Prosthetic Dentistry deals with the replacement of missing teeth and restoration of damaged natural teeth. A significant number of people have one or more teeth missing in their mouth. Teeth may be missing because of several reasons. Most commonly, the patient may have got one or more teeth extracted (removed) earlier because of caries(cavities), gingival (gum) problems, injury or any other reason. Some people are born with lesser than the normal number of teeth. The most common problem faced by people with missing teeth is that they are unable to bite or chew properly. Missing teeth may also contribute to speech problems and an unattractive smile and face, thus affecting an individual’s personality.
Many people with one or two teeth may feel that they are able to eat normally and the missing teeth don’t hamper their appearance. However, in the long term, if missing teeth are not replaced, there is a tendency for the adjacent and opposing teeth to shift into the vacant spaces. This may lead to bite problems, affect facial esthetics and sometimes also contribute to problems in the jaw joints. Hence, it is normally recommended to replace missing teeth at the earliest. Modern dentistry offers many excellent replacement options for missing teeth to help people to chew properly and sport a great smile.
Another common dental problem faced by many people is that their teeth may be damaged leading to pain, difficulty in biting and chewing food and/or an unesthetic smile and facial appearance. Damage to teeth can occur due to caries, trauma, excessive grinding of teeth by the patient(especially while sleeping) and bad bite or occlusion. Some people may be born with malformed teeth, wherein the enamel and /or dentin of one or more teeth may be defective. In most cases, even severely damaged teeth can be treated and restored to look, feel and function like healthy natural teeth.
A prosthodontist is a dental specialist who is trained to deal with simple and complicated restoration of the whole mouth, replacement of missing teeth and adjoining structures and treating facial deformities. Common procedures performed by a prosthodontist may include implants, complete and partial dentures, fixed dentures or bridges, veneers, and maxillofacial prostheses.