The absence of teeth in the mouth due to various factors leads to gaps that negatively affect the patient’s functions, such as chewing and speaking. Additionally, tooth gaps cause aesthetic concerns. This is where prosthetic dental treatment comes into play.
Prosthetic dental treatment refers to the process of replacing lost teeth with various prostheses to restore their function and aesthetics. In the rehabilitation of a missing tooth or area, several alternative prosthetic methods can be applied. Prosthetic dental treatments involve the application of different prostheses in place of the lost tooth.
Who Performs Prosthetic Dental Treatments?
Prosthetic treatments are performed by prosthodontists, who are dental specialists. These specialists, also known as prosthetic dentists, receive training in the field of prosthodontics in addition to general dentistry. Prosthodontists have a broad range of treatment areas, including the application of fixed and removable oral prostheses as well as supporting porcelain restorations after root canal treatment.
Prosthetic dental treatments are often referred to as aesthetic dental treatments due to the use of prostheses instead of existing tissue. While aesthetic appearance is important, the main goal of prosthetic dental treatment is to restore the patient’s chewing and speaking abilities.
Who is a Candidate for Prosthetic Dental Treatment?
Prosthetic dental treatment is typically applied to patients who have delayed seeking dental treatment or have lost their teeth. Lost teeth can be restored using different types of prostheses. Prosthetic treatment methods make the person feel better in terms of function and aesthetics. While the individual becomes able to chew and speak again, they also feel better in terms of comfort and aesthetics.
Prosthetic dental treatments are one of the most important branches of dentistry. A wide range of materials are used in prosthetic dental treatment.
What Are the Types of Prostheses Used in Prosthetic Dental Treatment?
The types of prostheses used in prosthetic dental treatment include fixed prostheses, removable prostheses, and implant-supported prostheses.
Fixed prostheses are prostheses that are made using support from existing healthy teeth or implants. These prostheses are fixed inside the mouth using various chemicals. Common types of fixed prostheses include:
Crown – Veneer: This treatment aims to eliminate factors that compromise tooth integrity such as large cavities and tooth fractures. It preserves the integrity of the tooth and restores its functionality.
Metal-Supported Porcelain Dental Veneer: Although the outer part of this prosthesis is made of porcelain, the inside is made of metal. Therefore, metal-supported porcelain crowns can be aesthetically pleasing but may have some issues with their natural appearance. It is not recommended to apply them to the front teeth for patients with high aesthetic expectations.
Zirconium-Supported Dental Veneers: Zirconium veneers have high light transmission and provide the most natural appearance. Also known as zirconia-supported porcelain veneers, these applications have a porcelain outer layer and a zirconium inner layer.
Ceramic Dental Veneer: Composite laminate or ceramic crown applications are performed without the need for significant reduction of the tooth. There is no metal in the lower part of this type of crown. Ceramic veneers are made of reinforced porcelain. They are considered the most advanced type of veneers in terms of aesthetics. Therefore, they are frequently used for the restoration of front teeth.
Bridge Application: In cases where one or more teeth are missing, bridge treatment is applied using the healthy teeth adjacent to the empty space as support. Different techniques, such as traditional, winged, and cantilever bridges, can be used, and a prosthesis is applied in place of the lost tooth or group of teeth. This way, the lost functionality and aesthetics are restored.
Implant Dental Application: Implants are one of the most commonly used prostheses for restoring the effects of tooth loss. Implants involve the placement of an artificial tooth root into the jawbone, and different types of prostheses can be placed on top of them.
Removable prostheses are also known as removable dentures. They are applied to patients who have lost all their teeth due to various reasons. When all teeth are lost, the lips turn inward, speech is affected, and it becomes impossible to pronounce certain sounds. This condition makes a person appear much older than their actual age. The most significant problem is the deterioration of the individual’s nutrition. When chewing function is not fully restored, the person struggles to consume many types of food.
Removable prostheses are designed to be easily inserted and removed and rely on support from the tissues inside the mouth. They can address the functional and aesthetic losses caused by the loss of all teeth.
Implant-supported prostheses can be defined as the placement of fixed or removable prostheses on existing or planned implants. These prostheses are applicable to individuals who have no teeth but have suitable bone levels for implants. The fundamental principle is to ensure the attachment of removable or fixed prostheses.
The prosthesis is attached to the sockets in the jawbone containing the implants. This increases the retention and stability of the prostheses, resulting in improved chewing and speaking functions for the individual. For fixed prostheses, 4 to 6 implants are placed in the lower jaw, and 6 to 8 implants are placed in the upper jaw, depending on the size of the jaw.
For removable prostheses, a minimum of 2 to 4 implants are required in the lower jaw, and at least 4 implants are needed in the upper jaw. Implant-supported fixed prostheses and implant-supported removable prostheses can be made from materials such as metal, ceramic, and zirconium.
Implant-supported prostheses prevent bone loss by transmitting force to the bone tissue. These prostheses allow for the complete restoration of smile aesthetics. Implant-supported prostheses, when performed under suitable conditions by expert dentists, can be used for many years.