At Tuttle Crossing Dental Group, it is our mission to provide you with the best possible oral care. To do this, we provide care to improve the health of your mouth and its beauty with prosthodontics. However, what is prosthodontics? Here are several frequently asked questions regarding prosthodontics.
What is prosthodontics?
Prosthodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA). It deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and maintenance of the health, functions, comfort, and aesthetics of the mouth.
What is a prosthodontist?
A prosthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the restoration and replacement of teeth. Much like every other dentist, they complete four years of dental school and obtain either a DDS degree or a DMD degree. Moreover, like other specialists, prosthodontists complete an additional three years of education and training, which earns them a specialty degree, a master’s degree (MS) or, in some instances, both.
What services does a prosthodontist perform?
A prosthodontist performs numerous services, specializing in restoring damaged teeth. They also replace missing teeth, along with tissues (both hard and soft tissues) in the mouth and face. They use a variety of different treatments including:
Along with these treatments, prosthodontists can also restore proper bite, treat facial and TMJ pain, and restore the functions and appearance of the teeth of trauma victims, cancer patients and more.
Is a prosthodontist different from a cosmetic dentist?
The ADA recognizes nine different dental specialties. “Cosmetic dentistry” is not one of these specialties. During the three additional years of training, prosthodontists receive extensive training and experience with dental aesthetics and cosmetics. Cosmetic dentists, on the other hand, usually have more limited training and experience. Their training is often received in seminars, or during the weekend, or weeklong sessions.
How can a prosthodontist improve my smile?
A prosthodontist can perform some different services to improve the health and quality of your smile:
What causes tooth loss?
Tooth loss can occur as a result of several different issues:
Why is it Important to replace missing teeth?
It is imperative that missing teeth be replaced. Missing teeth can have several serious consequences on your overall quality of life:
What are dentures?
Dentures are one of the oldest options available for replacing missing teeth. Dentures have evolved over the years to become more natural looking, less bulky and much more comfortable. They are a removable prosthesis, consisting of false teeth set into an acrylic gum-colored base. The base is created from a mold of your mouth, and are designed to be supported by your gums, and held in place by suction. Dentures can be used to replace a full arch of missing teeth (full dentures), or sections of several teeth in a single section (partial dentures). Partial dentures have the added support of metal clasps that hook onto your healthy teeth.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are the latest option available for replacing missing teeth. They have also quickly become one of the most popular options. They consist of small titanium rods that are surgically inserted into the jawbone. Implants rely on a process known as osseointegration, which is the fusion of your jawbone with the rods. This occurs while you heal. Successful fusion essentially turns the implants into “roots” that support your replacement teeth.
Implants are highly customizable. They can be used to replace any number of missing teeth. To suit your needs, there are several different kinds of implants:
Which option is best?
Dentures and implants are both popular options for replacing missing teeth. They both restore the functions of your teeth, as well as your smile. Each has their own set of benefits and drawbacks. A consultation, which includes a thorough oral examination, will help us to determine what the best course of action is for your specific situation.
Along with restoring your eating and speaking abilities, dentures can be used if you have suffered too much bone loss to be considered a candidate for dental implants. Dentures do have a few downsides. For one, they require a substantial amount of extra care. They need to be removed every night for cleaning. They can slip out of place, causing not only an embarrassing situation but some painful denture sores as well. One of the biggest disadvantages of dentures is that they do nothing for the health of your jawbone. Over time, your jawbone begins to resorb and change shape. This means your dentures will no longer fit properly. To avoid serious discomfort, dentures need to be replaced approximately every seven years.
Implants provide a permanent solution to tooth loss. They do not need to be removed. In fact, the only time they are removed is if they need maintenance. They are more comfortable than traditional dentures, with your replacement teeth being supported by the implants rather than your gums. They can, and should, be brushed just like your natural teeth. The biggest advantage of dental implants is that the rods imitate the functions of the roots of your teeth. They stimulate your jawbone, which helps to preserve the health and integrity of your jawbone.
Despite their many advantages, implants do have a few downsides. For one, they require a surgical procedure. They also require a lengthy recovery period, which can range from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the number of implants that have been placed. You have to have sufficient bone mass for implants to be successful. While the All-on-4® Treatment Concept may work for some, others may first require a bone graft, which is another major surgery that requires a substantial healing period.
Does a prosthodontist do all of the work?
The prosthodontist is considered to be the coordinator, or architect, of your dental treatment. We develop a treatment plan that is unique to your specific needs. It is designed to restore the functions of your mouth, along with its aesthetics. In some cases, we may need to consult with other specialists, such as periodontists, to provide you with a solid foundation for your restorations. Your treatment plan will indicate which, if any, other specialists may be required.
How do I care for my restored smile?
Proper care of your restored smile is essential for ensuring that it stays healthy and beautiful. Brushing and flossing daily will help to reduce the amount of plaque and bacteria buildup in your mouth, reducing your risk of gum disease. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will also help. A well-balanced diet will ensure that your teeth and jaw get the nutrients they need. Quitting smoking will improve both your overall health and your oral health (and appearance). For ceramic, porcelain and composite resin restorations, it is important that you avoid biting on anything too hard, as your restorations can chip or fracture. Finally, regular dental visits at least twice a year will not only help your teeth (and gums) to stay healthy, but it will also allow us to assess the condition of your restorations to ensure that they are in good shape.
If you have any questions regarding prosthodontics or are ready to schedule your consultation, contact Tuttle Crossing Dental Group today at (614) 973-6585!