Patient Education

Patient Education Topics

Prosthodontics

Maxillofacial Prosthodontics

Dental Implants

Dentures

Laser Dentistry

Smile Improvement


 

Prosthodontic FAQs

What is prosthodontic dentistry?

Prosthodontic dentistry is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. Graduate programs in prosthodontic dentistry include classroom lectures and seminars, laboratory and clinical training in esthetics/cosmetics, crowns, bridges, veneers, inlays, complete and removable partial dentures, dental implants, TMD-jaw joint problems, traumatic injuries to the mouth’s structures, congenital or birth anomalies to teeth, snoring, sleep disorders, and oral cancer reconstruction and continuing care. Prosthodontists, dentists practicing prosthodontic dentistry, are masters of complete oral rehabilitation. A prosthodontist is dedicated to the highest standards of care in the restoration and replacement of teeth.

Who is a prosthodontist?

A prosthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the esthetic restoration and replacement of teeth. Prosthodontists receive two or three years of additional training after dental school, and restore optimum appearance and function to your smile. Additional training for prosthodontists is earned through a hospital or university based program accredited by the American Dental Association. The training includes reviews of the literature, lectures, treatment of patients and laboratory experience in fabricating restorations. A prosthodontist is the skilled architect who can restore optimum function and appearance to your smile.

What is a dental specialty?

A dental specialty is an area of dentistry that has been formally recognized by the American Dental Association as meeting the requirements for recognition of dental specialists. The American Dental Association recognizes nine dental specialties: Public Health Dentistry, Endodontics, Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery (Oral Surgeon), Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, and Prosthodontics.

What’s unique about a prosthodontist's education?

Prosthodontists are dental specialists in the restoration and replacement of teeth who have completed dental school plus three additional years of advanced training and education in an ADA-accredited prosthodontics graduate program.

Extensive training and experience provide prosthodontists with a special understanding of the dynamics of a smile, the preservation of a healthy mouth and the creation of tooth replacements. Serving as the architect of a dental treatment plan, a prosthodontist collaborates with general dentists, specialists and other health professionals to develop solutions to dental and oral concerns.

Prosthodontists provide an extremely high level of care to patients with missing teeth, or having significant damage to their existing teeth. Prosthodontists work with congenital defects as well as problems arising from trauma and neglect.

Prosthodontists are highly trained in state-of-the-art techniques and procedures for treating many diverse and complex dental conditions and restoring optimum function and esthetics. These include: crowns, bridges, complete and removable partial dentures, dental implants, TMD-jaw joint problems, traumatic injuries to the mouth’s structure and/or teeth, snoring or sleep disorders and oral cancer reconstruction and continuing care.

Why visit a prosthodontist?

You may want to visit a prosthodontist if

  • You are missing one or more teeth
  • You are interested in dental implants
  • You wear dentures or removable partial dentures
  • You want to improve the esthetics of your smile

What options do prosthodontists offer to restore your teeth?

Prosthodontists offer several options such as bridges, complete and removable partial dentures, dental implants, and lost tooth replacement.

How does a prosthodontist fix broken, discolored, or misshapen teeth?

There are several options to replace teeth such as crowns/caps, teeth whitening and veneers.

What other ailments are prosthodontists trained to treat?

Prosthodontists also understand patients’ unique needs such as:

  • Cleft palates
  • Maxillofacial prosthetic procedures such as oral cancer reconstruction and continuing care
  • TMD, TMJ, or other jaw joint problems
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Snoring and sleep disorders

Rigorous training and experience provide prosthodontists with special understanding of the dynamics of a smile and the preservation of a healthy mouth.

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Maxillofacial FAQs

What is maxillofacial prosthodontics?

Maxillofacial prosthodontics is an area of medical practice dedicated to the fabrication of medical devices to replace missing or damaged areas of the head and neck. This includes prosthetic eyes, ears, noses, tongues, and other devices. In some cases the device may restore functionality, as with a repair for a damaged palate that helps a patient eat and speak. Other patients need a prosthesis for comfort and social reasons, like a prosthetic eye to fill in an otherwise empty socket.

What training does a maxillofacial prosthodontist have?

Maxillofacial prosthodontists have completed dental school, three additional years of advanced training and education in an ADA-accredited prosthodontics graduate program, and an additional year or more of education in maxillofacial prosthetics.

What patients will benefit the most from working with a maxillofacial prosthodontist?

Patients that desire prosthetic care as a result of having been in an accident, having had surgical removal of diseased tissues, or having a neuromuscular disorder from ALS or a stroke in addition to children that are born without full development of ears, teeth, or palate will likely gain the most benefit from working with a maxillofacial prosthodontist.

What is an acquired defect?

When a patient is missing a portion of the face due to trauma or cancer, the resulting deformity is an acquired defect.

What is a congenital defect?

When a patient is born without a portion of the head or neck, the deformity is a congenital defect.

What kind of prosthetic treatments does a maxillofacial prosthodontist provide?

Featured below are some examples of prosthetic treatment which are not all-inclusive. Often these prostheses are combined with traditional dental therapy to restore health, function and esthetics to the oral cavity. If you believe that you might benefit from one of the following services or related treatment, please contact Dr. George Bohle, a Maxillofacial Prosthodontist at Implant & Prosthodontic Associates for further information.

 

Extraoral Prostheses:

  • Ocular Prosthesis:

    Replaces eye.

  • Orbital Prosthesis:

    Replaces eye and surrounding tissues.

  • Auricular Prosthesis:

    Replaces ear.

  • Nasal Prosthesis:

    Replaces nose.

  • Midfacial Prosthesis:

    Replaces part of the face which may involve more than one structure.

  • Somatic Prosthesis:

    Replaces a body part like fingers, hands, etc.

  • Radiation Shield:

    Worn during radiation therapy for protection of normal tissues.

 

Intraoral Prostheses:

  • Surgical Obturator Prosthesis:

    Covers palate after partial or total loss of the maxilla (upper jaw).

  • Interim and Definitive Obturator:

    Covers palate after partial or total loss of maxilla or due to cleft palate. It restores teeth and gums, and has an extension which closes a defect or hole for swallowing, eating, chewing, and speaking.

  • Palatal Lift Prosthesis:

    Helps soft palate assume correct position for speech.

  • Palatal Augmentation (Drop) Prosthesis:

    Alters palate prosthetically for speech.

  • Mandibular Resection Prosthesis:

    Replaces portion of the jaw that has been lost and restores gums and teeth.

  • Fluoride Carrier:

    Tray filled with Fluoride gel for patients with dry mouth from medications, radiation therapy, or certain medical conditions. Helps to strengthen, protect, and preserve compromised teeth.

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Dental Implant FAQs

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are metal cylinders usually made of titanium, surgically placed in the jawbone where teeth are missing. They replace the roots of missing teeth and support single crowns, large bridges and dentures. State-of-the-art technology makes it possible for these replacement teeth to look, feel, and function like natural teeth.

Who is a good candidate for dental implants?

If you are missing one or more teeth, a restoration supported by a dental implant and/or implants is an option you must consider. In many instances it provides the best alternative for care.

What are the pros and cons of dental implants?

Several benefits exist to receiving dental implants. They are fixed solidly in the bone and allow teeth to be replaced in a manner that is closest to natural teeth. They have a long history of good success. However, dental implants require surgical procedures that usually include a small amount of discomfort and the time it takes for the implant to heal in the bone which can be a few months. Because a dental implant requires both a surgery and then making a replacement tooth that attaches to the implant, it is usually more expensive than a bridge when replacing a missing tooth.

What is the success of dental implants?

It varies from individual to individual and with health and habits. For a healthy individual with good oral hygiene and good health, dental implants are predictably successful and survival rates above 90-95 percent are reported. You may consider seeking the care of a prosthodontist, who is a dental specialist with three years of additional education after dental school, and who is trained to serve patients with a combination of needs including dental implants.

Do dental implants last?

Unlike natural teeth dental implants are not susceptible to dental disease such as decay. However, the health of the gums is vital to maintaining lasting implant success. Conscientious home care by the patient and regular professional cleanings and check-ups are essential elements for dental implant sustainability. Each patient is different, and success relies upon diagnosis and planning, medical history, and a variety of other factors.

What is all on four?

All on 4 is a process by which all of the teeth are replaced in one jaw by using 4 implants. This process can be less expensive than the previous process that used 5 or 6 implants.

Can dentures be made into implants?

Dentures cannot be “made into implants.” Implants are metal screws placed into the jawbone to help anchor and support artificial teeth (dentures). It may be possible to have implants placed beneath existing dentures to aid in the stabilization and support for those dentures. This could only be done if the current dentures were otherwise in excellent condition and relatively recently made. You should consult the dentist or prosthodontist who made the original dentures.

Are dental implants removable like regular dentures or do they stay in your mouth and do you remove them at night?

No, dental implants are fixed solidly in the bone and allow teeth to be replaced in a manner that is closest to natural teeth.

What can I expect after receiving a dental implant?

As you know, your own teeth require conscientious at-home oral care and regular dental visits. Dental implants are like your own teeth and will require the same care. In order to keep your implant clean and plaque-free, brushing and flossing still aplly! After treatment, periodic follow-up visits will be scheduled to monitor your implant, teeth, and gums to make sure they are healthy.

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Denture FAQs

What is the average cost of dentures?

Denture fees vary widely based on location. The best way to determine fees for service is to visit with your dentist or prosthodontist and discuss the care you may need. You may also contact your state or local dental society to find out if the organization has any resources for the public related to the cost of dental services. You may want to seek the care of a prosthodontist, a dentist with three years of training beyond dental school who specializes in the care and maintenance of dentures.

How can I whiten my dentures?

It is not possible to whiten dentures like natural teeth because dentures are made of plastic. To minimize staining, properly clean your dentures daily to remove food and plaque bacteria. Brushing with a denture brush or soft toothbrush will prevent dentures from becoming permanently stained and keep your mouth healthy. Moisten the brush and apply a non-abrasive denture paste (regular toothpaste is too abrasive). Brush every surface, inside and out, scrubbing gently. A variety of over-the-counter denture cleanser products may be safely used (by following the manufacturer’s instructions) to remove most stains. However, more stubborn stains may require removal by your dentist or prosthodontist, a specialist in denture care and maintenance.

Can you brush your dentures with toothpaste?

No, toothpastes are designed to be used on teeth, and they often contain materials and chemicals that help whiten and strengthen teeth, but may harm dentures, which are made of a very durable plastic. Even though the plastic is strong, it is not as strong as the enamel of teeth and may be scratched by using toothpaste to clean your dentures. You should use a dish washing liquid and a special denture brush to clean your dentures by hand every day. After rinsing them thoroughly, soak your dentures in water-based cleaning solution overnight. Do not use bleach on your dentures unless your dentist or prosthodontist gives you special instructions on using bleach.

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The best solution is to return to the dentist or prosthodontist who made your dentures and have the cracked denture repaired professionally. It may seem easy to fix, but it is important that the repair is done correctly to prevent problems with chewing and to avoid any sore spots. The dentist also needs to check the denture and adjust it after it is repaired. The denture may be too old and may no longer fit closely to your gums, and you may need a new denture.

How do you know when it’s time to reline dentures?

If the dentures no longer fit as well as they once did you may need to have a procedure done to refit the base of the denture, called a “reline” procedure. However, this procedure will enable your denture to fit better, and tighter, than it has previously. This procedure can be done by your dentist or prosthodontist, a specialist in denture care and maintenance.

Can you sleep in dentures?

You should remove your dentures at night and give you gums and bone a chance to relax from the pressure of the denture during the day. Dentures should be cleaned at night and stored in water during the night. Dentures can be made to look like your teeth or, if you want changes in your teeth, the dentures can be made to improve your appearance. You should work with your dentist or prosthodontist and tell him/her how you would like to look. You may want to seek the care of a prosthodontist, a dental specialist with three year of additional training in the restoration and replacement of teeth, including dentures.

Can I eat normally with dentures?

Most patients need to learn how to use dentures properly and as a result, it takes a little time to get used to them. After a while, you should be able to eat fairly normally, but it may take more time to get comfortable with harder foods or sticky foods. Using a small amount of denture adhesive (no more than three or four peas-sized dabs on each denture) may help stabilize the dentures and help hold them in place while you learn how to get comfortable with them and may make the learning process easier.

Can you have teeth pulled out and denture put in on the same day or in the same week?

Yes, it is possible to have your teeth removed and dentures pu in the same day. The dentures are called immediate dentures and you should talk to your dentist or prosthodontist to see if that treatment is the best for your mouth. A prosthodontist is a dentist with three years of training beyond dental school who specializes in the care and maintenance of dentures.

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Laser Dentistry FAQs

How do lasers work?

A laser is a concentrated beam of light energy. When shone directly onto the hard or soft tissue of the mouth, the wavelengths are absorbed by the tissue and instantly boil the water inside the molecules, causing microscopic explosions of the cells and vaporizing the tissue. Lasers remove tissue more accurately and efficiently than a blade or a drill. Lasers also have a cauterizing effect, which results in substantially less bleeding.

What are the advantages of laser dentistry?

Most of the discomfort, swelling and bleeding associated with traditional dental procedures stems from the heat and vibration generated by the common dental drill. Lasers use a concentrated beam of light energy that produces no heat or vibration, effectively eliminating the primary sources of discomfort. With lasers, there is considerably less swelling, bleeding, chair time, and a shorter healing period. In many cases, there is no need for anesthetic.

What dental procedures can be performed with a laser?

Lasers can be used for a variety of soft tissue (gums), and hard tissue (teeth & bone) procedures such as:

  • Cold Sore Treatment
  • Fibroma Removal
  • Frenectomy
  • Gingevectomy
  • Lesion Removal
  • Periodontal Therapy
  • Reducing Sensitivity of Teeth
  • Reshape Gums & Crown Lengthening
  • Tuberosity Reduction
  • Vestibuloplasty
  • Whitening of Teeth

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Smile Improvement FAQs

What is a crown?

When a tooth exhibits moderate to severe destruction such as a large filling with recurrent decay or extensive wear, a crown, also known as a cap, gives you the strength, beauty, translucency and feel of a natural tooth. Made from a variety of materials, your prosthodontist can help determine the correct crown for your mouth.

What can be done to brighten my smile?

Tooth whitening lightens discolored enamel and dentin. Studies have shown that proper use of dentist-monitored, whitening systems can enhance your smile. Almost anyone can benefit. After a thorough examination and diagnosis your prosthodontist can determine if you are a good candidate for home whitening.

What are veneers?

Veneers may be an option if you are not happy with the alignment, color or shape of your teeth. Following a slight preparation of the enamel, a prosthodontist bonds a thin layer of porcelain permanently to the front of your teeth. Veneers may be used to correct minor flaws of individual teeth, but often are used on multiple teeth to create a uniform smile.

What is an option for replacing a defective filling?

Unsightly fillings can be replaced by all-ceramic inlays, a tooth-colored material bonded to the tooth. Instead of using the more traditional cement, this bonding process may actually improve the strength and beauty of the tooth.

What are some options for replacing missing teeth?

From implants to permanent bridges, you have several options to replace missing teeth and blend them with your natural teeth. Using advanced materials and tooth-color matching techniques, your prosthodontist can recommend the appropriate method for optimal function and esthetics.

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