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What is prosthodontics in dentistry?

Our teeth go through a lot. Whether as a result of the natural aging process, trauma, poor diet, or inadequate dental care, teeth can become so decayed, worn or damaged that either fall out or need to be removed. 

The branch of dentistry that specializes in replacing lost and missing teeth is called prothodontics, and it’s just one of the dental specialities offered by Castle Dental. Dentists specializing in prosthodontics have received additional training regarding the design, manufacture, and placement of artificial teeth and dental prostheses to restore the health and function of the mouth and jaw. 

The three most common prosthodontic treatments are dental implants, dentures and dental bridges. All dental prostheses require a certain adjustment period, especially if you’ve been living without teeth for a long time. However, once you get used to them, they can dramatically improve the way you eat, speak, and look, so you can be more confident and enjoy better health for a lifetime.

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What are dental implants?

Dental implants are dental prostheses that are surgically implanted directly into the jawbone. This treatment process replaces the roots of the missing teeth with tiny titanium screws. This metal is compatible with the natural biology of the bone, eventually fusing with the jaw in a process called osseointegration. This allows the new implants to be as secure as natural tooth roots, stimulating the jaw and providing a solid foundation for the new artificial teeth. 

Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth or several, and Castle Dental has more than 100 dentists who are qualified to place dental implants. 

The general process for dental implants consists of:

  1. A small incision is made in the gum at the site of the missing tooth and a small titanium screw is implanted into the jaw. The gum is closed up to allow for osseointegration.
  2. Once the gum has healed and the implants have fused with the jaw, the gum is opened and an abutment is placed over the implant. The abutment protrudes over the gum and will serve as the attachment for the artificial tooth.
  3. The artificial tooth–or crown–is permanently attached to the abutment.

Dental implants are the highest standard in prosthodontic treatment. They are reliable, long lasting, and most patients are very happy with their results. 

What are dentures?

Dentures are a great option for someone who is missing several teeth within a particular section of their mouth, missing all their teeth, or who is not a good candidate for implants. Dentures are a good option for people whose teeth have experienced high levels of wear and tear or a significant amount of decay over the course of their life. 

Dentures are artificial teeth and gums that are formed to the mouth to ensure a good seal. They are removable, easy to clean and are generally more affordable than other prosthetic options. 

The general process for getting dentures is:

  1. A mold is made of your mouth, including existing teeth, and sent to a lab to make your custom dentures out of resin and acrylic.
  2. The teeth being replaced by dentures are all extracted. For partial dentures, this may look like a small section, while complete dentures require all teeth to be removed.
  3. The dentist will deliver your dentures. Conventional dentures will take several weeks to come in, while immediate dentures will be available for delivery immediately after extraction. 
  4. There will be at least one follow up appointment to check the fit and feel of your dentures and make any adjustments necessary.

Dentures are not permanent and will need to be replaced every 5-8 years to accommodate natural changes in bone structure and gum health as we age. Additionally, they may need to be adjusted to prevent irritation or discomfort. 

However, dentures are a more affordable option than implants and they look and feel like natural teeth.  

What are dental bridges?

A dental bridge (or bridges) is another way to replace several missing teeth, especially if there are still healthy natural teeth on either side of the gap. By anchoring to these adjacent teeth, a bridge–which is a set of several artificial teeth–can restore the function and appearance of your smile without requiring surgical implants. 

Here is the general process for placing a dental bridge:

  1. The enamel on teeth adjacent to the gap is filed down and reshaped to accommodate a crown. 
  2. After taking an impression of the newly shaped teeth, molds are formed and sent to a lab to create the permanent crowns and bridge. 
  3. Temporary crowns are placed to protect the teeth from decay and infection. 
  4. Once the permanent prosthetics are created, the temporary crowns are removed and replaced with the permanent crowns and bridge. 
  5. Using a strong dental grade cement, the bridge is anchored to the surrounding crowned teeth.

Dental bridges can prevent your teeth from shifting as a result of the space left from a missing tooth. While the upfront cost of a bridge is less than that of an implant, bridges will need to be replaced every 10 years or so, while an implant will likely last a lifetime. 

Preserve Your Smile with Prosthodontics from Castle Dental

No matter how many teeth you are missing or why, or if you need to have teeth removed, prosthodontic services from Castle Dental can help restore the function and appearance of your smile as well as your confidence. We understand the challenges that come with missing or severely decayed and damaged teeth, and we are passionate about providing you with a smile you’re proud of, whether through dental bridges, implants, or dentures.

At Castle Dental, we believe everyone deserves a beautiful smile, and that cost should not keep you from having one. In addition to accepting most major dental insurance plans and CareCredit, Castle Dental also offers flexible pricing, low interest financing, and our own OneSmile Dental Plan, which provides members with discounted services for a low annual rate.

If you think you or a loved one could benefit from dental prostheses, call Castle Dental today at  1-800-867-6453 to schedule a consultation. You can also book online at the Castle Dental nearest you. Let our team of compassionate, experienced professionals help you love your smile and live a better, healthier life.