Maintaining your oral health with regular dental visits is an important way to keep yourself healthy. Routine cleanings eliminate hard-to-reach plaque and tartar buildup, warding off tooth decay and gum disease. In addition to keeping your mouth in top shape, removing bacteria from your mouth also protects your heart and helps with prevention of other diseases.
Regular dentists can also correct some oral concerns, such as cavities, enamel wear and chipped or broken teeth. And while many dentists can perform tooth replacements, a prosthodontist specializes in this field. Prosthodontists enhance your circle of dental care and are an excellent addition to your dental team. If you are missing a tooth or have complex dental needs, here are six reasons to see a prosthodontist.
1. A Prosthodontist Has Specialized Training
As a recognized specialty of the American Dental Association, prosthodontists spend an additional three years of training once they finish dental school. During this time, they develop more advanced training in mouth restoration and tooth replacement. They design complex treatment plans for the most difficult cases and can rehabilitate mouth conditions regular dentists cannot.
Despite being experts in complex, unusual or extensive oral repair, prosthodontists also help patients with less complicated oral concerns when it comes to restorative work. They focus on replacing and restoring teeth, including implants, crowns, dentures and bridges, as well as treatments for temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Some also offer different forms of orthodontic work to straighten teeth and improve mouth function.
2. They Perform Full Mouth Reconstructions
A full mouth reconstruction can be a result of extensive decay, a birth defect, tooth grinding, traumatic incident or loss of mouth structures due to cancer. It can also be needed if there are multiple failing fillings or worn enamel from things like teeth grinding. It requires advanced techniques to rebuild the teeth in your mouth. It is a type of hybrid procedure – while it focuses on restoring optimum function, the prosthodontist also wants you to look your best. In this way, it is also a cosmetic procedure.
In addition to rebuilding some oral structures, you can also expect expert fitting of dentures, implants, veneers, bridges or crowns. Prosthodontists can ensure you have the best oral function through a variety of these techniques. Their advanced training and ability to undertake complex cases ensures natural results that fit properly and function with a normal bite. The prosthodontist’s expertise minimizes any chances of uncomfortable rubbing or other sore spots.
You will look great, feel better and have improved function with their combination of technical experience and artistry.
3. You Can Receive a Full Smile Makeover
A smile makeover is slightly different from a full mouth reconstruction. Smile makeovers focus on the alignment, balance and color of your teeth. While not as extensive as a reconstruction, smile makeovers still provide drastic results and can improve certain functions. The makeover often uses a combination of orthodontics, implants, crowns, veneers, teeth whitening and other corrective options.
Cosmetic dentistry, or a smile makeover, can correct discolored, chipped, broken and odd-sized teeth. It can also address gaps, worn enamel and decay. It can also sometimes save seriously damaged teeth, using dental crowns. One area of cosmetic dentistry that many people overlook is gum reshaping. You may have excess gum tissue, or a “gummy smile,” which can make your teeth appear smaller. Your prosthodontist can contour the gum tissues to expose more of the surface of the tooth, without damaging any of the delicate tooth root.
With a smile makeover, you can enjoy straight, proportionately sized teeth and natural looking results that are in harmony with your existing features.
4. They Can Treat Chronic Jaw Pain
If you are suffering from temporomandibular disorder (TMD), a prosthodontist can help. TMD is a common problem concerning the muscles and joints of your jaw, and you may notice pain, clicking, popping or grinding when you move your mouth. It may be more noticeable when you chew or yawn.
Although the two terms are not identical, you may have heard TMD referred to as TMJ, or Temporomandibular Joint (Disorder). TMJ refers to the joints of the jaw itself, while TMD encompasses many more symptoms that may or may not include jaw pain. In fact, many people do not realize that TMD can affect more than just the jaw itself, and are shocked to discover their jaw is the cause of problems with other parts of their body.
While TMJ is a symptom of TMD, TMD can also cause toothaches, unexplained headaches, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), shoulder problems and neck pain. Pain in the temples, dizziness (vertigo) and even back pain result from TMD. Prosthodontists have many treatment options to reduce or eliminate the source of TMD.
5. Good Oral Health Protects Your Overall Health
Keeping your mouth in top condition and free from bacteria and inflammation can help protect many different areas of your body. When you have chipped, missing, crowded, misaligned teeth or other oral problems, it can be hard to keep your mouth as clean as it needs to be. This can lead to mouth infections or plaque buildup, both of which result in bacteria that can enter your body and cause serious damage.
Mouth bacteria are associated with cardiovascular problems, including heart attack and stroke. The bacteria can harm your kidneys and also increase your risk for rheumatoid arthritis. The reason for the association between mouth bacteria and body damage is not entirely clear, but it is believed that the chronic inflammation associated with mouth bacteria triggers your immune system to overreact. In some cases, the bacteria itself causes the problem, such as upper respiratory infections and even pneumonia.
6. They Can Help Your Teeth Age Gracefully
Decades of improved dental hygiene and access to dentists means you are more likely than ever to keep your own teeth as you age. Not that long ago, it was almost an expectation that older persons would need dentures. While that is sometimes still true, more often than not you will only need single implants or partial bridges – or no implants at all. Many teeth can be preserved with a crown instead.
This does not mean a prosthodontist cannot help you improve your smile as you age. You may experience discoloration of a tooth, yellowing or damage to existing crowns or bridges. Your prosthodontist will not sacrifice function over form – they are experts at both the technical and cosmetic aspects of oral repair. They can help whiten your teeth, color match discolorations or use veneers to reshape your teeth for a fresher, younger appearance. With their expertise, your restorations and oral corrections will look natural and function perfectly.
Trust a Recognized Dental Specialist
The way your mouth looks and functions can have a tremendous impact on your life. Everything from the ability to consume more nutritious food to feeling confident when you smile to living pain-free are tied to the structure and function of your oral cavity.
A prosthodontist is a recognized specialist in cosmetic and functional dentistry, ensuring you get the smile you have always wanted with an improved quality of life. No matter the complexity, if you need your mouth restored or repaired, contact Aesthetic & Implant Dentistry of Atlanta today for your consultation.