Prosthodontics is a dental specialty that focuses on diagnosing and treating oral diseases, maintaining healthy oral function, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the facial structure, and replacing and restoring teeth. Prosthodontists are dentists who train for extra years to gain expertise and understanding of the entire facial structure-teeth, gums, jaws, and lips.
Prosthodontists are called smile architects and are capable of treating all kinds of oral health issues, ranging from mild to moderate.
What are the dental procedures available under prosthodontics?
1. Restorative procedures
Dental damage is inevitable and with advancing age teeth are bound to become inflicted with chips, cracks, decay, fractures, and discoloration. Prosthodontics provides various restorative procedures to treat such teeth and restore their function, shape, and color.
The various restorative services available under prosthodontics are:
a. Dental crowns
Crowns are tooth-shaped and tooth-colored dental prosthetics used to cover a damaged, decayed, or worn out teeth. They are custom-made porcelain jackets and are permanently cemented in place using a dental adhesive. They enhance the color, shape, size of teeth and add a delightful look to one's smile. Crowns not only improve the aesthetic appeal of teeth but also provide strength to the teeth they are bonded to.
b. Tooth fillings
Tooth fillings are the most commonly used dental restorations for treating teeth inflicted with decay, chips, cracks, and discoloration. In the case of decay, the damage is drilled out and the cavity is filled with a tooth filling made from a malleable material like porcelain, ceramic, amalgam or an alloy of metals like gold and silver.
c. Dental implants
Missing teeth damage the oral cavity in more than one way. They not only impair the basic functions like chewing and biting but also hamper the aesthetic appeal of the smile. Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth and restore the function of the oral cavity and beauty of the smile. They are titanium screws, surgically placed below the gums, in the jaw. Dental implants act as false tooth roots and are attached to a dental prosthetics like crowns, bridges, or dentures to fill the gaps left by missing teeth.
d. Dental bridges
Dental bridges are also used to replace one or more missing teeth. A bridge consists of an artificial tooth (pontic) connected to a crown on either one or both sides. The artificial tooth covers the gap left by a missing tooth and crowns are cemented on the teeth present adjacent to the gaps-they act as anchors for the bridge.
A denture is a removable prosthetic device, professionally designed to replace one or more missing teeth on the upper or the lower dental arch. It consists of artificial teeth attached to a gum-colored base. The base fits snugly over the soft gum
tissues, while the artificial teeth act as a replacement for the missing teeth. Dentures are custom-designed for each patient using the impressions of their mouth and are fabricated in a dental lab using state of the art technology.
f. Dental veneers
Dental veneers are extremely thin (wafer-like) shells of porcelain bonded to the topical surface of teeth to fix dental deformities like chips, cracks, fractures, gaps, and discoloration. Veneers are popular among patients looking for both restorative and cosmetic dental procedures.
2. Cosmetic procedures
Prosthodontics employs a lot of cosmetic dentistry procedures to enhance the appearance of the oral cavity and make it look aesthetically striking. Today, cosmetic procedures are gaining more ground than ever and have become the most coveted forms of dental service. Cosmetic procedures available under prosthodontics are:
a. Teeth whitening
Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedure and is performed in a dental office under the supervision of an experienced dentist. An oxidant-rich gel is painted on the surface of teeth to break down stains and transform yellow,
brown teeth into lustrous pearly whites. Teeth whitening removes all kinds of stains- intrinsic, extrinsic, and age-related.
b. Dental bonding
Tooth or dental bonding is the easiest and least expensive procedure used to improve the cosmetic appeal of teeth. It uses a tooth-colored, plastic-like composite resin to fix teeth inflicted with decay, chips, fractures, and discoloration. The composite resin is applied to the inflicted regions of teeth and hardened using a special blue light.
It is a quick process and requires a single visit to the dentist's office.
c. Enamel reshaping
Enamel reshaping makes the surface of teeth uniform and even by removing chips and rough spots and filling unsightly gaps with composite resin. The end result is a flawless and mesmerizingly uniform smile.
d. Crown lengthening
Crown lengthening removes extra gum tissues that cover the surface of teeth and make them look small and unsightly. Dental lasers are employed in this procedure to eliminate the soft gum tissues and make the teeth look long, uniform and pleasing.
3. Oral or maxillofacial surgery
Prosthodontics also provides a versatile range of oral and maxillofacial surgeries. These surgeries are performed to treat disorders inflicting the facial structure and skeleton, including the jaws and mouth. Oral surgeries are generally performed for:
● Extracting impacted wisdom teeth and canines.
● Placement of dental implants.
● Treating congenital facial disproportion like cleft lip.
● Treating advanced periodontal diseases.
● Managing injuries and dental trauma.
● Treating complex disorders oral cancer, TMD, and sleep apnea.
4. Other services
Prosthodontics is dealt with dentists who train for extra years to gain expertise in treating and managing complex dental issues. Prosthodontists also provide the following important services:
● Full mouth rehabilitation after injury to the mouth.
● A complete smile makeover to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the oral cavity.
● Treating and managing genetic defects that inflict the oral cavity.
● Treating and managing complex issues like TMD and sleep apnea that not only affect the oral cavity but also the overall body functions.
At Murray Dental Care of Cupertino, our entire team of dentists and hygienists is committed to providing supreme quality dental care to our patients and their families. If you are inclined towards taking the first steps to improve your dental health and hygiene, call us at (408) 253-5277 to book an appointment.