Dental Bridge Treatment in Everett, Washington

Are you missing one or more teeth? Replacing lost teeth has a number of esthetic and health benefits, and a dental bridge is just one way to achieve this.

A tooth bridge is a natural-looking restoration which is fixed in place using adjacent teeth or implants as anchors. Unlike dentures, you don’t have to worry about a bridge falling out when you eat or speak. However, it is not the right solution for everyone.

At Perfect Smiles Dentistry we offer affordable dental bridges in Everett, WA. Take a look at the different types available, or book an appointment to see if this is a suitable treatment for your missing teeth.

example of a 3 piece tooth bridge

What is a dental bridge?

A bridge is a type of fake tooth which is held in place by the neighboring teeth or by implants. Traditional bridges can be made to replace one or two missing teeth in a row, provided the anchor teeth are strong enough and in good enough condition to support the prosthesis. Patients missing more teeth than this will need to consider an implant bridge or dentures.

A tooth bridge can be placed in almost any position in the mouth, although at Perfect Smiles we prefer to place them only on the back teeth. If you are missing a tooth at the front of your mouth, we would recommend a dental implant for better esthetics and functionality.

When made from tooth-colored ceramic, bridges look and feel just like natural teeth. You can forget all about your missing tooth and start to eat and smile with confidence again.

How does a bridge differ from a dental crown?

A dental crown acts as a cover to protect and strengthen a tooth which has been damaged by decay or trauma.
It is placed over the remaining healthy tooth structure and secured in place with dental cement.

A crown can also be fixed to an implant to replace a single missing tooth.

In contrast, a bridge consists of two or more teeth ‘units’ in a row. The end units either attach to other teeth (called abutment teeth) or to dental implants.

Types of dental bridge

The types of dental bridge differ in the way that they are secured in your mouth. Here are the main options:

Traditional dental bridges

Traditional bridges consist of 3 or 4 units. The one(s) in the middle are the false teeth (pontics). The two end units are hollow crowns which are secured on top of the two adjacent abutment teeth.
 
The main downside of this type of restoration is that the two healthy teeth either side of the gap must be shaped to accept the crowns. In doing this, some enamel is removed from them. If you ever wish to replace the bridge with an implant, the abutment teeth will need to be fitted with individual crowns.
 
Even so, a traditional bridge is a durable and functional solution to replace one or two missing teeth.

Cantilever bridges

A cantilever bridge works in the same way as a traditional bridge, except the pontic is held in place by only one abutment tooth.
 
Cantilever bridges are being used less and less these days. They are less durable than those held in place on both sides. However, there may be some occasions where a cantilever bridge is still the best solution.

Maryland bridges

A Maryland bridge is a little different; it is secured in place not with crowns but with ‘wings’ bonded to the back of the supporting teeth.
 
This type of tooth bridge is most often used for front teeth. It helps conserve more of the abutment teeth than a traditional bridge, but an implant is still preferable in terms of esthetics, longevity and durability.

Implant-supported bridges

Where more than two teeth in a row are missing, one solution is to place an implant bridge. Two carefully placed implants can support up to four or five new ‘teeth’, so they are a great option for anyone who is missing several teeth but wants to avoid removable dentures.
 
Implant placement is a surgical procedure and it’s usually several months before the permanent dental bridge can be placed. It’s worth the wait though, since teeth implants can last a lifetime when cared for properly.

Tooth bridge materials

Dental bridges can be made from metal, ceramic, or a combination of the two.

Full ceramic bridges are the most esthetically pleasing since they look just like natural teeth. Porcelain fused to metal (PFM) comes in a close second, although a dark line may begin to show at the base of the crowns over time, so we usually recommend ceramic-only to our patients.

Silver-colored bridges are usually the cheapest, but don’t look great. And some patients opt for gold bridges, which are typically the most costly.

example of a 4 piece tooth bridge

Dental bridge procedure at Perfect Smiles Dentistry

If you visit our dental practice for a tooth bridge in Everett, Washington, you’ll probably need to make 4 visits in total. Here’s what to expect at each appointment:

Appointment 1: Assessment

A detailed clinical examination and an x-ray will confirm whether you are a good candidate for a dental bridge. Your dentist will explain your options and discuss the best treatment for you.

Appointment 2: Teeth preparation and temporary bridge placement

The next step in the dental bridge procedure is to prepare the abutment teeth by shaving off a thin layer of enamel. After this, the dentist will take impressions of your teeth. The lab will use these to make your bridge a perfect fit. A temporary bridge is placed to cover the abutment teeth while the lab makes your prosthesis.

Appointment 3: Permanent bridge placement

Once the bridge is ready, you’ll return to have it placed. Your dentist will check that it fits properly in your mouth, and they may make some small adjustments before cementing it in place.

Appointment 4: Follow-up

At your final appointment, your dentist will confirm that the treatment was successful and the bridge is functioning as expected. 

woman with restored teeth is smiling into the camera while husband is reading a book

Does it hurt to get a tooth bridge?

We want all our patients to feel as comfortable as possible when they visit us. Before beginning this treatment, your dentist will numb the area in your mouth so you don’t feel a thing.

You may experience some soreness after having a temporary or permanent bridge placed, especially around the gumline, while your mouth gets used to the new prosthesis. If this happens, you can take OTC painkillers to ease any discomfort.

Caring for a bridged tooth

Dental bridges can be expected to last for ten years or more if the abutment teeth and surrounding gums remain in good condition.

To prolong the life of your dental bridge you can:

Follow your dentist’s advice immediately after treatment. You may be told to avoid certain foods and drinks for a while.

Clean your bridge carefully. Your toothbrush won’t reach right around the fake tooth, so it’s important you floss every day to remove food particles and plaque. An oral irrigator might make the task easier.

Avoid sticky foods. Although your bridge is firmly cemented to your teeth, it’s best to avoid very sticky foods like toffee.

Quit smoking. Tobacco use contributes to a whole host of oral health problems, and any restorative treatment will likely last longer if you quit.

Are there alternatives to dental bridges?

We’ve already mentioned that implants are really the best way to replace a missing tooth, but why is that? Well, the implant inserted into your jaw bone mimics a natural tooth root and stops the bone from deteriorating. This helps stop your face from sagging after you lose a tooth. Implants are also very secure and natural-looking, and they should last a long time.

If you are on a tight budget, you might prefer dentures as a more affordable option. Dentures are versatile and can replace one, several or all of your teeth. These false teeth are removable, which some people see as a downside, and they can also be uncomfortable if they don’t fit perfectly.

Affordable dental bridges in Everett, Washington

Dr. Kavitha Gowda and the team at Perfect Smiles Dentistry are proud to serve the community of Everett, WA and beyond with affordable and esthetic dental restorations. Book an appointment today to discuss the best way to restore your smile, whether with a dental bridge or another treatment.

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If you have any questions, please contact us at: info@myperfectsmilesdentistry.com
Or call us: 425-513-2222

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