Dental prosthetics improve your appearance, enhance oral health, and help you eat and speak normally. They also prevent the natural teeth that remain from shifting position.
Before placing an implant, dentists examine the patient’s jawbone density to ensure it can support an implant. This process requires the use of X-rays to identify the location of the bone.
Veneers are thin coverings that resemble teeth and can be used to improve the shape, size or colour of a tooth. They can mask discolourations, cover chips, fill spaces and lengthen short teeth. They are also sometimes used as a more permanent alternative to dental bonding.
Unlike crowns or dentures, veneers are made of composite resin and can be customised for your mouth. This means that the dentist can look for a shade of porcelain that closely matches your skin tone and overall appearance.
However, this procedure involves a lot more than just an office visit, since the veneers need to be fabricated at a lab. This can add up to five or six appointments to the initial procedure.
After applying the veneer, your dentist will test them out to make sure that they fit and look right. You may experience some sensitivity or pain, but this can be easily eased by over-the-counter pain medications. Once the anaesthetic wears off, you can resume your normal eating habits, but be mindful about chewing with your front teeth and avoid putting too much pressure on them (you should also get a night splint to protect them if you grind or clench your teeth). As with most cosmetic procedures, veneers do not last as long as natural teeth.
Crowns are used to restore severely damaged or weakened teeth and are one of the most durable types of dental prosthetics. They are also used to strengthen a weak tooth that has undergone root canal treatment or for repairing cracked or misshapen teeth. They can also be used to replace missing teeth.
They are made of porcelain or ceramic and are used for filling cavities in molars and pre-molars. They are more durable than conventional gold fillings, ensuring lasting strength and beauty. They are suitable for patients with thin enamel, bruxism and periodontal disease.
A bridge is a fixed prosthetic that replaces one or more missing teeth. It consists of a series of crowns on both sides with artificial teeth (pontics) in between them. The pontics are attached to either natural teeth on the side or to implants. This helps restore functionality and ensures efficient mastication. It is also an alternative to dental implant treatment in cases where the surrounding teeth are too fragile for implantation.
When you lose a tooth, eating can become uncomfortable and even painful. It may also cause you to slur your speech and pronounce certain words incorrectly. A dental bridge fills the gap left by missing teeth and helps you to chew and speak normally again.
A traditional dental bridge consists of crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap and a false tooth (or teeth) in between. Your dentist will use the natural teeth on either side of the bridge as anchors (abutment teeth) and bond them to the bridge’s artificial teeth, called pontics.
The abutment teeth must be strong enough to support the weight of the bridge. If they aren’t, the pontics can shift and cause further problems. In addition, the space left by a missing tooth can lead to further tooth loss as the bone under the gums degenerates because it isn’t stimulated by the natural tooth roots. Dental bridges prevent this by filling the gap and preventing other teeth from shifting into it.
Implants are the best solution for simulating the look, feel and function of natural teeth. They also help to preserve and strengthen bone structure. Unlike dentures, dental implants are permanently fixed into the jaw bone so they won’t shift or slip around in your mouth.
A missing tooth causes the surrounding teeth to shift and move crookedly towards the gap, affecting your bite, ability to chew and the overall aesthetics of your smile. Implants can prevent this from happening, and will minimise the bone loss that occurs due to a lack of stimulation.
Implants are made of titanium, and the surface that contacts the bone varies according to the surgical procedure used. Some types of implant surfaces are grit-blasted, acid-etched and roughened or plasma-sprayed with hydroxyapatite coating to promote long-term bone contact. A two-stage implant surgical procedure involves placing the implant body below the soft tissue until initial bone maturation, and then performing a secondary surgery to reveal the abutment for restoration. Other types of implant surfaces are the subperiosteal and the immediate-loading. These are generally reserved for those with insufficient healthy bone height to accommodate a two-stage procedure, or when a removable denture is the desired end result.
Partial dentures are designed to fill up large gaps in the mouth caused by missing teeth. They help preserve the natural teeth and lower the likelihood of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems. They also stop other teeth from shifting into the gap. Partial dentures are reversible and less expensive than certain other tooth replacement options.
The most popular type of partial denture is a removable acrylic flipper. These are usually a temporary solution until a cast metal denture can be fabricated or dental implants considered. However, this type of denture is not as functional or comfortable as other types. It may lead to gagging and a weakening of the senses of taste and feeling in the mouth.
A flexible partial denture is similar to a light alloy or plastic removable denture but has internal attachments instead of clasps. This type of partial can adapt to the shape of remaining natural teeth and gum tissue. It is also less bulky than other types of removable partials and can be a more attractive option for many patients.