Prosthodontists are experts in the restoration and replacement of teeth. Loss of your natural teeth, whether it be from an accident or as part of the aging process, can be traumatic and have an effect on your outlook of life. The simple pleasures such as going out to eat or smiling can become stressful or embarrassing. With the help of a prosthodontist, you will have many options if you have lost some or all of your teeth. Crowns, bridges and full or partial dentures are just some of the procedures that can help you get your smile back and improve your self-confidence. Another option that has improved greatly during the past ten years is Dental Implants. These are a more permanent solution thanks to the newest techniques of prosthodontics. Whether you need to replace one tooth or many, a prosthodontist will work with you every step of the way all the way through the follow-up care. After 4 years of dental school, prosthodontists complete an extra 3 years of specialized training in an American Dental Association (ADA) accredited graduate program. They are trained to handle the most complex of dental restorations.
- Complete Maxillary Denture: A removable prosthesis (replacement for a missing body part) to replace missing teeth on the upper jaw. These are most commonly known as false teeth. Dentures are usually made up of acrylic resin and the "gum" and "teeth" parts are made to match as closely as possible to the existing gums and teeth. Complete dentures replace the full set of teeth and partial dentures replace only some of the teeth. The use of dentures can improve chewing and speaking capability and restore your confidence. The process of making a denture and adjusting the denture will take numerous trips to the dentist. While making this denture, the dentist will take multiple molds of the patient's mouth and measure the size of the jaw, teeth and spaces in between. They will also note the color of the teeth and gums so the end result is as close as your own mouth as possible. There will be some minor adjusting before the denture is made. Depending on the type of denture, some of the teeth may need to be removed in order to prepare for the denture. The mouth’s structure may change after all of the preparation for the dentures and may take a while to settle. A temporary denture will be used until the final denture is fitted and after the gums are healed. It is very important for the denture to fit correctly to ensure comfort and to make speech and eating much easier. At first, the dentures will most likely be uncomfortable and, in some situations, they may even cause sores on the palate or gums due to rubbing. Don't worry! This will not last. After a few visits, the denture should feel comfortable and barely noticeable to the wearer. Once the denture is fitted, it is very VERY important to look after it and keep it clean. Like natural teeth, they need to be brushed to remove food and plaque. The structure of the mouth and jaw changes as we get older. Therefore, dentures need to be replaced every 5 years on average.
- Complete Mandibular Denture-
Same as above, but for the lower jaw of the mouth.
A dental flipper is the cheapest way to replace a missing tooth. It is often used as a temporary tooth replacement while you wait for a dental bridge or for healing after a dental implant is placed. A flipper is made out of acrylic. It is made by taking an impression of your mouth and then a plaster cast is poured. This is sent to a lab with a prescription of the shade of the tooth and then a tooth is selected to match closest to that shade. A dental flipper is made to be temporary, but some people wear them for years.
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth to cover the tooth. Crowns are important because they are used to restore a tooth’s shape, size, and strength, and to improve its appearance. A dental crown may be needed for the following situations:
- To repair a tooth that has been severely worn down.
- To encase a dental implant.
- To repair misshaped or severely discolored teeth.
- To anchor a dental bridge in place.
- To cover a tooth that was weakened, usually due to decay.
- To stabilize sections of a cracked tooth.
- For broken tooth repair.
- To reinforce a tooth that has had a root canal.
- To cover and strengthen a tooth where there is a large filling and very little tooth structure remaining.