Dental Bridges in Tacoma

What is a Dental Bridge?

A dental bridge is a time-tested, effective solution for replacing missing teeth. When you have gaps in your smile, it can impact not only your self-confidence but also your oral health. Dental bridges, as the name suggests, bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. They are comprised of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap — these two or more anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth — and a false tooth/teeth in between. These false teeth are called pontics and can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants.

Tacoma dental fillings

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Dental bridges can last up to 15 years or longer with good oral hygiene.

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The Dental Bridge Treatment Process

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Consultation and Planning

The first step towards getting a dental bridge is a comprehensive consultation with Dr. Steve Hong at Rainier Smiles Dentistry. During this appointment, Dr. Hong will examine your oral health to ensure a dental bridge is the right solution for you. He will discuss your treatment options and answer any questions you may have about the process. If a dental bridge is deemed suitable, Dr. Hong will create a detailed treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

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Preparation and Impression

The second step involves preparing the abutment teeth for the dental bridge. This usually involves recontouring these teeth by removing a portion of enamel to allow room for a crown to be placed over them. Next, impressions of the teeth are made, which will serve as a model from which the dental bridge, pontic, and crowns will be made by a dental lab. Dr. Hong will make a temporary bridge to wear to protect the exposed teeth and gums while the dental bridge is being made.

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Fitting and Adjustment

The final step is the fitting of the custom-made dental bridge. During this appointment, the temporary bridge is removed, and the new porcelain or metal bridge is checked and adjusted to achieve a perfect fit. Multiple visits may be necessary to check the fit of the metal framework and bite. Once adjustments are made, the dental bridge is cemented into place.

The Benefits Of Dental Bridges

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Restores Your Smile

Dental bridges are an excellent way to restore the appearance of your smile. By replacing missing teeth, bridges can help you regain confidence in your appearance. They are custom-made to match your natural teeth, ensuring a seamless, natural look.

Restores Functionality

Beyond aesthetics, dental bridges also restore functionality to your mouth. They allow you to eat and speak properly, activities that can be impacted by missing teeth. By maintaining the shape of your face and redistributing the forces in your bite, dental bridges prevent further dental issues.

Prevents Further Dental Issues

When you have missing teeth, the remaining teeth can shift, leading to a bad bite. Dental bridges help maintain the alignment of your existing teeth, preventing these shifts and the resultant potential for further dental complications.

Did you know…

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With advancements in dental technology, there are now different types of dental bridges available tailored to individual needs.

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Call (253) 565-1695!

Have Questions About Dental Fillings? Find Answers Here.

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Is It Painful to Get a Filling?

No, fillings are minimally invasive procedures performed under anesthetic so you won’t feel any pain sensation. We will apply a numbing gel to your gum before injecting a local anesthetic so you don’t feel the pinch of the needle. 

Within a few minutes, your entire mouth will be fully numbed and you won’t be able to feel pain. If you are still nervous about the sound or sight of drills or needles, we can administer dental sedation to relieve your anxiety and put you in a more relaxed state.

The entire process of a filling can be as quick as 20 minutes but it can take up to an hour depending on how large the cavity is. Once the anesthetic wears off a few hours after your appointment, you may feel some minor tenderness or sensitivity in the tooth that lingers for a few days but most patients find the discomfort to be manageable. 

Anti-inflammatory pain medication can be taken for relief and you may want to avoid foods and drinks at extreme temperatures. Chew on the opposite side of your mouth for a few days. While some patients may worry about the pain of a procedure like dental fillings, leaving a cavity untreated will cause much more severe and long-lasting pain compared to the process or after-care of getting a filling. 

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How Long Do Fillings Last?

This depends on the filling material, location, oral hygiene, and wear and tear. We offer two different types of fillings at our office – silver amalgam and composite fillings. Amalgam fillings are the most durable and have the longest lifespan because they’re made of metal. 

These fillings are suitable for the rear teeth which need to withstand more chewing force. On average, they last for 10 to 15 years. Composite fillings, on the other hand, are more aesthetic and metal-free but have reduced durability which is why they are primarily used in the front teeth. 

While they can be placed in the back teeth as well, they don’t last as long as amalgam fillings and may wear down even more quickly when placed at the rear of the mouth. On average, composite fillings last for 5 to 10 years before needing to be replaced. 

To extend the lifespan of your fillings, brush and floss your teeth to prevent new decay from forming, attend regular dental cleanings, and prevent wear and tear. 

Even though composite fillings are tooth-colored, they can become discolored over time and can’t be whitened so you should prevent staining by avoiding tobacco products and limiting your consumption of stains through your diet.

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What Are the Signs I Need a Dental Filling?

A filling is necessary when you have tooth decay that needs to be drilled out or if you have damage to a tooth that has resulted in a chip or hole in the tooth. You also need to replace the fillings that you already have when they have reached the end of their lifespan.

Signs that indicate these problems include tooth sensitivity, sharp or throbbing tooth pain, a loose or falling out filling, a chipped tooth, darkening of the tooth, pain when eating, shredding thread floss when you go to floss your teeth, and jagged edges of the tooth. If you notice any of these warning signs, contact us right away so Dr. Hong can examine your tooth and determine if you need a filling.