What is Prosthodontics?
Prosthdontics is the only reconstructive and cosmetic specialty recognized by the American Dental Association, and requires an additional three years of postgraduate training. Prosthodontists are specialists in general and restorative dentistry, including implants, crowns, bridges, dentures, extractions, full mouth reconstruction, and cosmetic dental procedures. There are only 3,200 prosthodontists in the USA versus 173,000 general dentists, so while you may not have heard of prosthodontics before, you’ll be quite pleased by the scope and quality of the dentistry a prosthodontist can provide. Dr. Klimowski a qualified prosthodontist happy to be serving the Houston community.
Why see a Prosthodontist
You are looking for ways to improve your smile
You are interested in treatments for missing or broken teeth
You want dentures that will match your unique smile and bite
You want to improve your appearance and self-confidence
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. A small amount of tooth structure must be removed to make room for the porcelain veneer and to avoid making the tooth look big and bulky. The tooth preparation is limited to the enamel and usually involves only a few surfaces of the tooth, unlike acrown or cap. A prosthodontist uses porcelain veneers to improve the appearance of teeth and to even close spaces or gaps between teeth.
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. There are limitations to these products.
Cosmetic dentistry consists of any dental work that improves the appearance of a person’s teeth, gums, or smile. Depending on the patient’s desires, cosmetic dentistry may range from simple teeth whitening to bonding to porcelain veneers to full mouth restoration.
The American Dental Association recognizes nine dental specialties. Prosthodontists are the only ADA-recognized dental specialists with formal training in creating beautiful smiles. Visit with your prosthodontist to determine the best cosmetic dentistry procedures for your smile.
Genetic and environmental factors can affect the development of teeth including the size and shape. Misshapen teeth may be isolated to one tooth or may occur as part of a widespread condition throughout the mouth. Common misshapen teeth include wisdom teeth, second premolars, and upper lateral incisors.
Misshapen lateral incisors result from a developmental flaw that causes the tooth to be small and pointed, looking like a peg. Because upper lateral incisors play such an important role in the appearance of your smile, this misshapen tooth receives a great deal of attention. A prosthodontist can determine the best treatment for any misshapen teeth and is uniquely qualified to restore a misshapen tooth, such as a peg lateral, giving you an esthetically pleasing smile.
One of the most common genetic defects affecting teeth is called ectodermal dysplasia. Individuals affected by this syndrome often have abnormally small, misshapen teeth or missing teeth. A patient with this inherited disorder should have the dental problems evaluated early in life, and a prosthodontist’s training allows a comprehensive approach to the misshapen and missing teeth. Treatments for these misshapen teeth include restorative options such as crowns, veneers, and composite resins.
A broken tooth may occur as a result of chewing hard foods, trauma, or by grinding your teeth, also known as bruxism. Sometimes the broken teeth are already full strength and at risk of breaking. This risk is higher when the tooth already has extensive restorations (largefilling or crown). Teeth with notable cracks in them are also at a higher risk of breaking.
When the break in the tooth is minor, the treatment is as simple as a direct restoration, or filling. This is indicated when the broken portion does not involve the cusp of the tooth. When the cusp is broken on a tooth, the ideal solution more often involves an onlay or crown.
Sometimes the break in the tooth is so extensive, that the tooth is not able to be repaired. In these cases, the tooth is likely extracted and efforts are focused on replacing the missing tooth.
When a tooth breaks, discuss options with your prosthodontist. They will help assess the extent of the break and recommend the ideal treatment for your specific tooth.
Caps and Crowns
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, worn teeth and misshapen and/or discolored teeth.
Bridges (Fixed Bridge)
A fixed bridge technique has been used with high success for many years. Teeth on both side of the missing space are prepared for acrown. Then a false tooth is joined to the crowns, and the entire bridge is cemented to the prepared teeth. The patient cannot remove the bridge, and special aids are available to keep it clean. In the appropriate circumstance, a fixed bridge can be a viable alternative to a dental implant.
Dental implants are metal cylinders made of titanium surgically placed in the jawbone where teeth are missing. Implants replace the roots of missing teeth and support single crowns, large bridges and dentures. State-of-the-art technology makes it possible for these implant-supported replacement teeth to look, feel and function like natural teeth. There are many types of dental implants and many ways to use dental implants to achieve your goals of a pleasing smile and good chewing function. Visit with your Prosthodontist to find out how dental implants can improve your life.
Dentures are removable replacements for missing teeth. Complete dentures replace all teeth and removable partial dentures replace some teeth. By matching each individual’s unique smile and bite, dentures can improve facial appearance and self-confidence. Dentures may also improve speech problems caused by missing teeth and will improve chewing.
Removable PartialFor patients missing several teeth, but not all of their teeth, a removable partial denture may be recommended. This type of denture uses the remaining teeth to hold or anchor the removable bridge in place. There are many different types and designs for removable partial dentures.
Typically, a removable partial denture is made of a metal framework with pink plastic to replace the gum tissue and plastic or resin denture teeth. The number of missing teeth and their location will affect the comfort and stability of the removable partial denture. The use of dental implants may increase the stability of a removable partial denture, or dental implants may be the best solution for replacing the missing teeth.
Consult a prosthodontist to determine if a removable partial denture will satisfy your needs. A prosthodontist can offer you many designs for your removable partial denture or provide other alternatives to consider including dental implant-supported crowns and bridges.