(360) 312-3187
1101 N Forest St
Bellingham, WA 98225

Restorative Dentistry

Restorative dentistry at Dentistry with SmilesYou don't have to live with damage, discoloration or gaps when it comes to your teeth. There is a procedure that is right for you and your unique situation. From bridges, to dentures, to implants, we can help or point you in the right direction.

Dental Bridge
Bridges are used to replace a missing tooth in both a cosmetic and functional fashion. A bridge structure is one or more artificial teeth anchored in place by natural teeth, crowns or implants, on each side of the bridge. Using a bridge to fill the gap from missing teeth helps restore proper bite. It also prevents teeth from shifting to fill the gap (which may lead to additional bite and jaw joint issues). Bridges can be constructed from gold, porcelain and metal, or ceramic. Ceramic bridge color is made to match your natural tooth color. Material choice will depend on structural requirements, wear and aesthetics. Read More About Dental Bridges

Dentures are a replacement option for missing teeth. A complete denture is a removable prosthesis of white plastic teeth in a pink gum-colored plastic base; the denture rests on the remaining gum ridge once all of the teeth in the arch have been removed. Read More About Dentures

Partial Dentures
Often called a "partial," this type of denture is often used when only some of the teeth are missing. A partial denture is a removable appliance held in place by gripping the remaining healthy teeth, usually with metal clasps or wires. Read More About Partial Dentures

Single and Multiple Tooth Implants
Dental implants are the closest dental restoration to your original teeth. They are natural-looking and provide the functionality of a normal tooth. Dental implants require the same maintenance as a normal tooth; brushing, flossing, and regular check-ups. Dental implants can replace missing or severely damaged teeth and can be used to secure restorations like dentures and dental bridges. Patients with dental implants often have greater satisfaction and results than other types of dental restorations. Read More About Single and Multiple Tooth Implants
Restorative dentistry at Dentistry with SmilesYou don't have to live with damage, discoloration or gaps when it comes to your teeth. There is a procedure that is right for you and your unique situation. From bridges, to dentures, to implants, we can help or point you in the right direction.

Tap the links below to read about some of the restorative services that our practice offers. (Tap again to close.)

► Dental Bridge
A smile restored with a dental bridge by Dr. Ullsmith A dental bridge can be used to restore a missing tooth. We can create a customized bridge that is cemented in place for a permanent restoration. Once completed, the patient can chew their regular diet and resume normal activities, and the device will stay in place, even while you sleep. If you are missing one or more teeth, Dr. Ullsmith can meet with you, examine your specific situation and together we can create a treatment plan to fit your needs. Working with our highly professional staff at Dentistry with Smiles we can restore missing teeth, restore your bite, and improve your oral health.

How does a dental bridge work?

Patients often feel confused when considering a partial denture and a dental bridge. Though both prosthetics are designed to replace missing teeth, the fit and feel are very different. Both options present benefits depending on your needs.

A partial denture is a removable device. It is designed to replace multiple missing teeth in any location on a single arch. Partial dentures are held in place using a clasping system, and just like traditional dentures, they are removed each night and placed in a cup of cleaning solution or water. Patients who wear partial dentures need to give their gums and soft tissues a break. For patients who have multiple missing teeth on either their upper or lower arch, and the missing teeth are not neighboring, may find a partial denture to be ideal.

A dental bridge is a permanent device, meaning that it is not removable. Dr. Ullsmith cements the bridge in place. A bridge is designed to use two anchors, which can be either two healthy teeth or dental implant posts, with one or two false teeth in between. Because of its design, bridges are used for up to two missing teeth only if they are neighboring. A bridge is a single device consisting of a dental crown on either end; the crowns are placed over healthy teeth or implants with a false tooth in the middle, creating a bridge. The huge benefit that patients receive from the application of a dental bridge is the ability to forget that they are there. You never have to think of them differently from the way you think of any other tooth in your mouth. Dr. Ullsmith will check the status of your bridge and if the cement is holding firm during your annual dental exam.

Caring for your dental bridge is important. Just as you care for your regular teeth through brushing , flossing, and rinsing, you will continue to care for your dental bridge. Though a bridge can not develop a cavity, the patient can still experience problems with bacteria causing gum disease. Gum disease can damage your anchor teeth, leading the necessity to remove the bridge.

Patients who have a dental bridge like that the device improves their aesthetic, improves their chewing function, and prevents teeth from shifting in their mouth which can lead to problems with their bite. Teeth that are allowed to shift out of control can cause a disaster with your bite, your look, and lead to TMJ dysfunction.

We would love to show you how a dental bridge can improve your oral health. The process begins with scheduling an appointment with our front office staff. (360) 312-3187

► Dentures
Smiling Couple with Dentures by Dr. UllsmithWhen the condition of the teeth has deteriorated so far that they can no longer be repaired, removal is the only option. Dentures are a "replacement" option for missing teeth. There are two variations of dentures: partial dentures and full dentures. The difference between the two lies in how many natural teeth remain.

A complete denture is a removable prosthesis of white plastic teeth in a pink gum-colored plastic base; the denture rests on the remaining gum ridge once all of the teeth in the arch have been removed.

It is important to note that life with an upper and/or lower denture is a major lifestyle change when compared to natural teeth. Dentures impact the type of food you are able to eat, your self-confidence in social situations and even your self-esteem.

Reasons for a Full Denture

•  All teeth missing in the same arch
•  Restore chewing ability
•  Restore a natural looking smile
•  Economical alternative to other procedures

An upper full denture will almost always feel better than a lower full denture. In order to dramatically improve the fit of a lower full denture, we frequently suggest using dental implants as a retentive mechanism. Implants placed in the lower jaw can help anchor the denture and significantly improve comfort. Sometimes, the implants can even be placed in the jaw after a denture has been in use for several years.

► Partial Dentures
Tooth loss poses numerous problems for your overall quality of life. When you are missing a section of your teeth, it impacts your ability to properly chew your food. Chewing is the first, and a critical, stage in the digestive process, allowing for the breakdown of your food so that your body can access essential nutrients. Tooth loss can impair your speech, making it difficult for others to understand you. The surrounding healthy teeth eventually begin to shift out of their natural alignment, which throws off your bite and leads to a whole host of other issues. At Dentistry with Smiles, we can restore the functions, and appearance, of your mouth with partial dentures.

What are Partial Dentures?

Partial dentures are a removable prosthetic device that is designed to replace sections of missing teeth while leaving your healthy teeth completely intact. After all, when you have healthy teeth, there is no need to extract them. Partial dentures consist of false, acrylic resin teeth that are set into a gum colored acrylic base. They also have metal clasps, which attach to your healthy teeth, providing your denture with greater stability.

How Do Partial Dentures Work?

Partial dentures are created from an impression of your mouth, and custom created in a lab to fit perfectly in with the rest of your teeth. The gum colored base is meant to sit directly on your gum tissue, which provides the denture with some support, while the metal clasps provide additional support. When in place, partial dentures restore the functions of your missing teeth, making daily tasks such as eating and speaking, easier once again.

Adjusting to Life with Partial Dentures

It does take some time to adjust to having a partial denture in your mouth. It often feels a bit odd at first, but it should take just a few weeks to grow accustomed to it. There are things you can do to help yourself adjust, including eating soft foods in the beginning and making sure you cut your food into more manageable bite-sized pieces. Chewing on both sides of your mouth can help to evenly distribute pressure. You should also avoid eating anything chewy or sticky. These types of foods can dislodge your partial denture, which can then cause painful sores. Finally, avoid forcing your denture into place, as doing so can damage it, and bend the clasps.

Do Partial Dentures Require Special Care?

Dentures do require additional care each night. It is important that they are removed nightly for cleaning with a special denture paste. Do not use toothpaste, as toothpaste contains abrasives that can lead to microscopic scratches (which create an ideal home for bacteria). Leave your dentures out to soak each night. Make sure that you continue to brush your natural teeth as normal, and don’t forget to brush your gums as well.

Benefits of Partial Dentures

Partial dentures have several benefits:
•  You can properly chew your food again, which, in turn, improves digestion and overall nutrition.
•  Your speech is improved.
•  Partial dentures hold your natural teeth in proper alignment, preventing them from shifting out of place.
•  Your smile and your confidence are restored.

Partial dentures can go a long way in restoring your quality of life. For more information, or to find out if partial dentures are right for you, contact Dentistry with Smiles today at (360) 312-3187.

► Single and Multiple Tooth Implants
Complete your smile with one moDr. UllsmithIf you are missing one or more teeth, you might be weighing the pros and cons of dental implants. Could they really be that much better than partial dentures? If the look and function of your teeth are important to you, then dental implants are the answer for you. Implants are a much stronger alternative to dentures, allowing you the same ability to talk and eat without embarrassing issues or decreased abilities. In addition, dental implants help prevent bone loss in your mouth and can last a very long time with proper care. There is no other dental solution that provides these benefits for your oral health.

Crowns and conventional bridges or dentures may not be your only options when replacing missing teeth. For some people, dental implants offer a smile that looks and feels very natural. Implants are surgically placed below the gums over a series of appointments, and fuse to the jawbone. Implants offer stability because they fuse to your bone, a process called osseointegration. Integration of the implants into your jaw also helps your replacement teeth feel more natural, and some people find the secure fit more comfortable than conventional substitutes. Candidates for dental implants must have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant.

Reasons for Dental Implants

•  Replace a missing tooth
•  Maintain healthy bone levels
•  Help support overdentures
•  Keep the look and feel of a real tooth where one is missing

What Does a Dental Implant Involve?

Implant Site Preparation

The gum tissue is opened to expose the bone area where the implant will be placed. In situations where there is insufficient bone structure, bone grafting may be a recommended procedure. Once healthy bone has been established, a special drill is used to prepare the bone to receive the implant.

Placing the Implant

After the bone has been prepared, the implant is placed and the tissue is sutured. After seven to ten days the sutures are removed. The healing process takes three to six months. This is the amount of time it usually takes the implant to become part of the bone of the jaw.

Attaching the Post

When the gum tissue is ready, a special post is attached to the implant; it is the support for the new porcelain crown. Today's technologies often include zirconium abutments attached to the implant post, to assure that the new porcelain tooth possesses translucency properties similar to a natural tooth.

Placing the Crown

After impressions are taken a crown is made and shaded to match your existing teeth. The crown is then slipped over the post and cemented. This final prosthetic crown appears as a natural tooth.

There is a high rate of failure of implants in patients who smoke, so dental implants tend to not be an option for patients who are actively smoking. We will help you determine whether dental implants will be a good tooth replacement option for you. Proper brushing and flossing will maximize the longevity of your new dental implant.
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