Prosthodontics (Replacement of teeth)


1) Why should I replace missing teeth?
2) Effects of tooth loss
3) What are the methods of replacing missing teeth?
4) What is Dental Implant?
5) What is a bridge?(fixed partial denture)
6) What is a removable partial denture?
7) What are complete dentures?

Why should I replace missing teeth?

Teeth impart beauty to the face, missing teeth not only cause problems with appearance, but make eating and speaking more difficult. Teeth at the back must also be replaced , as the loss of these teeth can lead to an altered bite, which may lead to collapse of facial features, if a number of teeth are lost and not replaced. Teeth work together as a finely tuned machine with the upper and lower teeth meshing with each other in a specific manner. Losing even one tooth could be the start of serious problems if it is not replaced promptly .

What are the methods of replacing missing teeth?

Teeth can be replaced using three methods, either with the help of dental implants, bridges ( fixed partial dentures) or dentures( removable partial dentures or complete dentures). The method selected will depend on the condition of the adjacent teeth and gums, the number of teeth missing.
If a single tooth is missing it can be replaced with a dental implant or a fixed bridge. If multiple teeth are missing they can be replaced using either dental implants or a fixed bridge (provided there are sufficient teeth on either side for support) or a removable partial denture. If all the teeth are missing or have to be removed due to advanced gum disease, they can be replaced either with dental implants or a complete denture.

Effects of tooth loss

  • Teeth shift so that the upper and lower teeth no longer mesh properly leading to difficulty in chewing .
  • Plaque builds up more easily as teeth crowd together, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
  • If a number of back teeth are lost, the lips and cheeks can sink into the vacant spaces, making the person look older.

What is a Dental Implant?

An implant is a device made of titanium , which is surgically inserted into bone. The area is then allowed to heal for a period of about 4 to 6 month, after which artificial teeth can be constructed on them. Implants can be used to replace a single tooth or multiple missing teeth.
Patients with multiple teeth missing who have been using fixed bridges or removable dentures are also good candidates for implants, provided they have sufficient bone present to place implants.

What is a bridge?(Fixed partial denture)

Bridges are tooth replacements attached to adjoining natural teeth. They are best for people with a few missing teeth , either the front or the back teeth. To replace missing teeth with a bridge the adjoining teeth must be healthy and have good root and gum support.
The two common types of bridges are the fixed bridges and the bonded (Maryland) bridges.

What is a removable partial denture?

Removable partial dentures are usually given to patients who have a number of teeth missing and where fixed partial dentures are not recommended. They usually consist of replacement teeth attached to gum colored plastic bases, which are connected by a metal framework. Removable partial dentures attach to natural teeth with the help of metal clasps or devices called precision attachments, which are more esthetic than clasps. Crowns may be required on the natural teeth as they improve the fit of removable partial dentures.

What are complete dentures?

Complete dentures are made of gum coloured acrylic with artificial teeth attached to them and they rest completely on the gums. Complete dentures are able to maintain or recreate lip and cheek support and restore the patients smile. Dental implants can also be used to support dentures to help them retain better in the mouth.