Seeing a prosthodontist makes a lot of sense if when having damaged or missing teeth. You should not have to go through life with a toothless smile or one that embarrasses you. Fortunately, there are dental professionals ready to help and restore your smile and the function of your mouth. Of course, prosthodontists are not…
When You Should Visit a Prosthodontist
A prosthodontist specializes in treating patients with clinical conditions leading to missing or damaged teeth and oral or maxillofacial tissue that compromise oral function, comfort, and appearance. These highly trained dentists can replace a single tooth or entire parts of the jaw and face. Patients can see these professionals for a wide range of treatments to improve their teeth and smiles.
What prosthodontic treatments are offered?
Prosthodontic dentistry consists of three distinct categories to treat oral concerns and address the consequences of systemic or trauma-related conditions.
Common procedures involve the permanent attachment of dental prostheses, including crowns, bridges, veneers, and implants. Patients can seek prosthodontic treatments to address missing teeth or tooth damage due to accidents or gum disease to ensure:
- A stronger jawbone
- Better chewing function
- A pleasing appearance
- The health of surrounding teeth
The success of fixed prosthodontic procedures relies upon a healthy jawbone and gums to support prosthetics and promote good oral health. For example, in addition to supporting crowns, dental implants stimulate jawbone growth to prevent atrophy. Implants serve as placeholders for missing tooth roots and prevent the shifting of surrounding teeth.
Patients can also benefit from fixed prosthodontic treatment to replace full sets of upper and lower teeth with dentures mounted permanently to multiple implants along the gumline. Although fixed prosthodontics can replace teeth lost to gum disease, patients must practice proper dental hygiene to prevent a recurrence.
Dentures are the most common removable prosthodontics that patients can wear comfortably for long periods and remove easily for cleaning. Prosthodontic treatment may involve a partial denture for patients missing a few natural teeth. This consists of a frame that attaches artificial teeth to natural teeth on either side of a gap in the mouth.
Patients with widespread tooth loss can receive complete sets of removable dentures to replace upper and lower teeth. A prosthodontist may first remove any remaining teeth in a patient's mouth before placing an acrylic gum-colored base over the natural gums to support prosthetic teeth.
Gingival veneers are a flexible and removable acrylic, ceramic, or resin prosthodontic option that can address tooth discoloration near the gum line and improve the appearance of receding gums. Gingival veneers can replace surgery for some patients with congenital gum abnormalities or natural gum recession.
Patients with congenital abnormalities, oral disease, or head and neck trauma can see a prosthodontist for bone and tissue replacement to improve chewing, swallowing, speech, and appearance. Maxillofacial prosthodontists work alongside cosmetic and dental surgeons, nose and throat doctors, neurologists, oncologists, and other medical professionals to address patients' functional and cosmetic concerns.
Individuals with temporomandibular problems involving discomfort of the jaw's muscles and joints due to clenching and grinding the teeth can also benefit from maxillofacial prosthodontic care. Standard treatments include occlusion therapy to stabilize the jaw joint using splints or mouthguards; however, severe cases may benefit from injections and surgery to relieve inflammation or repair and replace the jaw joint.
Patients with complex oral, dental, and facial conditions can benefit from seeing a prosthodontist. These dental professionals have experience performing advanced procedures that improve patients' lives dramatically.
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