Dental prosthetics may be an unfamiliar topic for most people. But if you have missing or badly damaged teeth, you may become acquainted with them very soon. And you’ll be glad that you did.
Missing teeth can take their toll on so many areas of your life, from your confidence in social situations to your employment prospects to both your dental and overall health. If you’ve been living with missing teeth for a while, it might feel like a distant dream to be able to smile again the way that you used to. Yet dental prosthetics can restore your smile to its former glory or build you a new, better one. Sometimes you just need more than standard dental restoration work, such as a filling. Sometimes you need dental reconstruction.
A prosthesis is an artificial body part, designed to replace a part that’s missing due to injury, illness or a condition at birth. Amputees often receive prosthetic limbs. Even a small device like a hearing aid is a form of prosthetic. Dental prosthetics, therefore, similarly replace teeth both in terms of the way they look and the way they function.
It gets more complicated when you begin to look into the different types of prosthetic treatments available, as well as the difference between prosthetists and prosthodontists. It takes an expert to assess which kind of dental treatment is right for you.
At Next Smile Australia, we specialise in the All-on-4® treatment for missing or badly damaged teeth. If you’ve lost all or most of your teeth and you’re looking for a way to bring back your smile permanently, this may be the option for you.
What is Prosthodontics?
Prosthodontics is a branch of dentistry focused on making dental prosthetics (perhaps better known as false or artificial teeth) for missing or very badly damaged teeth. When you’ve lost teeth due to injury or illness, or decay has grown so deep that a filling or root canal will no longer fix the problem, it’s time to turn to prosthodontics.
Dental prosthetists, who are registered nationally with the Dental Board of Australia, assess, design, construct and fit removable dentures and sports mouthguards. They usually work as independent practitioners, beginning their careers as dental technicians working under the supervision of a dentist before either completing an Advanced Diploma in Dental Prosthetics or a Bachelor of Oral Health in Dental Prosthetics.
Dental prosthodontists are qualified dentists who have completed an additional three years of specialist training in a program accredited by the Australian Dental Council (ADC). Prosthodontists possess the training and experience necessary to prescribe and carry out any of a number of different treatment options with dental prosthetics.
Prosthetic dentistry treatments are forms of dental reconstruction in which something that has been destroyed beyond recognition is rebuilt. If you’ve lost teeth due to health issues or trauma, prosthetic treatment can recapture the smile you had when you were younger. Perhaps you’ve inherited certain dental conditions, and even from a young age, you’ve never truly been happy with your smile. If that’s the case, prosthodontics can open up a new chapter of life for you and provide you with a whiter, brighter smile than you ever thought possible.
Prosthodontics focus on both how your teeth function and how they look. Not only do they replace missing teeth, but they can also provide cosmetic services such as whitening your teeth or repairing chips or cracks.
Different Types of Dental Prosthetics
Prosthodontics is not a one-size-fits-all art, and different dental prosthetics suit different cases. Some of the most widely used forms of prosthetic treatment include:
Unlike dentures, which are usually removable, dental implants are permanently fixed. In a series of small operations, titanium screws are placed in the jawbone in areas where the roots of the teeth used to be. Bones grow around the implant to hold it in place, and an artificial tooth or “crown” is attached to the top. The crown is made to resemble the other teeth in appearance, including colour and size.
A dental implant is an effective and long-lasting procedure but can also be a very slow one, requiring multiple trips to the dentist, x-rays and scans, and long-lasting recovery times. If missing teeth have already weakened your jawbone in places, you may also require bone grafting. This involves an uncomfortable procedure that can further extend your recovery time.
Crowns and bridges
Whether you just have one missing tooth to replace or multiple missing teeth, crowns and bridges are widely-used forms of dental reconstruction.
A crown is a single artificial tooth used to replace a badly damaged or decayed one. The tooth is filed down to be shaped into a smaller size, and a porcelain or ceramic “crown” is fitted over the top.
A bridge is a short row of false teeth attached to the healthy teeth on either side, which are filed down to accommodate the crowns. A small line of false teeth replaces the missing teeth, and the crowns on either side support them.
Both crowns and bridges last an average of 7-15 years but can last longer with an exceptionally high standard of hygiene and regular check-ups.
Better known as false teeth, dentures are a cost-effective treatment option that offers more variety than many people may think. Usually made from plastic or metal, they’re typically removable – although fixed dentures held in place by implants exist. A partial denture is used for patients who still have one or more teeth remaining. These surviving teeth are used to hold in place the artificial ones. A full denture is necessary when a patient has no teeth left either in the upper or lower jaws or in both. Dentures should be soaked daily to clean and disinfect them and removed when you go to sleep.
All-on-4® dental implants
All-on-4® is a unique treatment option. A dental prosthetic treatment in conjunction with dental implants, it’s an advanced method of restorative dentistry. Created by Dr Paulo Malo in 1998 in partnership with Nobel Biocare, it involves a full set of beautiful, fully-functioning new teeth, all resting on just four implants: two at the front and two at the back.
All-on-4®’s minimalist approach to dental treatment has a lot of benefits for those who seek it. It has a 98% success rate, having already changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and provided them with brand-new smiles. It requires no bone grafting, which cuts down on discomfort as well as recovery time. In fact, the smile of your dreams could well be closer than you think with All-on-4®. With Next Smile Australia, you’ll always get your first set of provisional teeth within 24 hours of implant surgery and often immediately after waking from it.
Get All-on-4® Dental Implants with Next Smile Australia
Next Smile Australia is the leading provider of All-on-4® treatment, with clinics around the country.
Our purpose-built clinics provide the highest quality of treatment you’re likely to come across in regulated and hygienic environments. If you live far from a major city, our accredited partners offer the same standard of care without the need for long travel.
Our facilities include purpose-built surgical rooms, in-house dental laboratories, X-rays and CBCT scans. You have the option of general anaesthetists at hand, as well as ongoing support programs. Our dental surgeons undergo training with Dr Malo himself, and all of our staff are guided by our values of empathy, honesty and dedication.
If you’d like to ask any questions, attend an information session or arrange a personal consultation, get in touch with Next Smile Australia.