To replace a missing tooth with a bridge, at least one tooth on either side of the space created by the missing tooth is prepared for a crown. A false tooth joined to the crowns is then cemented to the prepared teeth.
Patients may be missing teeth that never developed or have teeth that are misshapen. A prosthodontist can determine the best way to replace or restore these teeth to proper form and function.
Crowns build up a tooth to restore normal function and appearance. Crowns may be made gold, 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 and misshapen and/or discolored teeth.
Today’s dental implants are made of titanium and may be parallel-sided or tapered. They are placed into the jawbone and allowed to heal until "integrated" into the bone. Dental implants may be used to replace one, many or all of a patient’s teeth. All implants placed in my practice are Straumann implants (see website www.straumann.com).
When a patient has lost their natural teeth, dentures can restore function and appearance. Many patients experience difficulty wearing conventional dentures due to poor stability or decreased chewing function. Dental implants can help.
Many patients are interested in improving the appearance of their smile. Prosthodontists are specially trained to help. Teeth whitening, reshaping teeth, bonding of tooth-colored material to teeth and porcelain veneers are some of the procedures commonly used to restore a smile.
Removable Partial Dentures
When a patient is has multiple missing teeth, and the teeth next to the space are too few or too weak to support a bridge, a removable partial denture is used. They consist of a metal framework and a plastic base with teeth, and must be removed for daily cleaning and at night.
Teeth Grinding/Night Guards
Often patients who grind their teeth at night are unaware of their habit. The forces exerted on the teeth and the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) can be quite destructive, damaging the teeth or TMJ causing pain or limited jaw movement. A custom-made night guard can protect the teeth and relieve pressure on the TMJ.
Sleep apnea refers to a temporary cessation of breathing while sleeping. Many times the airway is obstructed by the patient’s anatomy, and the placement of a specially designed night guard that repositions the lower jaw can improve the airflow.
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. Tooth preparation is necessary to avoid over bulking of the tooth, but it is limited to the enamel and usually involves only a few surfaces of the tooth.