A dental prosthesis is an artificial element designed to restore the anatomy of one or more teeth, balancing the relationship between the jaws and helping to optimise basic oral functions such as chewing, swallowing and pronouncing properly.
There are several types of dental prostheses: removable, fixed and mixed, each one of which is adapted to the needs of each patient.
Fixed prostheses on implants
The ideal way to restore one or several missing pieces is with implants (titanium screws that replace the roots.) Once the implant is integrated, an artificial porcelain or zirconium crown is put in place.
This solution is the most conservative, both from the functional and aesthetic point of view, since it avoids the progressive bone loss that occurs when a tooth is missing, and the artificial crown has very high aesthetic characteristics, in particular being indistinguishable from the natural teeth.
Fixed prostheses or bridges
This prosthesis or dental bridge replaces the missing pieces by means of crowns fixed to the adjacent teeth. The adjacent teeth therefore have to be reduced to support the prosthesis.
These are devices mounted with artificial teeth, which can and must be removed from the mouth to facilitate hygiene. They restore standards for chewing, aesthetics and speech.
A set of dentures is a removable prosthesis. If all the natural teeth are missing it has to be supported on the gum, and if there are natural teeth remaining, it hooks onto those teeth to be held in place. The prosthesis, in addition to replacing the missing teeth, should adjust to the bone structures that have atrophied over time due to the loss of natural teeth.
When chewing, a removable set of dentures transmits force to the teeth, gums and bone so it requires special care to adapt to it; how long this takes will vary from patient to patient and from prosthesis to prosthesis. Normally adaptation will last several weeks, after which the patient will no longer be aware they are wearing a prosthesis at all. It’s a matter of patience, and during this adaptation period, the patients must not miss the check ups scheduled in the treatment plan.