Dental Prosthetics and Prosthodontics
Dental prosthetics apply to functional replacements for chewing.
Dental prosthetics is a specialist area of medicine which is concerned with the recreation of the dentition when there are missing or badly damaged teeth. Prevention is the first priority; it’s about holistic additions, maintenance of the oral structures as well as quality of life as expressed by oral health.
Prosthetics doesn’t just mean aesthetics. A functional reconstruction is also necessary – that means it must also be capable of making sounds (phonation), chewing food (mastication) and protecting the jaw joint from the grinding of the teeth (bruxism).
The jaw joint, the chewing musculature, the teeth and the teeth holding device form a unit. In order to get the alignment right in the case of major prosthetic work the skull and the position of the jaw are measured, a task for the face bow.
When this is done the dental technician can then enter the models in the articulator. This machine simulates your jaw and jaw joint. In special cases the correct bite and the correct position of the base of the jaw are calculated by means of a computer, the axiograph. All of this serves to reconstruct a harmonious dentition and thus saves a lot of grinding work and complex repetitions.
Varieties of Tooth Replacements
Who hasn’t seen false teeth in a glass of water on the night table? We used to find it fascinating as children and kind of creepy but these times are long over. In prosthetics there’s a difference between fixed and removable replacement teeth. Removable replacements can further be subdivided into part-prostheses and full-prostheses.
With reference to the possibility of removal there’s a difference between ‘removable if necessary’ treatments and classic removable treatments. ‘If necessary’ means that only the dentist can take the prosthesis out since this will be attached by means of screws or bars to the remaining dentition.
The days of removable solutions are numbered. Today the mouth can be restored to what it originally was. Thanks to implants the prosthesis can be anchored firmly in the jaw and pressure points, linings and badly positioned prostheses have become a thing of the past.
The problem with removable part-prostheses is the load on the remaining attachment points. It’s true that through special construction techniques these loads can be minimized but unfortunately they can never be completely removed.
The prosthesis‘ attachment teeth often give way little by little to the extra load and are lost with extension of the prosthesis being the result.
Unfortunately many patients get used to their ever-growing palates in their course from part to full prostheses. In the end it’s all covered and the mucosa can’t perform their function. The patient loses taste and has to bear it.
The indications for part and total prostheses, in our opinion, are these:
- Patients of very old age
- Poor health
- A transitory solution by means of a temporary prosthesis
Fixed means that the replacement can’t be removed from the mouth, not even by the dentist, without breaking it. By using only ceramics it’s possible to have teeth which look “alive”. Your new teeth shouldn’t stand out. With metal/ceramic crowns the technician must use an opaque (white) layer to cover the metal core. This makes the tooth dull. With ceramics this doesn’t happen as the colour is provided by the application of layers with the outermost layer appearing translucent, just like the real teeth.
Perhaps it should also be mentioned that in the relative boring (groove) enough retention is available and the teeth can be prepared and set individually. In addition to being better for your health than blocked crown structures it also allows you to clean each tooth with floss like before. If a tooth is missing you can of course have a bridge made. There is no doubt therefore that an implant is the better solution for the teeth as well as for the bones.
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