Prosthodontics – A Detailed Look
Of all the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA), dentists who work in the field of prosthodontics or prosthodontists are said to offer the most advanced form of sequencing treatment, restorative treatment, and maintenance. Prosthodontists also perform an esthetically higher level of implantology and full mouth reconstruction. A dental school graduate who wants to pursue a prosthodontist career must go through another three to four years of schooling curriculum in an ADA-approved program.
WHAT DOES PROSTHODONTICS DO?
You might be wondering what Prosthodontists do; they provide multi-disciplinary levels of care, including the repair of failed treatments that could affect the mouth and smile negatively. They also treat maxillofacial (jaw and face) abnormalities, cases arising from congenital disorders, and issues arising from oral/maxillofacial trauma or neglect. Prosthodontists also offer advanced dental care for complex anatomical features of the teeth, gums, and supporting bone structure.
They work closely with their patients coming up with detailed treatment plans to help patients understand what changes or improvements can be made. Prosthodontists work using state-of-the-art procedures and are often viewed as architects of the restorative dental treatment plan. This is particularly true for completely or partially edentulous (toothless) patients, where a prosthodontist is primarily the key treatment planner. Even though prosthodontic treatments can be expensive, they are proud of proven results and the provision of the highest esthetic and functional level of reconstructive dentistry.
There are a variety of Prosthodontic treatments out there, specifically designed to meet functionality, longevity, and esthetics requirements.
Ceramic and Metal Ceramic Dental Crown: These prosthetic teeth are made to help repair damaged teeth. These crowns are mostly forged from metal, porcelain, or a combination of metal and porcelain materials. Even though they can last up to 10 years, especially if properly taken care of, they can be expensive, ranging from $600 to $1,200 per tooth. Crowns made of recent can now be manicured to resemble the natural appearance of the other teeth in your mouth, so they are esthetically pleasing. And despite the high cost, many people are happy with the results.
Removable Partial Dentures: These are primarily made for partially edentulous people or people who prefer fixed partial dentures/dental bridges over removable partial dentures. This is a great procedure because some people lack the supporting tissues to which fixed dentures attach; they don't qualify for fixed partial dentures, for example, partially edentulous people. The cost of partial dentures typically ranges from $1,000 to $1,500.
Dental Bridges: Dental Bridges are prosthodontic restorations made to serve as a treatment for missing teeth. The most common form of dental bridge is tooth-supported, even though implant-supported bridges are available. A dental bridge can also be used as a replacement for a removable partial denture.
Removable Complete Dentures: These full-mouth teeth replacements are specifically designed for edentulous people. These complete dentures are made to help people who have lost all their teeth due to poor oral hygiene or trauma, and it also gives them better chewing abilities and a more appealing appearance. Adapting to removable complete dentures can take a while, though. For example, mouth sores can develop due to the rubbing and pressing of dentures on the mucous membranes. This is why occasional visits to the prosthodontist are necessary to adjust dentures from time to time. Dentures have disadvantages, but it's still a favorite for most people as they would rather have them over the problems associated with an edentulous lifestyle.
Esthetic Reconstructive Dentistry: It is the most advanced approach when dealing with fully or partially edentulous patients with the highest level of implantology treatment. Esthetic reconstructive dentistry strengthens the structural and functional connection between the dental implant and the living bone. Although expensive, dental implants can be a significant investment, costing up to $3,500 per tooth (including crown). Still, the results speak for themselves, as there is rarely any disappointment with the procedure.
Dental Veneers and Other Bonded Restorations: These are frequently used in cosmetic dentistry to produce pearly-white grins with exquisitely formed teeth. Regardless of the root reason for unsightly teeth, these restorations can usually address the majority of problems, such as severe tooth discoloration, chips, cracks, and tooth wear and tear that results in uneven teeth.
Fixed Partial Dentures: These are like removable partial dentures as they are made primarily for partially edentulous people. Although fixed partial dentures, also known as "dental bridges," are typically more expensive than removable partial dentures, they offer the most realistic results for treating partially edentulous persons. Depending on the number of teeth replaced and the materials used, fixed partial dentures can cost anywhere from $1,300 to $3,000.
BENEFITS AND RISKS OF GETTING A PROSTHODONTIC TREATMENT
There are numerous benefits to having a prosthodontic treatment, and they can help to:
- Repair badly damaged teeth.
- Replace missing teeth.
- Improve your bite (the way your teeth fit together).
- Correct TMJ issues.
When it comes to risks, they are pretty much minimal as regards undergoing prosthodontic procedures. And just like any dental procedure, there's always a small risk of infection or nerve damage which is why, if you notice any warning signs, such as fever or drainage near the treatment site, it is best to contact your dentist or prosthodontist as soon as possible.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DENTIST AND A PROSTHODONTIST
A dentist is a general dental care provider. Their work is to offer routine dental check-ups and cleanings, and they also perform basic therapeutic treatments, including fillings, crowns, and bridges.
On the other hand, a prosthodontist is a dental specialist since they complete an additional three years of residency training after dental school. Their specialty is making teeth replacements, such as crowns, bridges, and dentures. More often, general dentists refer patients to prosthodontists when dealing with complex cases or cases that are outside the scope of their practice.