Prosthodontics is a dental specialty that focuses on the use of dental prostheses, or artificial teeth like dental implants, bridges, and dentures, to replace teeth that have been lost due to decay, trauma, or other causes. Dentists who are skilled in prosthodontics also frequently treat issues like temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ, also called temporomandibular joint disorder).
Dental implants are titanium posts that are implanted directly into the jawbone to provide artificial roots for crowns or denture attachments. Implants are an alternative to dentures to replace teeth lost to trauma, decay or disease. The posts are made of medical grade titanium, which is used in a variety of implants, including artificial joint replacement due to its unique biocompatibility. The installation of the post directly into the jaw provides stimulation for bone growth and development as a natural tooth root would, providing support to the soft tissues of the mouth. Many patients prefer implants to traditional dentures as they are more comfortable and can be cared for just like natural teeth.
A dental crown is a prosthetic covering for a tooth that is too badly damaged or decayed to be treated with a regular filling. Crowns are shaped to look like natural teeth and can be made of gold or porcelain. When made of porcelain, crowns can also be tinted to match the shade of the teeth next to it. These types of crowns are popular due to their natural appearance. Crowns are attached to a patient’s tooth with a durable bonding adhesive and are supposed to be permanent fixtures. Crowns protect teeth from further damage as well as improve the appearance of the tooth if it has been broken, stained, or chipped. Crowns are also often used with dental implants to replace missing teeth.
A dental bridge does exactly what it sounds like, it bridges the gap between one or more missing teeth. A bridge is secured in place by anchoring it to two or more surrounding teeth. These teeth have been strengthened with crowns to make sure they can anchor the bridge without being damaged. These teeth are referred to as abutment teeth. A prosthetic tooth sits in between the abutment teeth. These are called pontics. Pontics can be made from porcelain, gold, alloys, or a combination of these materials. Bridges can also be held in place using dental implants.
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