Prosthodontics isn’t just about replacing missing teeth.
In the U.S., 7% of people lose at least one permanent tooth before they turn 17. By their mid-30s and 40s, more than two thirds have lost a tooth.
Tooth loss can impact your daily life and your overall well-being. When that happens, it’s time to see a prosthodontist to get a replacement tooth in the form of an implant, veneers, or partial dentures.
But, prosthodontics is about much more than just replacing missing teeth. Read on to learn what other conditions you can treat with this type of dentistry.
What is prosthodontics?
Prosthodontics is a type of dentistry that restores the appearance and function of your teeth and mouth. It includes the entire process, including a diagnosis, designing the solution, and placing the restoration.
This is also known as prosthetic dentistry because it uses replacement teeth to make your mouth look and function at its best.
Your prosthodontist might restore your smile with a crown, a bridge, dentures, or veneers. They can also handle complex smile makeovers, dental implants, and bite and jaw issues.
1. Occlusal Disease and TMJ Symptoms
Occlusal disease is a condition that affects your bite. It happens when your top and bottom teeth are misaligned. If your bite doesn’t feel right and you have tooth sensitivity or jaw pain, you could be suffering from occlusal disease.
If you don’t treat occlusal disease, it can wear down your teeth and put extra stress on your jaw bone. You might also notice TMJ symptoms, which is pain in the joint that connects your jaw to your skull.
A prosthodontist can address these problems by reshaping some of your teeth so they fit together better. If some teeth have worn down, they can add a cap to address the problem. If it’s an alignment issue, they might even suggest braces or another orthodontic treatment.
2. Snoring and Sleep Disorders
If your spouse or partner complains about your snoring or you often wake up tired, you might have sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea breathe irregularly while they’re sleeping. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea, where the throat muscles relax and narrow your airway.
The great news is, you may be able to get some relief with prosthodontics. Your dentist can create a special mouth guard that will keep your airway open while you sleep.
This type of mouth guard pushes your jaw and tongue forward, which keeps your airway open. Keep in mind that mouth guards for snoring and sleep apnea aren’t the same as the ones for teeth grinding.
Over-the-counter mouth guards for teeth grinding, only fit over your top teeth. For snoring relief, you need one that repositions your jaw. That’s why it’s better to get a custom guard from your dentist.
3. Traumatic Mouth Injuries
Prosthodontists can also fix problems from traumatic mouth injuries. Playing sports, car accidents, and other accidental mishaps can damage your teeth and mouth. It can cause pain, low self-esteem, and make it harder to talk or eat.
As soon as the injury occurs, you should see an endodontist, which is a specialist who handles emergency dental care. If you get treatment soon enough, you may be able to save your tooth.
After the endodontist treats the initial trauma, a prosthetic dentist can take over. If you’ve chipped, cracked, or lost a tooth, there is a prosthetic solution. Your dentist will evaluate the health of your tooth and give you some options for restoration.
If you have one or more missing teeth, they might suggest dental implants or a bridge. If you have a chipped or broken tooth, they might need to repair a crown or do a filling. If you’ve had a serious mouth injury, a prosthodontist can rebuild your upper and lower jaws and restore your teeth.
4. Congenital Issues or Birth Anomalies
Congenital issues or birth anomalies are something you’re born with. It can happen to any part of your body, including your mouth and teeth. If your teeth, mouth, or jaw makes you feel self-conscious or it interferes with your daily life, a prosthodontist can help.
If you have an area where a tooth never erupted, a prosthetic dentist can offer a solution. They might suggest a dental implant or braces to address the missing tooth.
If it’s a structural issue with your jaw, your dentist can actually rebuild the structure of your mouth. This will provide a stronger foundation for your teeth and protect the structural integrity of your face. Plus, you’ll enjoy a healthy and beautiful smile that will last for the rest of your life.
5. Damage from Cancer Treatment
Unfortunately, one of the additional side effects of cancer and cancer treatment is dental problems. Some treatments can affect the salivary glands, and with less moisture in your mouth, you’re at a higher risk for cavities, sensitive gums, and jaw pain.
A prosthodontist can offer solutions to these problems to help lower your risk of infection and maintain the function of your mouth.
Oral cancer treatment can also change the look and function of your mouth. A prosthetic dentist can reconstruct the shape of your jaw with bone grafting. They can also use dental implants or implant-supported dentures to give you back your smile.
Are you in need of prosthodontic care?
Whether you’re dealing with tooth loss, a dental issue you’ve had since birth, an injury, or TMJ, prosthodontics can help. With the right care, you can improve your smile and your overall health.
If you’re suffering from any of the above conditions and you’re in need of prosthodontic care, Bentz Dental can help. We offer everything from bridges and dentures to implants and full-mouth reconstruction. Contact us today to book an appointment or to learn more about our services.