Dental prosthetics or prosthodontics is the practice of using a dental appliance or prosthesis to replace a missing tooth or cover a defective tooth for improved dental health and appearance. Implants, crowns, dentures, bridges, and veneers are all dental prosthetic devices.
Prosthetic devices are created to custom-fit your mouth for ideal comfort and come in a variety of materials, including porcelain, resin, zirconia, and acrylic.
Depending on your unique needs, your dentist will help you decide which kind of prosthesis is best for you.
Dental Prosthetics Treatment Options
There are many kinds of dental prostheses. The right prosthesis for you depends on what your needs are. The most common type are crowns.
Crowns are caps that look like a tooth. They are used to replace or cover a missing or damaged tooth that still has stable roots. Crowns are meant to blend in with and be indistinguishable from your other teeth. They can also be used on dental patients of all ages.
Crown material options: Which is best for my needs?
Ceramic Dental Crowns
Ceramic, porcelain-based dental crowns are most often used to restore front teeth. Due to their natural color and texture, ceramic crowns are able to blend effortlessly with your remaining natural teeth and can be given a hint of color to match your natural teeth. These types of crowns are not well suited for teeth that do a lot of heavy biting like molars or premolars. Zirconia is recommended for those teeth, as it is aesthetically pleasing but more durable.
Porcelain-Fused to Metal Dental Crowns
Porcelain-fused to metal crowns provide patients with the best of both worlds. The porcelain part of the crown provides the patient with a natural-looking tooth, and the metal structure is ultra-durable. To undergo a porcelain-fused to metal restoration, the dentist must remove a moderate amount of tooth structure.
Metal Dental Crowns
Base metal alloys dental crowns are resistant to corrosion and incredibly strong; the metals are also gently against neighboring teeth. Only a minimal amount of tooth structure must be removed before a dentist can apply this type of crown.
When is a Crown Required?
Dental crowns can be used for a wide range of reasons.
- To protect a weak tooth that has suffered from breakage or decay
- To restore a broken or worn down tooth
- To support a tooth with a large filling
- To cover a discolored or misshapen tooth
- To hold a dental bridge firmly in place
- To cover a dental implant
- To make a cosmetic modification for a more aesthetically-pleasing smile.
How long does it take to fit a dental crown?
Fitting a crown normally requires two visits to our office.
What is the procedure like?
To start, decay is removed and the tooth is shaped. A temporary crown is then installed. In a follow-up visit the temporary crown is removed and the final crown is fitted and adjusted. Once it’s sized correctly, the crown is cemented into place.
What are Same-Day Crowns?
Depending on the individual’s situation, a dentist may recommend a same day crown or a crown that can be created, fitted, and cemented into place in one visit. Prior to providing a recommendation, the dentist evaluates the condition of the tooth and its location to determine if a same-day crown will be successful or not.
Bridges, as the name implies, connect the gap that a missing tooth has created in the jaw. Made from porcelain, metal, alloys and even gold, a bridge rests on two crowns on the sides and has the artificial missing tooth in the middle.
Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants. Two abutment teeth on either side of the bridge piece anchor to existing teeth and hold the middle false teeth in place. Like crowns, a bridge is also meant to match your natural teeth.
What is the procedure like?
A dental bridge typically requires two visits to the dentist. Preparation involves shaping the teeth by removing a portion of enamel to allow room for a crown to be placed over them.
Impressions are then made of the affected area. Those impressions serves as a model for the bridge, replacement tooth and crowns.
A temporary bridge is set in place to protect the exposed teeth and gums until the final bridge is made. Once the bridge is made, the temporary bridge is removed. The permanent bridge is fitted and adjusted before being cemented into place. A strong dental adhesive cement will hold it in place.
After that, you’re done! Now, you’re free to enjoy your stay in Allo Dental Tijuana— maybe consider taking a tour to fully experience the area.
How long they last?
Dental bridges can last five to 15 years and even longer. With good oral hygiene and regular checkups, it is not unusual for the life span of a fixed bridge to be over 15 years.
Dentures replace all or part of your teeth and are held in place by suction or surrounding muscles. Since they replace a majority of your teeth, they do not have to match existing teeth and are made to be perfectly straight and white.
Implants are like crowns or bridges except they require surgery to anchor to your jaw bone instead of existing teeth. They are a great option when there is no stable tooth root to attach to; the implant becomes the root.
Recovery After a Receiving a Dental Prosthetic Device
Recovery time after receiving a dental prosthesis depends on what you had done. Your dentist can help you understand any precautions with food and drink you should follow and what to do if you begin to experience any discomfort, but there is very little downtime with most prosthetic devices.
Dental implants are the only prosthesis that will require true healing since they are surgically placed. The initial placement of an implant can take several months to completely heal because the implant needs to fuse to the bone.
After that, your oral surgeon will cut into your gums a second time to place a connecting piece called an abutment, which will again require some healing before a crown can finally be placed. Your surgeon can give you the most accurate timeline for this process.
Benefits of Dental Prostheses
Eating and speaking with missing teeth can cause undue stress and discomfort to your jaw. It can also be difficult to enunciate properly with missing teeth. Exposed gums or damaged teeth are more susceptible to gum and tooth decay. Finally, most people report an increased sense of self-confidence after they get their dental prostheses.
In general, you’ll see improvements in:
Mastication (chewing) and, therefore, an improvement on parallel illnesses of a gastrointestinal nature.
- Bone in the rehabilitated area, mass density.
Avoiding a collapsed bite.
Common Dental Prosthetics Questions
It takes approximately one week to get your prosthesis.
You will need an appointment with your dentist to assess your oral health and take an impression of your existing teeth. This impression is used as a mold for a dental laboratory to create a custom prosthetic piece for you.
Once the prosthesis is ready, you will have a second appointment to have it fitted and placed. This is an outpatient procedure and usually goes quickly.
If you experience constant or severe discomfort after a fitting, you may need to come back for a follow up appointment and adjustment.
Dental implants have their own process and timeline that accounts for healing time, so you should discuss those specifics with your dentist or oral surgeon.
That depends on what type you get and the care you take with it. Crowns, dentures, and bridges last between five and 15 years. Veneers and implants can last at least 10 years, sometimes longer depending on the person’s hygiene and systemic pathologies.
In general, no. You should continue using good oral hygiene like regular brushing, flossing, and dental appointments. Your dentist will give you instructions to follow while you get used to your new prosthesis.
For some systems, it is recommended that you avoid very hard, sticky, or tough foods with dentures. Consult with your dentist to know if your system requires that restriction.
You will also need to remove your dentures to properly clean them and your mouth each day.
It’s up to you, but a damaged tooth or endentulous place makes chewing difficult, which can affect neighboring teeth. Not addressing a mission tooth can also result in the migration of your neighboring teeth which can create a creates a collapse in the bite, malocclusion misalignment of the bite, bone loss, gastrointestinal issues, or cardiovascular issues.