It is the dental specialty pertaining to diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth and/ or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes. (American Dental Assoc.)
Dental crowns- it’s like a cap placed over the tooth, which is shaped according to the anatomy of the tooth to be restored. Procedure involves reduction of the tooth, just enough to accommodate the entire thickness of a crown. The crown is then cemented permanently making the tooth as functional as it was. This is ideally done on teeth that were fractured, root canal treated or has a large cavity.
Bridge- it is an irremovable or fixed partial denture, replacing one or more missing teeth. A bridge consists of two or more crowns anchored on either side of the missing tooth, and a false tooth/ teeth in between. The procedure is similar to having a crown.
- Materials used for crowns/ bridge
- Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM) crowns
This kind of material has a thin layer of metal embracing the prepared tooth, which provides strength and stability. The underlying metal is then covered with porcelain making up for the remaining thickness of the crown. The porcelain makes the tooth appear natural. Reduction of the tooth is made thick to give room for the metal.
- All Porcelain Crown (APC)
This type of crown is made up entirely of porcelain. Esthetic wise, this is better than PFM crowns since APC can give the translucency of a natural tooth at the same time eliminating possible metal show. This is ideal when restoring front teeth.
- Zirconia crowns
This type of crowns is getting popular because of its strength and at the same time esthetic advantage. Zirconia crowns are definitely stronger than APC and PFM crowns. Longevity is an advantage also, since porcelain crowns chip and break easier than zirconia. This is indicated when restoring both front and back teeth.
Removable Partial Denture
It is a removable appliance that replaces a missing tooth/ teeth. It consists of a framework which serves as a base for the gum-colored acrylic holding the pontics or false teeth. This type of denture has a clasp which holds onto the tooth for retention. Since this kind of denture is removable, cleaning and maintenance can be properly done.
When all teeth are missing on one arch, a full coverage oral prosthetic device known as a complete denture is indicated. It is fabricated using a gum-colored acrylic which serves as a denture base to where the pontics or false teeth are embedded. Retention mainly relies on the height of the remaining jaw bone, gums and saliva.