Prosthodontics is a specialty within dentistry that focuses on the replacement of missing teeth. There are several ways to replace teeth including bridges, partials, dentures, and implants.
Bridges are a common option to replace a missing tooth, especially if the teeth on either side have pre-existing crowns or large fillings. We say this because in order to make a bridge, the two teeth right next to the missing tooth must be reduced so that two crowns can be placed over top with a “dummy” tooth attached in the middle. A bridge is permanently cemented into place, and cannot be removed. With this option, you will not be able to floss in between the teeth connected to the bridge, and therefore our hygienist will have special instructions for at-home care so that you are able to properly clean under the bridge.
If you have several teeth missing on both sides of your mouth, a partial might be the best option to replace missing teeth. A partial can be made of acrylic material that is tinted pink to match your color of gum, and teeth that match the shade of natural teeth still present. A partial uses metal clasps that are hidden or retention for stability, so that they do not move around when eating or talking. The partials are removable and needed to be periodically cleaned professionally, because they can build tarter on them just like normal teeth. We recommend cleaning partials every night in a dental bath filled with an effervescent tablet and brushing with warm water.
Dentures are fabricated, using a local lab, when you are missing all of your upper teeth and/or all of your lower teeth. They are held in your mouth through retention and suction and may also require an adhesive in some cases. In order to make a new set of dentures, we recommend four appointments to ensure proper fitting and tooth color and size. We want these dentures to last for the rest of your life, so we take the extra time to make sure that you are completely happy with the end result. The first appointment involves taking impressions, which are immediately sent to the lab. The lab sends back a wax model where we can try on the teeth to make sure everything fits well and you approve of the color. If everything feels and looks the way you imagined, you will receive your new set of dentures with a denture bath and a complete set of instructions for proper care. We are also able to send broken dentures, or dentures with missing teeth to the lab for a same-day repair.
Another popular way of replacing teeth is by having an implant placed. An oral surgeon would place the implant into the jaw bone, in a painless way. After about 6 months of healing, to make sure the bone grows around the implant (which resembles a small screw), you will come back to see us. We are responsible for putting a tooth on top of the implant, and making it look like the rest of your teeth. The advantages to the implant is that rarely does anything ever go wrong with them; they do not decay; they are permanently seated in your mouth; because they are not connected to the surrounding teeth, you can floss easily; and also if something ever happens to a surrounding tooth, the implant would not be jeopardized, since it is acting as a stand-alone tooth. It is one of the most advanced methods to replace teeth, and for that reason we recommend implants when it becomes an option.
Love this place! Always treated with respect. Dr. Wall takes his time to truly give each of his patients one-on-one attention, as if he/she were his own family. Our family’s entrusted Dr. Wall for over 25 years! I leave with a beautiful smile every visit!! It feels like home. Thankful for Bellevue Dental, Dr. Wall, Meredith and ALL the dental assistants. Phenomenal job!!
Bellevue Family Dentistry. Family best describes this place. You really feel like you the staff and Kevin Wall are all part of a family. Only dentist I’ve ever been to where I felt completely at ease.