Many patients are interested in improving the appearance of their smile. Prosthodontists are the dental specialists who
long ago determined what constitutes a pleasing smile. Teeth whitening, reshaping natural teeth, bonding of tooth colored
material to teeth and porcelain veneers are procedures commonly used to modify a smile.
Crowns cover or “cap’ a tooth to restore the normal function and appearance of the tooth. Crowns may be made as all metal,
porcelain fused to metal or all-ceramic (porcelain). Crowns are indicated for teeth with very large fillings, teeth that
have had a root canal, fractured teeth and misshapen and/or discolored teeth.
Traditional methods to replace a missing tooth or teeth include the fabrication of a bridge. To replace a missing tooth with
a bridge, at least one tooth on either side of the created by the missing tooth must be prepared for a crown. The a false tooth
is joined to the crowns, and the entire structure is cemented to the prepared teeth. The patient cannot remove the bridge, and
special aids are available to keep it clean.
Today’s dental implants are typically made of titanium and may be parallel-sided or tapered and may or may not have threads.
These fixtures are placed into the jawbone and allowed to heal until they are “integrated” into the bone. Dental implants
may be used to replace one, many or all of a patient’s teeth.
|Removable Partial Dentures:
When there are multiple missing teeth, weak anchor teeth or no posterior teeth to anchor on, a removable partial denture is
used to replace teeth. These restoration typically are made of a metal framework and a plastic base with teeth. They must
be removed for daily cleaning and at night.
When a patient no longer has any natural teeth, complete dentures are the traditional method to restore function and appearance.
Many patients experience difficulty wearing conventional dentures because of poor stability and decreased chewing function.
The use of dental implants to improve the stability and retention of dentures is becoming quite popular.
|Teeth Grinding/Night Guards:
Often patients who grind their teeth at night are unaware of their habit, but the forces exerted on both the teeth and the
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) can be quite destructive. A custom made night guard can protect the teeth and relieve pressure
on the TMJ.
Many patients use this acronym to refer to the painful symptoms related to Temporomandibular Joint dysfunction. Symptoms may
include pain in the joint itself, pain in the muscles of mastication and limited movement of the lower jaw.
Many products are now available for patients to whiten their teeth. These products include commercially available strips,
custom fabricated trays with a bleaching gel or bleaching in a dental office using UV light or laser as the catalyst.
Porcelain veneers are used to modify the shape and color of teeth. Veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are etched and
then bonded to the enamel of the teeth. Tooth preparation is necessary to avoid over bulking of the tooth, but it is limited
to the enamel and usually involves only a few surfaces of the tooth.