If you don't think replacing a lost tooth is a pressing issue, you may want to brush up on your dental health knowledge. When a tooth is missing, it causes a plethora of dental problems. A gap between teeth not only produces aesthetic problems, but missing teeth hinder eating and speaking. The biting force will change, causing other teeth to shift. And without teeth for support, patients may suffer bone loss, jaw deterioration and premature aging. The best way to preserve your jaw is to visit a dental professional for tooth replacement.
Your Special Agent
You may be thinking what is a prosthodontist and what do they do? A prosthodontist is a dental specialist who concentrates on replacing missing teeth and restoring damaged teeth. Although most general dentists are trained to replace missing teeth, prosthodontists require an additional three years of schooling to study their specialty.
Prosthodontics is the use of artificial teeth to take the place of those that have succumbed to dental disease, trauma or a tooth extraction. But with a skilled prosthodontist, your replacement teeth will look anything but fake!
If you're looking for a dentist with extensive experience in tooth restorations, a prosthodonist is an excellent choice. Your general dentist may refer you to a prosthodontist if you require an extensive procedure or suffer from an oral disorder caused by a birth defect or injury.
Choose Your Replacement
There are several treatments available for restoring diseased teeth and replacing missing teeth. A prosthodontist can discuss your options and help you decide which is best for you. Prosthodontists are especially skilled in the following procedures:
Dental Bridges -- A dental bridge is a series of dental crowns used to permanently replace one or more missing teeth. During the procedure, the prosthodontist cements the dental crowns on either end of the dental bridge to the surrounding abutment teeth, literally "bridging the gap" made by the missing tooth.
Dental Crowns -- Prosthodontists can save a tooth that is fractured, has a large tooth filling or has had a root canal. The prosthodontist "caps" the tooth's surface with a porcelain or metal dental crown to preserve the interior structure and root, prolonging its life for years to come.
Dental Implants -- Dental implants are a close fit to real teeth, and they are a standard practice in dentistry. During the dental implant procedure, the prosthodontist surgically places the dental implant into the jaw. After the dental implant heals, a dental crown or dental bridge is attached to the post, providing a permanent, stable solution for missing teeth. Dental implants are also used to hold removable dentures in place.
Dentures -- Prosthodontists offer two types of dentures, depending on your needs. Full dentures are used when all teeth have been lost or extracted. A partial denture is a removable appliance that fills the void for one or several missing teeth.
Dental Veneers -- Consider getting your smile makeover from a prosthodontist. Veneers are thin, wafer-like shells that are cemented to the front of your natural teeth. Ideal for stained, crooked or chipped teeth, porcelain dental veneers completely cover tooth abnormalities for a beautiful smile!
No Tooth Left Behind
Other disorders that prosthodontists treat are cleft palate, TMJ, sleep apnea and bruxism. Patients who have suffered from traumatic dental injuries or oral cancer can also benefit from a prosthodontist's services, especially when seeking full mouth reconstruction. Prosthodontists are even skilled in cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening and dental bonding. And thanks to advancements in cosmetic dentistry, prosthodontists now offer natural-looking restorations. With dental treatment from a prosthodontist, no one will know the replacements aren't your real teeth!
Whether you're interested in replacing teeth for restorative or cosmetic purposes, a prosthodontist can help. Many artificial restorations look and function like your real teeth, and a full set of teeth will keep your dental health intact. So if you're exploring your tooth replacement options, consider meeting with a prosthodontist to preserve your smile for years to come!