800 North Center Parkway
Kennewick, WA 99336
511 S. Sequim Avenue
Sequim, WA 98382
1033 Regents Boulevard, Suite 201
Tacoma, WA 98466
Dr. Martin J Matovich Dmd
300 Se 120th Avenue, Suite 400
Vancouver , WA, 98683
Dr. Irving Cohen
509 Olive Way Ste. #1028
Seattle, WA, 98101
Dr. Suzanne Ruth Megenity, D.D.S.
1801-1st Avenue Suite 2A
Longview, WA, 98632
Churchill Den. Prac. & Perth Sedation
316 Churchill Avenue
Subiaco, WA, 6008
What is used to get across a gap -- a bridge of course! A dental bridge spans the gap between one or more missing teeth giving you a better smile.
Your teeth not only help you chew and speak correctly, but also contribute substantially to your smile and overall appearance (your teeth give form to your face and without them, your facial features can be significantly affected.) If lost teeth are not restored, other teeth often shift, causing crooked teeth, leading to cavities and gum disease. Dental bridges restore potentially compromised oral health to full function.
A bridge is a special dental appliance used to restore missing teeth. There are several types of bridges used to span the space. The three most common types include:
An assortment of materials are available depending on the function and appearance. Porcelain, tooth-colored acrylics, gold alloys, and alloys made from non-precious metals all provide important restorative qualities along with making your smile the way you want it.
Normally at least two visits are needed for preparing the teeth, custom-designing the bridge, and making adjustments for proper fit and comfort.
With bridges, extra care must be given to your gums and teeth. Bridges add more stress to existing teeth and must be supported by healthy gums. Otherwise, these key teeth are susceptible to decay and affect the bridges.
Brushing twice a day and flossing daily along with regular dental visits are essential to good oral hygiene. Flossing is often easier by using floss threaders that help to remove cavity-causing bacteria between the dental bridge and adjacent teeth.
Because bridges are intricate and sometimes difficult to clean, your dentist might suggest a special instrument that helps in caring for your teeth. Similar in design to professional dental cleaning instruments, it's made of tiny filaments that rotate to "swoosh" into the crevices between the teeth and below the gum line. Ask your dentist about this special cleaning device.
With good oral hygiene, a fixed dental bridge can last eight to ten years or more and provide years of service enhancing your smile and appearance and your oral health.
By Danine M. Fresch, DDS
When the concept of dental implants and the mechanisms in which they work were introduced to mainstream dentistry during the late 1970's, the advent of dental implants opened up an excitingly new chapter in dentistry.
Through the 1980's, the news of the successful procedure of dental implant surgery spread at an explosive rate. It took approximately ten years of repeated long-term success for the procedure to gain validity.
By the early 1990's dentists readily accepted implant dentistry as an adequate and routine substitute for missing teeth in all areas of the mouth.
Restoring dental implants has undergone a paradigm shift from simply validating that dental implants work to recreating missing teeth with a chameleon-like effect. Even though implants can be restored with a very high degree of success, one of the most difficult and critical areas in the mouth to achieve great esthetic results is in the upper front jaw -- specifically when replacing a single upper central incisor tooth.
Single-tooth implant dentistry present dentists with unique challenges. When a single central incisor tooth is removed due to periodontal disease, tooth decay, trauma, or nerve failure, the body responds by shrinking the bone and gum tissue in place of the missing tooth. The body no longer needs the supporting bone structure; therefore, the bone is decreased and the gum tissue shrinks because of bone resorption.
In order to achieve a natural appearance to the final restoration, restorative dentists must attempt to replace what nature he as taken away. An unnatural appearance will be the result if the tooth is replaced without considering augmenting or "plumping up" the support structures. It would be like placing a great painting in the wrong frame, thus having a diminished outcome.
Certain steps are necessary to achieve a successful outcome, especially in the most demanding implant cases, like replacing a single upper front tooth. Before the decision to place an implant is made, patients should know the sequential steps.
The process starts with a thorough exam. Clinically, dentists should examine the affected area and the entire mouth. A comprehensive exam of the bone and soft tissues must be performed along with taking specific X-rays and possibly detailed bone scans to identify any potential complications.
An analysis of your smile should also be performed. Do your teeth and gums show when you smile? Does your upper lip drape over your teeth? If the patient has a high lip line that shows teeth and gums, the need for bone and soft tissue grafting may be necessary.
By discussing several of the aspects necessary for implant treatment, you can be more aware of the possibilities, as well as the limitations, associated with implant dentistry. Armed with various soft and hard tissue grafting techniques, ceramic material advancements, and better dental implant components, dentists are able to satisfy even the most esthetically-minded patients.
By Benjamin O. Watkins, III, DDS