We already briefly discussed hygiene, but it’s important to understand exactly what may be expected with a dental bridge. Because the tooth in the middle is missing, there is a gap between the gums and the bridge. This gap can take on many forms, but to provide the best appearance of a tooth, the pontic (middle tooth in a bridge) is set down into the gum to look natural. This is an area that is highly prone to catching food and bacteria. The good thing is that this created pocket is not touching any other teeth or roots, so the concerns are lessened, however, you need to remember the supporting teeth as the bookends of your bridge.
We will get deeper into the bone talk, but that missing tooth is now not stimulating the bone between the two supporting teeth, and it is receding. This is slowly exposing more of the roots of the supporting teeth. These roots are much more difficult to clean at home and even the added flossing with a threader is not enough to ensure they don’t develop more buildup – leading to more bone loss! A regular 6-month dental cleaning visit is incredibly important at this point, but it’s not the only thing you need to do. Cleaning the bridge and surrounding teeth becomes more important than ever before or you risk the bridge failing, or the supporting teeth failing.
Hygiene for dental implants is essentially no different than it would be for your natural teeth. Aside from it being composed of ceramic and titanium, it is just another tooth in your mouth. That does not mean that you can ignore your oral hygiene. The implant and crown can still build plaque and calculus, and poor hygiene can still lead to bone loss. Brushing, flossing, mouthwash etc. is still recommended, as are your regular dentist visits. You may hear that implants need to be cared for differently, but honestly, if you develop good habits you will most likely ensure the longest life for your implant, and your remaining teeth!