Dental Implants, Bridges, & Dentures

When you’ve got missing teeth, everyday tasks like eating, speaking, and smiling become a lot harder. Job and relationship prospects get scarcer. Self-confidence takes a hit.
Fortunately, those teeth can be replaced.
There are three options for replacing lost teeth: dental implants, bridges, and dentures. Each has its pros and cons. Whichever you choose, your dentists at Desert Valley Dentistry here in Pocatello can help you regain an attractive, natural-looking smile in a way that supports your whole body health.
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Dental Implants
In terms of look and function, dental implants are the closest thing to natural teeth, serving as artificial tooth roots on which crowns, partials, or even full dentures can be fixed.

While most implant dentists use mainly titanium posts, our Desert Valley dentists use the newer zirconia (ceramic) posts. For one, they’re biocompatible, and because they’re metal-free, there’s no risk of oral galvanism or corrosion that can introduce heavy metals into your circulation. They’re more aesthetic, as well. If the gums recede or thin at all, you’ll never see gray lines at the margins as you do with metal implants.

The other big benefit of implants over other dental prosthetics is that, because the implants integrate with your jawbone, they help maintain your facial structure and integrity.

Single-tooth implants have the highest success rate, and because they will never decay or need root canal treatments, they are the best long-term investment for replacing a single tooth. When multiple teeth need to be replaced, implants can be done instead of a bridge, eliminating the need to work on healthy teeth to create support for the bridge.

Placement of dental implants requires a minor surgical procedure to insert the zirconia posts into your jawbone, using PRF to support the generation of healthy new tissues around them. After a few months, your bone fuses to the implants, after which the crowns, partial, or denture is attached.

And not to worry: You’ll have temporaries or some form of partial to wear, so you won’t have to flaunt a gappy smile while you heal!

A bridge does what it’s name suggests: It bridges an area of missing teeth. The prosthetic is anchored to the healthy, natural teeth on either side of the gap, restoring the natural function and look or your smile, while also allowing you to maintain proper bite alignment for eating and speaking.

The main downside of a bridge, however, is that it requires the dentist to cut down the healthy abutment teeth on which the bridge will be fixed. For this reason, many biological dentists no longer recommend this option, suggesting a metal-free removable bridge – in effect, a partial denture – instead.

While you might equate dentures with total toothlessness, that’s only the case with full dentures.
A full denture replaces an entire arch of teeth. If only some teeth need to be replaced, a partial denture – in essence, a removable bridge – can be used to fill the gaps.

The super lightweight thermoplastic materials available today make partials an excellent, cost-effective option for those who need to replace multiple teeth but don’t want to go the surgical route with dental implants. Strong clasps keep these prosthetics very stable, allowing you to talk, eat, and smile normally, and the aesthetics are superb.

Like partials, full dentures are custom-made to imitate your gum line and teeth and fit your mouth perfectly. When a full denture is properly fitted, you can eat and speak normally, although if you have full dentures on both arches, some foods may provide more of a challenge than they used to. There’s little trouble with slippage – until bone loss occurs, which is normal following tooth loss.

In fact, eventual fit changes due to bone loss are perhaps the biggest drawback of dentures. You will periodically need to get them adjusted, relined, or replaced.

The solution to this is to go with an implant-supported denture, presuming you still have enough healthy jawbone to support the implants. Implant dentures provide a long-term option for replacing your teeth along with the confidence that their stability ensures.

Once the implants are surgically placed, you’ll receive a temporary denture to wear. After those implants have integrated with the bone, healing caps will be placed on the head of each implant. Two weeks later, the caps will be replaced with regular abutments, and impressions will be taken to custom-create your implant denture

Typically, it takes about 5 months to complete a lower arch and 7 months to complete an upper. However, some cases can take up to a year or more.

At your final dental implant visit, Dr. Bybee will insert your dentures and adjust them as necessary, also providing you with instructions for removing and cleaning your dentures and attachments every night.