Prosthodontics Patient FAQ
What is a Prosthodontist?
A: A prosthodontist is a dentist that specializes in the aesthetic restoration and replacement of teeth. They receive two to three years of additional training once graduated from dental school. Their main goal is to restore the optimum function and appearance for your smile. Prosthodontists are masters of complete oral rehabilitation and are dedicated to the highest standards of care in the restoration and replacement of teeth. Dr. Gazdeck and Dr. Cunningham have received extensive training and are qualified to work as prosthodontists in Durham, North Carolina.
I have one or more missing teeth, what are my options?
A: Dental implants have revolutionized the way missing teeth are replaced. In the past, a patient would often receive a fixed bridge. This is where the teeth on either side of the gap are covered with crowns and have a false tooth suspended between them. A dental implant can be used to effectively give you a new tooth without having to compromise surrounding teeth. If there are multiple missing teeth, dentists will often fit the patient with a removable partial denture. Today, dental implants can be used to stabilize these devices and improve functionality.
How do dentures and dental implants work together?
A: Individuals with dentures often experience loose and “floating” dentures. The use of dental implants helps stabilize dentures and increase the function of a patient’s bite. Removable or fixed, implants can also help preserve your jawbone. Normally, denture wearers experience shrinking of the jaw; however, dental implants retard this occurrence.
What should I know about tooth decay?
A: Dental caries, or dental decay as it is commonly referred to, is an infectious process with a definite and predictable sequence of effects. They go from demineralization that causes cavities to infection of the nerve chamber inside the tooth and finally to infection of the surrounding bone. We know of several factors involved in decay. These include biofilm (a sticky mix of plaque and bacteria) formation on the tooth surface, dietary habits, stress levels, and pH (acidity levels) of the saliva. It is critical to control these factors in order to establish and maintain a healthy, functional, and aesthetic dentition. Daily removal of the biofilm before it can calcify into calculus (also called tartar) is a must. Routine brushing, flossing, and use of mouth rinse can effectively fight this process. Our team at Durham Prosthodontics can evaluate your personal dental hygiene and dietary habits and show you what changes you can make if necessary. Prevention is much easier and less expensive than trying to repair the tooth once decay has caused damage. To learn more, we encourage you to contact our office today.