PROSTHODONTISTS CAN HELP IN MANY WAYS
Your prosthodontist will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each type of treatment. Additional recommendations regarding continuing care will be coordinated with your general or family practitioner or other dental specialists.
Prosthodontists can help in many other ways. As American Dental Association recognized specialists, prosthodontists offer services in state-of-the-art procedures and techniques, such as:
- Dental implants
- Complex care management involving multiple specialists
- Cosmetic dentistry
- Special needs of geriatric patients
- Children born with cleft palate or missing teeth
- TMD-jaw joint problems
- Traumatic injuries
- Snoring and sleep disorders
- Oral cancer reconstruction and continuing care
Natural teeth and the underlying bone provide a framework that supports the structures of the face including the lips, cheeks and the nose. When teeth are lost the ability to eat and chew properly is impaired, and it becomes difficult to maintain a proper diet. Without support from the teeth, the face will sag creating a look of premature aging. Additionally, without teeth we cannot speak clearly and distinctly.
A complete denture replaces all of the natural teeth in the upper or lower jaw, or both, sitting on the soft (gum) tissue of the mouth that covers the bone ridge. Your Prosthodontist may use several different procedures to make sure your denture will fit the shape of your mouth and provide the necessary support for the face. The design of the denture and position of the teeth will restore good speech and appearance. A Prosthodontist has extensive training and experience in creating well-fitting and attractive dentures.
However, over time, the gums and bone supporting the denture will shrink causing the denture to become loose. Periodic visits to your Prostodontist are necessary to check the fit of your denture. If required, the denture can be adjusted and refit. It is also important to check the overall oral health of your mouth to help ensure optimal results from your treatment.
Loss of natural teeth can dramatically alter your facial appearance and affect your attitude towards life. Missing teeth may lead to loss of self-esteem and embarrassment. Through modern and predictable techniques, dental implants have enhanced the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world.
Dental implants are substitutes or replacement tooth roots. A tooth consists of a crown and a root. The crown is part of the tooth, which is visible in the mouth. The root is under the gum tissue, surrounded by bone. Implants are placed into the bone so that a prosthetic crown can be firmly attached. State-of-the-art technology in implant dentistry makes it possible to provide replacement that look, feel and function like natural teeth.
If you are a candidate for implant dentistry look into "going to a pro" prosthodontist. The benefits are additional education and training. Prosthodontists are the true experts in esthetic procedures.
Replacing Lost Teeth
As we age, some of us lose our teeth due to disease, injury and even wear, which places unnatural stress on the mouth's structures and shape. It is not only the teeth that change, but the supporting structure such as the bone and gum tissue as well. When you lose a tooth, the bone shrinks, and this can result in changes to your facial appearance.
A prosthodontist is specially trained to recognize these changes and restore your smile. There are many options that your prosthodontist can offer if you have lost some or all of your teeth. Using modern technology and materials, prosthodontists provide attractive, comfortable and functional solutions for replacing lost teeth.
Your prosthodontist will provide a thorough examination, which may include x-rays and models of your mouth to determine which treatments are available to you. You may need to discuss the options of either a removable partial or a complete denture.
Removable Partial Dentures
A removable partial denture is used when there are still natural teeth left. The missing teeth are replaced by this type of denture in an effective and esthetic design using both the soft tissue ridges and teeth to hold them securely in place. This tooth replacement is removable by the patient, which makes cleaning easier.
Because removable partial dentures use teeth and soft tissue for support, you may be given the opportunity to choose a variety of treatment plans. Your prosthodontist will discuss these options after a thorough examination of your teeth, soft tissue (gums and cheeks), remaining bone and surrounding anatomy. The examination should also include x-rays (radiographs) or impressions to make models of the mouth. After reviewing all the necessary information with your prosthodontist you will be able to make an informed choice.
The new teeth will look natural and are made from plastic or porcelain (ceramic) materials. The foundation of the partial denture can be plastic or a combination of plastic and metal. There are different methods used to secure the partial denture in your mouth. Metal clasps are the most common and they may or may not be visible. The denture can often be made to fit the existing shape of your teeth, or it may be necessary to alter your remaining teeth. Your prosthodontist will indicate which design will be most appropriate for you.
Post Insertion Care
When you receive your new denture your prosthodontist will make sure that it fits properly. However, your treatment is not quite finished as there is always a period of adjustment to become accustomed to the new denture. Your prosthodontist is committed to making you comfortable and is happy to adjust the fit of your dentures. As each individual has unique needs, please ask your prosthodontist what to expect at any time during your treatment and for instructions on how to care for your new dentures.
Regular Dental Check-Ups
Whether you need a complete or removable partial denture it is important to note that your treatment doesn't end when you receive your denture. Periodic dental check-ups are key to maintaining your oral health. If you have complete dentures you should have oral exams to check the fit of your denture and to make sure your mouth stays healthy. If you have a removable partial denture a thorough examination and cleaning of your remaining teeth should be done regularly.