Prosthodontics is a title that pertains to dentists who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment planning, restoration and replacement of teeth. Their focus consists of, but is not limited to crowns, dentures and cosmetic implants. Prosthodontists have obtained a higher level of education and have pursued three or more years of extensive state-of-the-art training after their dental school completion.
While other tooth replacement methods are still in use today, dental implants are the gold standard for a reason. Dentures are designed to stay in place with suction or by attaching to your remaining teeth with clasps. While they may fit perfectly when you first receive them, the natural bone loss that occurs with missing teeth can make them lose their fit over time, causing patients to experience embarrassing slippage on a regular basis. Bridges are another common tooth replacement option, but they require the reduction of healthy tooth structure for crown replacement. Implants do not pose any of these issues. Because your new restorations are permanently anchored into your mouth, you can enjoy speaking and eating without worrying about your teeth slipping out of place. In addition to helping you maintain the healthy structure of your remaining teeth, they look and feel just like your natural teeth and stimulate your jawbone to help preserve a youthful facial appearance.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is usually constructed from titanium, a biocompatible material that has been used for decades in hip and knee replacement surgeries. The implant is inserted into the jawbone, and the bone fuses with its rough surface in a process called “osseointegration.” Once the artificial tooth root is anchored into the jawbone, a tooth restoration is attached to the abutment, which is the part of the implant that extends from the top of the gums. Implants can be used to replace one or more teeth:
Placing dental implants is a two-step procedure: