Why A Prosthodontist Is The Premium Choice For Your Dental Care
By: DFW Prosthodontics – October 16th, 2017
Everyone wishes they could have that picture perfect, celebrity smile. In fact, studies show that a healthy smile plays a significant role in boosting your self-esteem. According to gotoapro.org, statistics show over 36 million Americans have lost all of their teeth while more than 120 million American residents have lost at least one tooth. Loss of your teeth through an accident or normal aging can be traumatic for anyone regardless of their age. Therefore, there is an increased need to replace a missing tooth and correct a dental problem among most Americans.
Most dentists can correct the standard dental problems, but it requires a professional with specialized skills such as a prosthodontist to handle the complex cases, for example, jaw reconstruction. However, a significant number of people are unaware of prosthodontists and their vital role in restoring and repairing smiles. The term “prostho” means replacement or additions while “dontist” stands for handling dental problems. Therefore, a prosthodontist is a dental specialist responsible for the diagnosis, restoration, and replacement of missing teeth or oral structures with the goal of improving the appearance and the function of a smile. They mostly use artificial substitutes to replace missing teeth, enhance patient’s facials, and restore damaged teeth. A prosthodontist also correct congenital anomalies of the mouth such as cleft lips in addition to performing constructive work after an oral cancer surgery as well as treating snoring and sleep orders.
Qualifications of a Prosthodontist
The American Dental Association recognizes prosthodontists as one of the nine professionals in the dental division. They are the most knowledgeable dental professionals since they have received an additional three years of training after completion of their regular four years of training as a dentist. The prosthodontist has the option of applying for the Board Certification after completion of their residency program. This involves completion of a written examination and defending three patient’s cases to a panel of Board Certified Prosthodontists. The prosthodontist has to take part in this process successfully before receiving their certification from the Board of Prosthodontists. They also have to continually attend scientific lectures and maintain an active role in publishing articles and book chapters. To keep their certification, the specialists have to complete a recertification exam after every eight years.
The training in addition to countless hours of clinical practice and specialized education on most complicated dental procedures makes them a “master dentist.” Their superior qualities often place them on the leading teams of most dental specialists. Currently, there are only approximately 3,000 certified prosthodontists with full training in general dentistry and the high level of expertise on all other oral conditions compared to the 170,000 general dentists in the United States.
Procedures Performed by a Prosthodontist
A prosthodontist can perform regular dental care procedures such as cavities and teeth whitening. However, they are commonly involved in other complex dental issues such dental reconstruction to help improve your smile and jawline. Their treatment consists of a combination of functionality, longevity, and increasing aesthetic appeal. Some of the procedures that they will perform to keep your teeth aligned and healthy include:
Dental Crowns/ Caps
They are made from porcelain, gold, metal alloys or a combination of the metal and porcelain. Prosthetic crowns repair a severely damaged tooth surface to restore its shape, appearance, strength, and size. A prosthodontist will sometimes use the caps after a root canal therapy or cover a discolored tooth with them. In case of a missing tooth, a dental technician will add a crown on the implant while replacing it. Dental crowns can last for more than a decade or longer if given proper maintenance. The average cost of dental crowns ranges from $500 to $3000.
A prosthodontist will use the thin, custom-made shells made from porcelain to cover the front part of the teeth. They are ideal if you have problems such as stained teeth, chipped or cracked teeth, or uneven teeth. The application process involves removal of a small amount of the enamel to prevent them from looking bulky. The specialist then bonds the wafer-thin shells on the existing tooth changing its appearance, shape and sometimes closing the small gaps between the teeth. Veneers are ideal for people looking to enhance the appearance of their smiles with beautifully shape teeth. You can get porcelain veneers at a cost of $500-$1500 per tooth.
Bridges serve as restorations for any missing teeth or as a replacement for a removable partial denture. You must have a crown on at least one healthy tooth (abutment teeth) on either side of the missing one to help support one or more artificial teeth. The dental technician then creates a series of linked crowns before joining them to the false tooth. The prosthodontist then picks up from there and attaches the entire structure to the abutment teeth permanently. Bridges require special care and use of special aids that help in cleaning them. You should be very careful while choosing this dental treatment option since it can potentially harm the structure of your abutment teeth. The prosthodontist can alternatively use implants as anchors to support the bridges. However, use of abutment teeth as anchors remains the more popular method. The cost of bridges ranges from $1000-$1500.
Dentures are either partial or complete. They both enhance your smile or improve your oral functionality while eating or pronouncing words. The ability to remove dentures makes them the most hygienic dental solutions since you can quickly clean them while not in use. Partial dentures are ideal in cases where you have lost many teeth and do not qualify for the permanent dental bridges due to lack of supporting tissues. The complete dentures, on the other hand, are ideal for people with no teeth at all due to gum diseases, poor hygiene, or trauma. The dentures, in this case, provide good appearance as well as better chewing abilities. Dentures can be uncomfortable during the first few months, and they may sometimes cause mouth sores. However, you can adapt to them over time and after continued visits to a prosthodontist for adjustments. The cost of dentures depends with the number of teeth that need replacement but you can get the service at a cost of $1300-$3000.
Teeth are subject to wear and tear as well as other dental problems such as decay, fractures, or cracks. A prosthodontist usually deals with the affected portion of the tooth before placing a filling on the tooth. Tooth-colored fillings are the most affordable dental procedures since they usually cost $150-$200 per filling.
This is the most common method of replacing missing teeth since it does not compromise other adjacent teeth. You may consider replacing one or all teeth with dental implants and forget about teeth problems again. It involves replacement of an entire tooth that resembles a natural tooth right from its roots to the crown. A general dentist conducts a minor surgery and places a titanium metal screw-like post in the jaw. The prosthodontist has to wait until the fixture is integrated into the jawbone before putting the implant crown. The tooth replacement method is more costly than other methods with the cost going up to $5500 per tooth, but they are worth it since they can last a lifetime without wearing out. You should also be ready to give up smoking or choose a different type of prosthodontic treatment since smokers have an increased chance of experiencing dental implants failure.
Other common conditions that a prosthodontist handles include the ocular disease results from an improperly aligned bite. Temporomandibular Disorder, which leads to chronic headaches and neck pains, is also common among most Americans. A prosthodontist has the best training on the same, and they will provide the best treatment for such illnesses and disorders.
Dental Treatment Stages
1. Medical Examination
Any medical practitioner will always conduct a medical examination to determine the diagnosis and the right treatment plan. The medical examination involves evaluation of your medical history as well as a physical exam using various tools. The prosthodontist looks at all teeth, the examination of the bite, tooth mobility, as well as examination of gums and patients oral hygiene. The specialist also gets a dental x-ray to have a detailed look of the features that were impossible to see during the physical examination. The prosthodontist relies on the physical and imaging tests results to formulate the best treatment option possible for the patient. He or she may choose to use any of the prosthodontic procedures such as implants or crowns in the treatment of your dental problem.
2. Teeth Preparation
The teeth preparation process commences only after treatment of all other underlying dental problems such as teeth cavities, gingivitis, removal of removal of tartar or any other build up. The method of preparing teeth depends on the procedure used in the treatment, for example, you will need to build abutments in the case of bridges or remove some part of the tooth in case you are applying veneers.
3. Working on the Dental Impressions
A dental technician uses dental impression materials such as trays to capture all parts of your dentition and then use it to make a cast out of it. The impressions should be accurate and precise for the final tray to fit in properly. The dentist uses various types of materials such as alginate, plaster, or putty silicones and places them in the impression tray before positioning it over the dental arch. He or she then removes the tray and sends it to the lab for use by the dental technician. A prosthodontist also analyses the upper and lower teeth to ensure that they both make a perfect contact. The artificial tooth should be a similar shade as that of the original shade to preventing having one prosthetic tooth that looks different from the other natural set.
Fitting before fixing is essential since it gives you an idea of how a permanent fixture looks like after completion of the prosthodontic procedure. A prosthodontist will test the fit of the samples made by the dental technician to ensure they fit perfectly without any pressure. He or she should work with the technician to correct any loose fit or anything that removes too hard before moving to the insertion stage.
The fixing process also called dental cementation is either permanent or temporary. A prosthodontist checks the essential details such as the shape and the shade and adjusts some places until the prosthetic fits perfectly.
6. Follow Up and Maintenance
Dental procedures may be uncomfortable to most people, and they can sometimes lead to mouth sores. However, a prosthodontist can adjust the teeth after a few subsequent visits until you are comfortable. Some issues such as increased sensitivity to thermal stimuli and discomfort while eating is common, but they will always reduce after a short time. However, you should visit a prosthodontist if the problem persists for a long time. The maintenance and care of the teeth determines the period that prosthetics can withstand wear and tear before needing a replacement. Remember some procedures require the use of special cleaning items, but a specialist will advise you on the ideal ones to use.
Choosing a Prosthodontist
Choosing an ideal prosthodontist can be challenging since they are fewer compared to the regular dentists. However, your dentist should be able to recommend an experienced prosthodontist who will attend to your dental problems. You can alternatively visit the American College of Prosthodontist website to locate a professional in your area. Remember some insurance companies may not provide coverage for your visit to a prosthodontist, so it is advisable to make an inquiry before going ahead with the treatment. The prosthodontist’s field is advancing at an alarming rate, so it would be ideal to seek a record of any recent training and seminars that the specialists have taken part in before scheduling an appointment. Some states do not require prosthodontists certification, but you can consider asking to see his or her certification before going ahead with treatment.
Visit the Expert - Prosthodontics is the Premier Choice for You
A prosthodontist has the necessary training and expertise to complete all these procedures. The procedures vary from one person to another depending on their needs, so what would work for one person may not work for another. Locating a prosthodontist in your state should not be a problem since you can get a referral from your friends, family, or your family dentist. Remember that your smile is the first thing that a person sees. Consider choosing the expert, visit a prosthodontist for a level of care and expertise you cannot expect to receive from your general dentist.