What is a Total Prosthesis in Dentistry?



Total prosthesis is the complete replacement of all of the remaining natural teeth with artificial ones.

Hence, total prosthesis is used on toothless jaws and serves the purpose of restoring chewing ability and aesthetics. A total prosthesis is often described as dentures. The retention of a total prosthesis is achieved through adhesive forces between the mucosa and the prosthesis. A saliva film is located in between the prosthesis and mucosa, similar to a water film between glass boards. Therefore, during prosthesis production, it is very important to create optimally sealing prosthesis edges. Otherwise, the prosthesis would fall out every time the mouth is opened.

Prostheses designs can vary greatly. The designing process starts with the selection of the prosthetic teeth, ceramic teeth are sometimes used.  Plastic teeth are more cost-effective for the dentist and the technician. Contemporary plastic teeth can provide better and cheaper results than ceramic teeth. Another important disadvantage of ceramic teeth is that they will break immediately should the prosthesis ever fall out of the mouth by accident. Often, transparent gums are produced as well (called clear gums). This is supposed to create a less artificial appearance.  Furthermore, this prosthesis was equipped with a gold grid for improved stability.

Incorrect and/or over-straining of the jaws due to poorly fitting prostheses can lead to increased jaw ridge reduction. This frequently results in inadequate support. To reduce the prosthesis pressure as much as possible, the base has to be supported by as large an area as possible in relation to the chewing area. Tooth installation up to the 6th tooth is completely sufficient; it can handle the stress involved between chewing pressure and the prosthesis base. However, since the patient usually pays per tooth, the prosthesis is often extended to the 7th, and occasionally even all the way to the 8th tooth.

Despite the various types of prosthesis, a total prosthesis remains a compromise solution. Fortunately, nowadays, most patients are spared from having to use a total prosthesis because of bone construction surgery and tooth implants. More about that in the videos entitled "Bone Reconstruction" and "Implant".

Click here to see the video: Full Prosthesis

This post is also available in: German

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