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How to Clean and Floss a Fixed Bridge

Updated on July 13, 2011

What is a Fixed Bridge?

A dental bridge is an artificial prosthesis comprising of a false tooth that is attached to a structure and worn in the mouth.  It is used to replace missing teeth in the mouth.  It can be removable or fixed.  Removable bridges can be taken out by a patient, whereas fixed bridges are cemented into the mouth and can only be removed by a dentist (or unless it is defective and has come loose).

Fixed bridges generally comprise of a false tooth (or teeth) that is suspended between two crowns that cap the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth (or teeth).  Because they cannot be removed, they must be cleaned in the mouth.  Due to the nature of a fixed bridge, the manner in which they are cleaned is somewhat different to how natural teeth are cleaned.

How to Clean and Floss a Fixed Bridge?

It isn’t difficult to clean a fixed bridge however it does require a little more care and dedication compared to the regular tooth cleaning procedures.  Though most individuals clean their fixed bridges as they normally would with their other teeth, there is a tendency to neglect flossing it.  However, for individuals wearing fixed bridges, flossing is even more critical than ever.

Brushing a fixed bridge is fairly similar to brushing normal teeth.  It is important to brush all around the teeth as much of it as possible and remove plaque and food debris that has accumulated around the fixed bridge. 

Because the false teeth of a fixed bridge hang over the gums, there is a gap between the teeth and the gums that serves as a food and bacteria trap.  Often this gap is too narrow for a toothbrush to clean effectively.  If the gap is large enough, you may find it possible to use interdental brushes (very small brushes that are designed to clean larger gaps between teeth) to clean under the bridge.  However, for most cases, flossing is required.  Food and bacteria that are not cleaned from under the bridge can compromise the lifespan of the fixed bridge.

A fixed bridge comprises of several teeth (natural and artificial) being stuck together and there are no gaps between the teeth to slide your floss between.  As such, fixed bridge wearers need to purchase a special type of dental floss called “superfloss”.  An alternative would be to use regular floss with a floss threader.

Superfloss is a special type of floss that designed especially for individuals wearing fixed bridges and braces.  It has a stiff end and a fluffy, roughened end that serves like a sponge.  The stiff end is used to thread the floss into the gap under the bridge.  Once through, you can run the fluffy end of the floss forwards and backwards to clean under the false teeth and the margins of the crowned teeth.  Be sure to clean all the way from one end of the bridge to the other.

Floss threaders are similar to needles.  They have an eye where the floss is threaded through and the “needle point” is then inserted into the gap between the gums and the false teeth of the fixed bridge.  Once the floss has been threaded, it is simply a matter of sliding the floss forwards and backwards to clean under the bridge.

Cleaning a fixed bridge is not difficult.  However, it does require additional time and care.  If you want to prolong the life of your fixed bridge and your teeth, it is important that you not only brush your fixed bridge but floss under it, too.

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