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Prosthodontics is a dental specialty dealing with the design, creation, and placement of artificial tooth replacements, as well as other parts of the mouth. Your dentist uses prosthodontic techniques for the preservation or restoration of functionality, health, and aesthetics using diagnosis, planning, rehab and maintenance.
Who requires prosthodontics?
Some common prosthodontic issues include:
- Cosmetic dentistry
- Dental implants
- Patients dealing with TMJ disorder
- Replacing missing teeth
Let’s take a look at some common prosthodontic treatments and what they involve.
Dental implants are an incredible type of technology that allows people to chew, bite, and smile normally. As the name suggests, they are implanted firmly within the jawbone. So they cannot slip or fall out as dentures may do.
An implant is placed over the course of multiple visits. During the first, your dentist will implant a metal post made of a titanium alloy. At a subsequent appointment, after your jawbone has grown around your new implant, an abutment will be placed over this post. Finally, the entire structure will be capped off with a dental crown.
A veneer is a thin type of material placed over one or more teeth to correct minor cosmetic problems like chips, cracks or discoloration. Porcelain is the most popular type of dental veneer. It is preferred because it is a durable material that is also extremely stain resistant.
Porcelain veneers are normally placed during two dental visits. At your first appointment, your dentist will form an impression of your teeth, which is sent to a dental laboratory to actually create your porcelain veneers. At a later appointment, they will be attached to your teeth using dental cement.
One alternative to porcelain veneers is a material known as composite. Although it is less expensive than porcelain, composite is also not as durable. It has a tendency to break down and become stained over time. However, composite can make a suitable substitute until a patient can afford porcelain.
A crown is a type of “cap” that is colored to match surrounding teeth. It is a type of restoration to re-create the natural shape, appearance, and function of a tooth. Common crown materials include porcelain, composite resin, metal and ceramic.
Dental crowns solve quite a few problems in the area of prosthodontics. For example, a dental crown can be used for the restoration of cracked, weakened, discolored, or worn-down teeth. Following root canal treatment, a crown can also be placed on top of the tooth to provide additional strength.
Fixed Dental Bridges
A bridge is a type of fixed restoration for the replacement of one or more missing teeth. The teeth may be missing due to extractions, injuries, decay or disease. Most bridges are made of porcelain, or a porcelain and metal combination, depending upon the patient’s desired outcome and budget.