If you're unfamiliar with prosthodontics, the primary thing you should know is that it is a specialty focusing on those patients who have lost teeth or are in need of advanced care for oral health damage. If your dentist has referred you to a doctor in this field, it is because your problem is beyond his level of expertise. This is nothing to fear. While your problem may be advanced, that does not mean it is without a solution. Take comfort in the fact that medical and dental science has come a long way in the last twenty years. There are procedures and options available to you now that will blow your mind.
A dentist specializing in prosthodontics will be an expert in a number of procedures related to bringing your teeth into proper care. These include crowns, veneers, dentures, dental implants, and more. While some of these procedures will of course overlap with the duties of your regular dentist, others may beyond their scope. In any event, you're often better entrusting your oral health procedures to someone who is educated, experienced, and steeped in performing them on a daily basis.
When the uninitiated patient looks at the procedures performed under the prosthodontics specialty, they may wonder what separates a dentist in this specialty from someone operating under the banner of cosmetic dentistry. In some cases, this is a good question. What's important here is to separate medical science from layman phrases used for marketing purposes. Cosmetic dentistry is not an officially recognized specialty. You can not go to school to become a "cosmetic dentist". Certainly, anyone with the education in prosthodontics would make a fine cosmetic dentist. But many dentists in this specialty are more immediately concerned with treating a patient's health.
Some patients grow fretful when they are passed from specialist to specialist in an attempt to complete treatment. This is understandable. People get familiar with one doctor or dentist and want them to perform all of their treatment. This is not always the case of someone who specializes in prosthodontics, however. Some will surely prescribe a treatment plan and will then refer you to other surgeons and dentists who can carry out the specific procedures. Others will see you through to the very end. Do not get discouraged or frustrated with this method of treatment, as it is designed to give you the very best care at every turn. Still, if you would prefer to have a single individual do all of your work, make sure you ask about this process when evaluating your dentist.
Prosthodontics is a field of dentistry that specializes in replacing missing teeth with implants and prosthetics (false teeth). A prosthodontist is a dentist who has undergone a four-year ADA program to make him eligible for practice prosthodontics, in a sense that he has the skills to administrator a full mouth reconstruction in cases where the patient has lost all of his / her teeth due to an accident or because they are crooked and the patients wanted to replace them with dentures.
A prosthodontist also specializes in the diagnosis of teeth and mouth bite routines. A person with an awkward bite is premature to future mouth injuries in long-term impairments. The work of a prosthodontist is delicate and requires care and precision when creating false teeth. These false teeth or "dentures", as both dentists and patients prefer to call them, help the patient in facilitating a normal bite. Dentures are made up of preserved materials (for the teeth) and special plastic (for the gums), that give the dentures a natural and life-like look. Dentures need not only be for an entire set of teeth. Some dentures are used to replace even just two missing front teeth.
Prosthetics are expected to last for about 30 years or more, depending on the eating habits and hygiene of the patient. Dentures are supposedly to be brushed like normal teeth, to let them live longer and to reduce the bacteria and stain build-up.
Severe cases of dislocated teeth that have been caused by congenital defects and trauma from accidents require more specialized training when installing prosthetics intended to replace dislocated body parts other than the teeth. "Maxillofacial prosthetics" is a specialization requires an additional year of exclusive training in Maxillofacial Prosthetics. This sub-specialty of prosthodontics requires more precision, since other prosthetics are expected to be fabricated and installed on the gravely malformed face. This includes artificial eyes, nose and other facial prostheses. The prosthodontist will, more often than not, require aid from other medical and dental specialists to conceptualize the new prosthetics.
Maxillofacial prosthodontics is the most highly regarded specialization in the field of dentistry due to the complexity and longetivity of work required to restore severe cases of both dental and maxillofacial deformities.
Fixed prosthodontics is a cosmetic / esthetic way to replace missing or repair / concealed damaged teeth by the use of several dentistry methods, which include:
1. Crowns – or "caps" are used by dentists. This process involves getting a negative of the tooth to be covered by the crown. Afterwards, the tooth impressions are sent to a dental technician, in which the technician, in turn, fabricates the crown using different dental materials (depending on the agreement of the patient & dentist). Materials include: gold, silver, other metals and the cheaper porcelain.
2. Bridges – are false teeth installed on the gums, where the dentist attaches them to adjacent or neighboring teeth. "Abutment teeth" is the term used for the teeth where the dental bridges are attached to.
3. Inlay – is a filling made up of a solid substance (gold / porcelain) that is cemented in the drilled portion of the tooth. An inlay used for sever cases wherein a composite or amalgam filling is not enough to repair the damaged structure of the tooth.
4. Onlays – are used for teeth whose structure can not be repaired by inlays or dental composites alone. Onlays are used when the cusp or perimeter wall of the tooth is missing. Gold is the preferred substance used on onlays, since gold never tarnishes and is durable enough to withstand any future cracks and sills that may compromise the structure of the filled tooth.
5. Veneer – is a thin layer of decorative (composite or porcelain) material used to conceal cracks, malocclusions and gaps in between adjacent teeth. Veneers are bonded onto the surface of the teeth. People who suffer from healthy but slightly malocclused teeth are given the preferred option of getting veneers.[Top]