Prosthodontics and dentures
Prosthodontics – the replacement and/or restoration of natural teeth. This includes diagnosis, treatment planning and rehabilitation of the oral function by fixed or removable prostheses and restorations such as crowns, bridges, complete dentures, implant retained/supported restorations.
Dental health has improved dramatically over the past three decades. However, teeth that have been filled early in their life are likely to need further treatment at some stage; for some this will simply be replacement of the filling but for others weakened, damaged teeth may require more extensive treatment, or even replacement.
As people are growing older and now keeping their teeth longer, wear of the natural tooth surfaces has also become more of a problem. The prosthodontist can advise and intervene, as early as possible, to manage the extent of wear and restore the appearance and function of the teeth.
The clinical staff understands that it can be very traumatic to lose teeth, so it is important to make sure that treatment is prompt, considered and durable. In most cases, there are a number of treatment options, and the clinicians believes it is imperative to work through these with the each patient to find the one that is most suitable; possible options to replace or restore teeth include veneers and crowns, bridge work attached to teeth or implants. It is also important that the patient is involved in choosing the shape and colour of the teeth.
Removable dentures need to fit well. Badly fitting dentures can be painful and have a serious impact on confidence and quality of life. The prosthodontist will work painstakingly on the fit and appearance of the denture to allow the patient to be as confident and comfortable as possible.
Losing your natural teeth can be a traumatic experience. Whether young or old, the impact of tooth loss is likely to directly affect one’s lifestyle and confidence. Eating out, socialising, or simply smiling can becomes a cause for embarrassment rather than joy.
A solution to this problem is dentures. The practice of wearing false teeth is nothing new. In fact, even the early Etruscans and Egyptians were known to use crude versions of today's dental prosthesis, fashioned indigenously.
Times have changed and so have dental practices. Research has led to the development of aesthetically pleasing, functional and comfortable dentures.
WHAT ARE DENTURES?
Dentures are prosthetic dental appliances constructed to replace missing teeth. Unlike dental bridges and dental implants, which are permanently attached to the bone, dentures are attached to a supporting structure.
This makes them removable and easier to clean and maintain. Affordable dentures are the ones made from conventional plastic teeth while porcelain dentures can be more expensive.
TYPES OF DENTURES
There are different types of dentures:
Complete or full dentures are for those patients who have lost all their teeth on either or both arches. These take some time to get used to as their adjustment depends on several factors like the oral cavity muscles, saliva, bone & tongue.
Removable or partial dentures are used to correct gaps when only few of the teeth are missing. These dentures are fastened to the natural teeth using metal attachments. Partial dentures help in maintaining tooth alignment by preventing the other natural teeth from shifting out of position. They also help to prevent further tooth loss and occurrence of other periodontal disease. There are different kinds of removable dentures - flexible framework, flippers, cast metal and valplast to name a few.
Immediate dentures as the name suggests are placed at once, right after the patient gets his tooth extraction done. Adjustments are done once the healing process has completed.
ADVANTAGES OF DENTURES
Alongside the obvious aesthetic value, cosmetic dentures also have several benefits from an orthodontic point of view.
Our teeth give shape to our jaws, cheeks, and face. Therefore tooth loss can severely change the appearance of a person's face making one look significantly older than their age. Wearing dentures helps to retain the shape of the jaw and face.
When we lose a few of our teeth, the ones remaining can start shifting out of their normal position causing misalignment. Wearing dentures can prevent this.
Dentures also help strengthen facial muscles that control our expressions, proper articulation of words and chewing.
Dentures can also help prevent 'bone atrophy' or loss of jawbone density due to deficiency in the supply of vital nutrients in that area.
If you require a more extensive restoration than a crown or have more than one tooth that needs to be repaired, a good solution is a bridge. Bridges are usually made of a precious metal base which gives them a solid structure and makes them hard-wearing. If you need a bridge in your smile line, porcelain is usually added to the base to make it look more like real teeth. A bridge helps to strengthen the prepared teeth and makes chewing and eating easier because they are fixed and can't come out.
Some bridges can also be fixed to your jaw with dental implants, if you have several teeth next to each other that are missing.
Once you have a bridge fitted, you will have to take extra care of your daily hygiene regime to ensure it stays plaque free and that you can prevent bad breath.