and anywhere. They use a strong, pulsating jet of water to wash away calculus and debris, with a delivery system similar to a small pen. As you can imagine, they are extremely easy to use with no need for special skill, and they can easily clean under bridges, between crowns and natural teeth, around braces and anywhere else you can think of. The water current adapts itself to the location and effectively pushes away the plaque and food remnants. These devices have been tested for ages, and studies have shown that they decrease gum inflammation and bleeding for people with braces or heavy restorations as bridges by more than 29%. So basically, the solution to our problem is something as simple as water .. Go figure!!
You can choose any of these methods according to your preference and financial situation. While water flossers may seem as the obvious choice, you should know that they are not cheap, and cannot be placed everywhere because they need quite a bit of space (newer models are smaller and therefore are portable, but not as effective as the originals) in addition to being extremely messy, so don’t rule out the other methods just yet.
In conclusion, it is wrong for you assume that a dental crown or bridge is an artificial structure and therefore does not need to be cleaned and maintained, because they need just as much care as natural teeth, and sometimes even more. So the next time you find yourself wondering how do you floss a dental bridge, just select whichever one of these methods that suit you best.