A prosthodontist might not be the first specialist that comes to mind when you think of teeth repair. Today, it is easy for a general dental office to tackle all your teeth problems, thanks to advances in technology. However, you need specialized care to improve your smile. A general dentist address issues such as dental carries and gingivitis with ease, but a prosthodontist handles implants, veneers, crowns, and dentures better. Prosthodontists deal with general cosmetic and restorative dentistry to give you a perfect smile. Whether you need invasive or non-invasive surgery to correct dental issues, a prosthodontist is your best bet at getting the issues corrected.
Prosthodontists replace and restore teeth. They deal with issues such as damaged teeth, missing teeth, teeth misalignment, discoloured teeth, bite problems, and others that need restoration. Prosthodontics is one of the nine dentistry specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. They diagnosis teeth problems then use restorative and cosmetic means to restore or replace your teeth. Prosthodontists do not just repair your teeth. Your teeth need to work together to give you a great looking face, enhance your speech, and allow you to eat with ease. A prosthodontist, therefore, seeks to restore your overall oral health and improve your facial appearance.
The ADA doesn’t recognize cosmetic dentistry. However, this is what prosthodontist offer. It is treatment that considers the function of a fitting (such as veneers), and the aesthetics of the fitted product. For instance, if you are getting veneers to cover a chipped tooth, the prosthodontist will cover the tooth while enhancing the overall look of your teeth. While a general dentist may recommend composite resin filling for teeth cavity, the prosthodontist might recommend a more extensive correction. The composite resin mimics your natural teeth and it is handy in restoring small cavities. However, the resin filling is a temporary fix. A prosthodontist, on the other hand, might consider replacing the tooth or using permanent solutions such as porcelain and zirconia. The prosthodontist considers the function of the teeth while paying attention to the natural appearance of your teeth. Most restorative and replacement procedures affect the health of your teeth after treatment. Granted, treatment means restoring function as a whole, and also improving the appearance and overall oral health. Unlike a general dentist, a prosthodontist goes through three additional years of training in an ADA-approved program. This gives them the knowledge to handle surgery and other complex dental issues that may affect you.
Veneers are fittings on the front surface of the tooth to improve the appearance of the tooth or correct dental issues such as chips and cracks. They are ideal for those with discolored, chipped or broken, or misaligned teeth. The process is simple; the prosthodontist examines the teeth and takes impressions of the teeth where the veneer will fit. They then remove half a millimeter off the surface of the enamel where they will fit the veneer. Once fitted, the veneer can last up to 20 years. It is a cosmetic procedure as much as it is a restorative procedure.
Crowns are restorative caps that surround the natural tooth to prevent further damage while the tooth is still in good shape. Unlike veneers, the prosthodontist will remove a relatively large piece of the enamel to cement the crown. Crowns feature materials such as porcelain, zirconia or precious metals – the material one chooses depends on their budget.
If you lost one or more teeth, a prosthodontist can help you replace it. To do that, the prosthodontics uses dental implants, dental bridges, or dentures. Dental implants involve the use of a metal post drilled into the jaw. The prosthetic tooth is then attached to the jaw. The procedure is permanent and can be used to replace one or more teeth. Dental bridges, on the other hand, involve attaching a prosthetic tooth or teeth to existing natural teeth using cement (for a fixed bridge) or resin. Lastly, dentures are teeth attached to a pink (gum-like) base. The denture can be complete if you need to replace all the teeth in your mouth, or partial if you are only replacing a number of teeth from the same spot on your jaw.
Whether you have jaw misalignment issues, problems with bite, lose jaw, or any other issue, a prosthodontist can help you correct that to restore the appearance of your face and the functioning of your mouth. One of the main jaw problems is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, TMJ. It is a painful condition that affects the nerves at the joints of the jaws. It occurs when the nerves inflame. Most patients with TMJ visit prosthodontics to seek relief for the pain. This is not a condition that a general dentist can help. Unlike other conditions, the solution for this is non-invasive and mostly includes the use of bite guards and physical therapy. If you visit a general dentist with this kind of problem, they will refer you to a prosthodontist.
If you do not need dental veneers or crowns, the prosthodontist can still use bonding agents such as resin to reconstruct a tooth. This happens when a tooth chips or cracks. Reconstruction without veneers and crown is an ideal choice for those who need a great smile on a budget. The resin and other binding agents may not be as effective as crown or veneer, but it works as perfect.
Dr. Arman Torbat is a prosthodontist of more than 20 years. He can help you regain a naturally beautiful smile through cosmetic restorative procedures such as fitting veneers. Schedule an appointment today for examination of your oral health and correction of any issues you may have.