Prosthodontics is the dental speciality for the restoration and replacement of teeth. Prosthodontic treatments include veneers, crowns, bridges, dental implants and dentures. Treatment can be for a single tooth at a time but it can also be on a more comprehensive scale where it involves several and sometimes all teeth.
Prosthodontists undertake extensive further training and education to equip them with the skills for restoring optimum function and aesthetics. The techniques used include provision of dental crowns, dental bridges, dental veneers, dental inlays, and full or partial removable dentures (plates). The speciality of prosthodontics also includes the treatment of TMD-jaw joint problems, traumatic injuries to the structures of the mouth and teeth, snoring and sleep disorders, oral cancer reconstruction and continuing care.
A detailed analysis of dental problems is made with particular attention to the concerns of the individual patient as well as the history of previous dental treatment. Diagnostic information is gathered including examination, radiographs, photographs and casts of the mouth. Collation of this information allows a comprehensive evaluation to be made in coordination with the referring dentist, and other dental specialists as required. The Prosthodontist will explain the various treatment options that are appropriate to the diagnosis. A written report is usually provided outlining the nature of the dental problem and the treatment options, including an estimate of all fees and the anticipated outcome.
A crown is a restoration that covers a tooth, giving extra strength and improving the tooth's aesthetics. Crowns can be made of porcelain and precious metal compounds of gold, glass or porcelain and should be matched closely to the natural shade of the teeth.
Bridges replace missing teeth. They comprise false teeth, known as pontics, anchored with crowns on neighbouring teeth. The supporting teeth need to be strong and healthy to support the bridge though precisely positioned implants can also be used.
There are many types of dentures but they all share the common goal of replacing missing teeth in as comfortable and aesthetic way as possible. Partial dentures replace a few missing teeth while full dentures are used by patients who have lost all their teeth in either one or both jaws. Successful dentures carefully constructed with the patient's input are often described by the patient as life changing. It is also one of the most professionally rewarding treatments that a prosthodontist can provide. Dentures can be made from a variety of materials, including porcelain and plastic, and can be removable or fixed using dental implants.
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots used as a permanent replacement when one or more teeth have been lost. Implants are small titanium screws that are placed directly in the jawbone, acting as a stable support for replacement teeth in the shape of crowns, bridges or secured dentures.