How do I floss around a bridge?

September 20, 2022

How do I floss around a bridge?
Patient flossing around ceramic dental bridge - the dental floss should go under the pontics to clean the debris between the bridge and alveolar ridge

A dental bridge is a good prosthetic treatment option to regain the functionality of teeth and facilitate aesthetics in the anterior portions of the mouth. These prosthesis are usually fixed, taking the support of adjacent teeth and placing them in a manner that the underlying gingiva and ridge is not under excessive pressure.


Dental bridge design and cleaning around it


Fixed prosthesis come in different designs depending on the location of the prosthesis and also the patient's dental attitude. There are designs in which a self-cleansing mechanism is followed. In some others, the patients need to adequately maintain their oral hygiene around the bridge. Lack of oral hygiene maintenance around the prosthesis can cause the gums to inflame and weaken the fit of the prosthesis.


The most routine methods to maintain the oral hygiene around a prosthesis is using a toothbrush, floss and finally rinsing with a mouthwash. A toothbrush can aid in keeping the surfaces of the bridge clean and also eliminate the plaque and debris. It can also help in delivering essential minerals required for maintaing the strength of the teeth on whose support the bridge rests. An interdental brush with ultrafine bristles and a flexible head can be used to clean the interdental spaces. A mouthwash can finally flush out the plaque and its chemical constituent is such that pathogenic microorganisms are killed.


Cleaning around dental bridge with floss threader


A dental threader is a type of floss that should be used to clean the interdental regions of a bridge. The patient should remember that the artifical teeth comprising the bridge should be treated as any other natural tooth in their mouth. The challenge in using a conventional floss for bridges is that its insertion path into the interdental regions isn't the same as conventional floss strings. This is because contacts of the artifical teeth from the top surface of the tooth are too tight for he string to pass through. Hence, patients need a floss that can pass underneath the top surface of the teeth to clean the interdental space. In such cases a dental threader is opted for.


Dental threaders are flexible but rigid devices. They are shaped like a circular hollow structure with a connected thin. The entire threader is thin enough to be passed from the sides of the prosthesis in order to carry out interdental cleaning. There is a certain technique in which these devices must be used.


First, 18-24 inches of floss string is taken which is later tied to the circular part of the threader. One end of the floss is tied in a manner that a loop of the floss material is made. Now, the threader is passed from the side of the prosthesis. The flexible circular portion of the thread on which the floss is tied is easily pushed through the interdental region to the other side of the bridge from where it is pulled. During this action, the tied floss is also guided through the interdental region.


The floss on the side of the threader is then detached. The ends of the dental floss are now held and the threader is no longer needed. The flossing action is now performed by moving the floss back and forth.


Most dental threaders come in a pack containing 25 such units. Their small size makes them travel friendly as well. These threaders are made of nylon, making them extremely compatible to the soft tissues of the oral cavity. The usual dimensions of these threaders are approximately (4x1x5) inches. One threader does not weigh more than 70 grams.


A modification of the floss threader is available in the form of a single strand. Unlike the hollow circular design, this variant consists of a single strand that has three divisions. The ends are made of nylon and are stiff, yet flexible to pass through the interdental regions. The middle portion comprising of the floss material is spongy and soft and is gentle to the tissues. The nylon ends are held and moved in a seesaw motion for the spongy floss material to perform the cleansing action.


The use of dental threaders is not restricted to a fixed bridge. Patients with dental implants, overdenture bars and orthodontic braces can also use the threader conveniently.


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