Last week, National Prosthodontics Awareness Week was observed around the country, including at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry Postgraduate Prosthodontics Clinic, where professionals worked on educating the public about tooth replacement options and other oral health issues. The initiative was started by the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP). Prosthodontics is one of only nice dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA), according to a recent article from the Dental Tribune. Beyond dental school, these specialists undergo three years of advanced residency training in replacement, an important field in dentistry.
Did you know that tooth loss can lead to poor nutrition and is linked to many systemic diseases, like diabetes and coronary heart disease. A person’t psychological well-being and ability to function in the everyday world can also be affected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 40 million Americans have no teeth in one or both jaws.
“Until recently, false teeth looked and felt false. Prosthodontists are using digital technology to change the way dentistry is practiced and producing results not possible until now. We are using new techniques to replace and resotre teeth to a higher level of precision and beauty than ever before,” said Gerald T. Grant, DMD, MS, FACP, FAAMP, and professor and interim chair of the Department of Oral Health and Rehabilitiation, UofL School of Dentistry.
Here’s how digital dentistry is changing the practice:
- Restorations are easily customized for each patient with the use of 3-D images, allowing for more control by the prosthodontist, yielding better outcomes.
- Patient discomfort and the number of appointments is reduced, thanks to the digital information captured. Esthetics and comfort are also achieved.
- Prosthodontists can use digital techniques and ceramic material to custom-design, fabricate and place a crown in as little as one day.
- In previous decades, removable dentures and conventional bridges were the sole means of replacing teeth. Now dental implants offer improved function and comfort and are mechanically and biologically superior to previous options.
“When you lose even a single tooth, it will result in bone loss, change the bite and result in adjacent teeth moving toward the missing space. The longer a person waits to get it replaced, the more challenging the clinical situation,” Grant added.