Professional Prosthodontics to Restore Your Smile
The ADA defines prosthodontics as "the dental specialty for the diagnosis, planning of treatment, rehabilitation and maintenance of oral function, comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth or oral and maxillofacial tissues using bio-compatible substitutes."
Dr. Madelyn has extensive prosthodontic training that includes rigorous clinical instruction and preparation in basic sciences, head and neck anatomy, biomedical sciences, bio-materials, implant surgery, occlusion function (bite), TMJ, and treatment planning. She also has experience in the treatment of cases of full-mouth reconstruction and aesthetics. This extensive training allows her to treat complex cases by planning and manufacturing different prostheses successfully.
In comparison to 170,000 general dentists in the United States, there are only 3,200 prosthodontists. If you needed dentures or had a prosthetic tooth inserted into a place where you lost a tooth, you would see a prosthodontist.
Prosthodontists deal with your teeth and gums both in appearance and function. In addition to fixing dental problems to ensure that your teeth look natural and attractive, prosthodontists also work to ensure that you have a functional bite. If you need extensive dental surgery, you will probably need to see a prosthodontist.
How Prosthodontists Differ from General Dentists
Prosthodontists focus on very specific areas of dentistry and restoration, while dentists do all the basics to keep your teeth healthy and functional. For work outside of general dentistry, a dentist will often refer you to a prosthodontist. Think of this like the difference between your family doctor and an orthopedist.
Sometimes we lose one or more teeth that affect our smile. If you lose your molars, it can create problems with chewing and speaking. We can also be very self-conscious and have a hard time smiling when teeth are missing. As a result, almost anyone who has lost one or more teeth knows how important it is to seek treatment. Fletcher-Stark Dentistry provides many prosthodontic treatments including:
Tooth Reconstruction - A prosthodontist works to restore the appearance and function of these teeth when you have had damage to your teeth due to trauma, decay or other factors. A prosthodontist is the one who places the crown after you have had root canal treatment. When you hear about celebrities receiving porcelain veneers, they probably visited a prosthodontist to fix their smile. To change the shape of your teeth, prosthodontists also use bonding agents. You may get this procedure to close a small gap between your teeth, reshape a malformed tooth or change the appearance of your smile in some other way.
Dental Bridges - If you have lost one or more teeth, a prosthodontist may choose a bridge as the best method of dental replacement for your case. A bridge is one or more crowns connected to one unit. This bridge is then fixed on both sides of the gap to the healthy teeth. Keep in mind that you must follow special care instructions with bridges and regularly clean them.
Dentures – Dr. Fletcher-Stark will probably recommend dentures if you are missing all or a significant portion of your teeth. Dentures can fit in your mouth in a variety of ways, including implants or clipping to your existing teeth. Our experienced team will work with you to find a denture solution that is comfortable and looks real. Some patients find it difficult to wear dentures at first but can easily adjust to daily wear over time.
Dental Implants - As the popular and preferred method for dealing with missing teeth, implants can replace bridges or be used in combination with them. A prosthodontist creates a dental implant consisting of a titanium post and a crown over the post. You may need another specialist for the actual surgical procedure, but the prosthodontist designs the implant for you. The titanium post is fused with your jaw bone, creating a stable and lifelike tooth that is hard to tell apart from your other teeth.
The success of a dental implant depends on the presence of enough bone in the jaw area. If the bone mass is low, a regrowth procedure may be introduced (bone grafting). A typical implant has a screw-like anchor in the bone. It also acts as the implant crown's' root.' A customized abutment is manufactured to connect the implant and the crown. This abutment is used to secure the actual crown for chewing.
Implants can be created in a variety of lasting, durable solutions including:
- Single tooth implant
- Implant Fixed Bridges
- Implant Overdentures
- Implant Partial Denture
- Implant Fixed Complete Dentures
- All-On-4 Implant Treatment
How can dental implants improve oral health?
Having missing teeth not only affects your smile and but also hinders you from daily tasks such as chewing and eating. Dental implants can restore the natural appearance of your smile, and allow you to return to proper chewing, eating, and speaking functionality. Aside from these benefits they can also have a positive impact on your oral health.
Protect Bone Density - a major benefit to dental implants is that they preserve bone and prevent further deterioration of the facial structure. Teeth put pressure on the jawbone into which they are naturally embedded, and it is this pressure that keeps your underlying bone mass healthy and strong. After a tooth loss, bone matter gradually reabsorbs into your body. Implants stimulate the jaw and will preserve bone density keeping the facial structure from collapsing and helping to preserve your appearance for many years to come.
Reduce the Risk of Cavities - Bacteria can easily attack the empty spaces between your teeth and form plaque. This thin layer of plaque forms harmful acids in the mouth which leads to the possible decay of remaining teeth. Newly restored teeth with an implant are a great solution to this problem because it covers up the empty area and at the same time restores your smile. You’ll be able to brush and floss the restored teeth just like your normal teeth which keeps your entire mouth healthy.
Improve Periodontal Health – The gums are delicate and if the reason for your tooth loss was gum disease, you more than likely to experience it again. The problem of cleaning around dentures or bridges will affect gum health just as it does tooth health.
The same is true for areas which have missing teeth because the open spaces act as breeding grounds for bacteria. These gaps are more difficult to clean, so plaque buildup is likely.
Stop Teeth from Shifting (Malocclusion) – Losing a tooth creates a gap, and the surrounding teeth will begin to shift to fill in space. This can potentially harm your bite, cause excessive tooth wear, teeth grinding, or even TMJ disorder. Crowded or crooked teeth which have shifted are more difficult to keep clean and disease free. Besides affecting your oral hygiene, drifting teeth could require braces or other corrective measures.
Lastly, dental implants don’t require reducing or altering surrounding teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does. Nearby teeth are not affected to support the implant, so more of your teeth are left intact, improving your long-term oral health and hygiene.
Professional Prosthodontics with Dr. Fletcher-Stark
Prosthodontics have unique qualities which allow for a true transformation of how your smile looks and feels. Dr. Madelyn and her team provide high-quality prosthodontic treatments that are long-lasting, resistant to wear and tear and deliver a strong foundation for a variety of dental restorations. With this advanced treatment, it is possible for patients who have lost one or more teeth to have a complete healthy smile again. Contact us today for a comprehensive evaluation with our skilled, caring team.