By: Dr Duan Thirion, Dentist
In the world today, prevention and conservation efforts across various spectrums of life are more prevalent than ever. In dentistry, this is no different and nor should it be. Maintaining your dental wellness is imperative to your general well-being, while preventing painful, unnecessary and costly diseases and procedures.
As dental practitioners, we are constantly seeking to prevent diseases rather than cure them. However, when called upon to treat diseases, we strive to preserve as much of the natural dental structure as possible with careful, precise and conservational protocols. While this is achievable with dentistry, dentistry cannot operate alone. Your oral hygiene plays an imperative role and, seeing as March is Oral Hygiene Month, I want to highlight the important role that oral hygiene plays in the protection of your teeth, and therefore, your general health.
The pillars of oral hygiene
In my professional opinion, effective oral hygiene rests on two pillars: prevention and maintenance.
Prevention. The crux of the matter is that we have to prevent gum and bone diseases, as the integrity of these two components are integral to supporting your dental and oral health. Most gum and bone diseases start with minor changes to the gums and are, in most cases, asymptomatic and unnoticeable to the untrained eye. This is why it is so important to regularly check in with your oral hygienist, because not only do they supply tools and invaluable techniques for maintaining your oral health, but their expertise allows them to recognise any gum changes that might indicate the need for further investigation or intervention.
Maintenance. As the world of dentistry becomes more advanced, our treatment processes become more complex and involve the intervention of medical devices that need to integrate with your healthy, living tissue. It is of cardinal importance that you, as the patient, understand exactly how these systems are consolidated into your mouth, with the maintenance of said systems becoming more complicated and time-consuming. For example, in some patients, we see a combination of many dental treatments including vital- and non-vital teeth, and implants with different types of prosthesis (see before and after pictures below). In complicated cases such as these, the cleaning and maintenance routines should form part of the preliminary consultation before a commitment to any procedure is made, as the maintenance of these complicated systems calls for sufficient understanding as well as specialised tools. Again, this is where regular checkups with your oral hygienist is vital: not only do they protect your investment, but also, more importantly, your overall well-being.
It is no secret: your oral health is directly linked to your cardiac and systemic health. For this reason, I have asked oral hygienist, Ms. Yolinda Lingenfelder, to give us a practical guide to maintaining these complex treatment systems and prosthesis.
CROWNS, BRIDGES AND IMPLANTS: THE WHOLE TOOTH ABOUT KEEPING THEM PRISTINE
Dental crowns, bridges and implants are three of the most common prosthetic dental procedures, and, just like natural teeth, they require proper cleaning to ensure longevity and optimal oral health.
Over time, plaque and bacteria builds up on and underneath these dental prosthetics, which can lead to painful gum infections and other avoidable dental problems. Therefore, practicing excellent, routine oral hygiene is the key to maintaining your crowns, bridges and implants.
Follow this step-by-step guide to keep your dental prosthetics and smile in tip-top condition:
- Brush your teeth twice daily with a high-quality, soft-bristled toothbrush, preferably from a reputable brand, like Curaprox.
- Use a toothpaste for your specific needs – consult a qualified oral hygienist about what is best for your unique case.
- Brush for three minutes to ensure your teeth and mouth are properly cleaned.
- Pay careful attention to cleaning around and underneath your crowns and bridges.
- Floss once a day using a method demonstrated to you by your oral hygienist.
- Special techniques and tools must be used to floss dental bridges. Curaprox interdental brushes or a Waterpik are perfect for removing plaque and food particles from in between and around your crowns and bridges.
- A professional cleaning every six months is of utmost importance to maintaining optimum oral health, so book an appointment with your oral hygienist well in advance.
Tools of the trade
Here are two important tools to keeping your crowns, bridges and implants clean and bright:
An interdental brush. This small, soft brush is used to clean those narrow, hard-to-reach places in between the teeth that normal toothbrushes can’t get to. They are available in a variety of sizes, so speak to your oral hygienist about the best option for your unique needs.
A Waterpik. This nifty device helps prevent the build-up of food particles and is an excellent companion to flossing, but not a substitute. These oral irrigators use a stream of water to dislodge plaque and food debris built up around and underneath bridges, crowns and implants.
Proper cleaning and maintenance of your crowns, bridges and implants are essential for your oral hygiene and dental health. By following these tips, using the correct brushing and flossing techniques, and scheduling regular teeth cleanings and check-ups with your oral hygienist and dentist, your pearlies will certainly remain white and bright!
At HealthSmile, our team of experienced dental professionals truly understands the importance of maintaining your dental prosthetics, and we love talking about it too! Contact us to set up a consultation so that we can best advise you regarding your unique dental needs. Let us implant a seed of crowning glory for your bridges! Email email@example.com to learn more.
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