The goal of prosthetic dentistry is to replace missing teeth for aesthetic and functional purposes. When teeth are lost and chewing function is impaired it leads to displacement of the rest of the teeth and jaw bone deformities. To restore the lost dentition many different kinds of dentures and restorations are usually used such as bridges, crowns, partial and full dentures.
If a lot of tooth structure is lost due to caries or trauma and cannot be restored with filling or restoration, it is recommended to cover it with a crown. The same should be done in case of big restoration. It can prevent fracture of a thin tooth wall.
Crowns with natural appearance are most common. However, the choice of material is quite big – zirconia, all-ceramic, porcelain fused to metal (PFM), or porcelain fused to zirconia (PFZ), composite, gold, stainless steel.
Properly designed and fitted prosthetic restoration lasts many years. However, its life span depends on maintenance and oral hygiene conditions. The appropriate care should be taken to keep them functioning for a long time.
A bridge is a fixed prosthesis that is cemented on two or more abutment teeth or implants serving as anchors. Abutments are covered with crowns and the empty space between them is filled with one or more replacement teeth called pontic. Various materials can be used for the bridge. The most common is porcelain fused to metal (PFM) or porcelain fused to zirconia (PFZ) bridge. It means that the metal or zirconia framework is covered with a porcelain layer.
Instead of natural teeth, implants can be used for bridge fixation. Very often it is the best choice, particularly if the adjacent teeth are intact.
The dental prosthesis is a removable structure with artificial teeth and gum. It may be a partial denture with few teeth which are missing or complete denture in case of total tooth loss. Artificial teeth may be made from composite, porcelain, or combined. Artificial gum fills the areas of soft and hard tissue defects caused by tooth loss and in many cases improves facial appearance.
A permanent denture is usually ready in 4-6 weeks after extractions are done. Meanwhile, the patient uses temporary dentures. Clasps (metal or composite) anchoring the remaining teeth are used to improve the fixation of a partial denture. Full denture fixation is relatively complicated, particularly on the lower jaw. Implant assisted denture, where the mini-implants are used can be a solution.