A dental prosthetic, also known as a dental prosthesis or simply a prosthesis, is an artificial device or appliance used to replace missing teeth, restore damaged teeth, or improve the appearance and function of teeth and oral structures. Dental prosthetics are designed to mimic the natural look and function of teeth, allowing individuals to eat, speak, and smile comfortably. There are different types of dental prosthetics, including:
- Dentures: Complete or partial dentures are removable prosthetic devices used to replace multiple missing teeth. Complete dentures replace all teeth in the upper or lower jaw, while partial dentures replace only a few missing teeth and are supported by remaining natural teeth.
- Dental Bridges: A dental bridge is a fixed prosthetic device that uses crowns on adjacent teeth to support a replacement tooth or teeth (pontics) that fill the gap left by missing teeth.
- Dental Implants: Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically placed into the jawbone. They provide a stable foundation for crowns, bridges, or dentures.
- Crowns: Dental crowns, also known as caps, are individual prosthetic restorations that cover a damaged or weakened tooth to restore its shape, size, strength, and appearance.
- Veneers: Dental veneers are thin shells made of porcelain or composite resin that are bonded to the front surface of teeth to improve their appearance.
- Inlays and Onlays: Inlays and onlays are custom-made prosthetic restorations used to repair damaged or decayed teeth. They are made outside the mouth and then bonded to the tooth.
The time it takes to go to a dentist for dental prosthetic treatment can vary based on the specific procedure, the complexity of the case, and the individual’s oral health needs. Here is a general idea of the timeframes for common dental prosthetic procedures:
- Dentures: The process of getting dentures typically involves multiple appointments over a few weeks. This includes impressions, measurements, try-ins, and adjustments to ensure a proper fit and function.
- Dental Bridges: Similar to dentures, the process of getting a dental bridge may require several appointments, usually spanning a few weeks.
- Dental Implants: Dental implant treatment is more involved and may take several months to complete. This includes the placement of the implant, a healing period to allow the implant to integrate with the jawbone, and the attachment of the prosthetic restoration (crown, bridge, or denture) to the implant.
- Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, and Onlays: These restorations typically require two or more appointments. The first appointment involves tooth preparation, impressions, and temporary restoration placement. The second appointment is for the placement of the permanent prosthetic restoration.
It’s important to note that the above timeframes are general estimates, and the actual duration of treatment may vary based on individual circumstances and the dentist’s treatment plan. Your dentist will provide you with a personalized treatment timeline and guide you through each step of the process.