Focus on prosthodontics

Dentistry is full of long words. We love things that end in ‘-ontics’. You’ll start coming across the term ‘prosthodontics’ when you lose teeth. Let’s take a look at this important area of dentistry.

Prosthodontics in Harley StreetA quick language and history lesson

Any word ending in ‘-ontic’ means ‘to do with the teeth’. The term prosthodontics is an amalgamation of ‘prothesis’ and ‘ondontics’. A prosthesis is an artificial device used to replace or improve a body part. Someone brought the 2 words together to create ‘prosthodontics’; a term first recorded in 1945-50. Maybe they were replacing a lot more teeth after the Second World War.

Now, 70 years or so after dentists first started needing a medical term for replacement mouth parts, artificial teeth are intrinsic to our work.

Here at Harley Street Dental Practice in Harley Street, we replace missing teeth with dentures, bridges and dental implants.

Dentures

Dentures have been around for a couple of thousand years, during which time they acquired a certain comedy value. Today’s dentures look more lifelike than ever and also fit better than ever before. Dentures are made of either acrylic or porcelain and can replace all or some of your teeth. Dentures are easy to keep clean because the crowns are attached to a structure that is easily removable.

Bridges

Bridges are fixed into the mouth and are a good way to replace a few teeth in a row. Traditional bridges are fixed in place by attaching them to neighbouring healthy teeth that act as buttress roots. Bridges are often made of precious metal to make them stronger, and, if the crowns are going to be visible, they are covered with porcelain to make them look like natural teeth.

Modern bridges are also fixed to dental implants.

Dental implants

Dental implants are the only way to replace the roots of lost teeth. Small titanium posts are inserted into the jawbone to fuse with the bone tissue. Each implant can hold up to 3 teeth on a bridge.

If you need to replace lost teeth, and we recommend that you don’t leave gaps for very long, then come in for a consultation and we can work out which prosthodontics will suit you best.

What are prosthodontics in Harley Street?

When you visit Harley Street Dental Clinic, you might need to visit a prosthodontist. This is someone who specialises in the restoration of the smile using prosthetic equipment. They are highly skilled and have usually trained for a number of extra years on top of that required for a normal degree in dentistry.

Prosthodontics in Harley StreetWhy might someone need prosthodontics?

If you have missing or seriously compromised teeth, your dentist might refer you to a prosthodontist at Harley Street Dental Clinic. They deal with complex restoration cases. Once they have examined your mouth and gathered all the data they need, they will construct a treatment plan that restores the function and appearance of your smile. This might involve a number of techniques and a range of equipment. Your prosthodontist will manage your treatment and the way that the various components interact with each other to create your new smile.

Occasionally, people use the services of a prosthodontist to rearrange the components of their smile to fix an ongoing issue. Common dental problems that might require prosthodontic services include bruxism (teeth grinding) and temporomandibular joint disorder. Both of these can create considerable pain for a patient and can often be fixed by adjusting the position and alignment of the teeth.

What kind of equipment is used by a prosthodontist?

Commonly used prosthodontic equipment might include:

  • Dentures – these can be full or partial. They need to be well-fitted and cared for to function properly as teeth replacements;
  • Dental implants – these can be used to replace a single tooth, many teeth or all of someone’s teeth. They are often used in conjunction with dentures to give people implant-retained prosthetics. Dental implants can be used alongside healthy teeth and a prosthodontist will plan treatment so that the new teeth do not affect the remaining ones;
  • Crowns and veneers – these are used to cover and/or repair the teeth if this is possible. Sometimes crowns are added to teeth so that they have the strength to support partial dentures.
  • Braces – these might be fixed to the teeth or some sort of head gear. They would be used in conjunction with other treatments to address some of the issues referred to above.

Prosthodontics in Harley Street – explore your options

Prosthodontics is a branch of dentistry that deals with missing or deficient teeth as well as jaw problems. Treatment with prosthodontics includes fixed or removable appliances, known as prostheses. Fixed appliances include bridges, dental implants, crowns and veneers, whereas examples of removable appliances include full or partial dentures.

At Harley Street Dental Clinic in Harley Street, we are committed to optimal oral health and aesthetics for our patients. Through thorough diagnosis, treatment planning, restoration and maintenance, our experienced prosthodontists can improve the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of ours patients.

Prosthodontics in Harley StreetDr Charlotte Stilwell

Dr Charlotte Stilwell is our head prosthodontist at Harley Street Dental Clinic with extensive education and experience in this discipline. Charlotte has been practising at the clinic for 20 years and lectures on prosthodontics nationally and internationally.

Charlotte is passionate about restorative dentistry and treats each patient individually in order to understand their practical and cosmetic needs. She then turns her diagnosis into high-quality prosthodontic solutions for natural-looking teeth and gums.

Crowns

Over time, teeth can lose their structure, density or appearance or become cracked or fractured. A dental crown is tooth-shaped cover, placed over a carefully prepared tooth that blends in with the rest of your teeth. Crowns are ideal for patients who wish to straighten, restore and improve the appearance of their natural teeth. They support the tooth when there is no longer sufficient structure left for a filling, and protect the enamel when it’s fractured or broken.

Bridges

Bridges replace missing teeth entirely. Bridges are replacement teeth that are anchored with crowns on neighbouring teeth. The supporting teeth need to be strong and healthy in order to sustain the bridge. Bridges can also be supported by dental implants, eliminating the need for compromising the structure of the surrounding teeth.

Dentures

Dentures have been used in dentistry for a very long time, providing a viable and cost-effective tooth replacement option for patients who have lost most of their teeth in the upper and lower jaws. Dentures can be made from a variety of materials, including porcelain and acrylic, and can be removable, or fixed using dental implants.

Prosthodontics

If you have lost one or more teeth, you may need the help of a prosthodontist. Prosthodontics is a special area of dentistry that deals with replacing and restoring teeth, with treatments including dentures, bridges, crowns and dental implants.

prosthodonticsHarley Street Dental Clinic’s resident prosthodontics specialist, Dr Charlotte Stilwell, has worked at the practice for 15 years and has a wide range of experience helping patients take pride in their smiles once more.

There is an increasing demand for tooth replacement products, partly due to the population living longer. Patients who have had large fillings early on in life often find they need further treatment at a later stage, whether that is a tooth-coloured replacement filling or more extensive restorative treatment.

Early intervention makes treatment easier and less traumatic. As well as restoring the function and appearance of worn or damaged teeth, Dr Stilwell can help to manage the wear and tear of your teeth, helping to avoid the need for more invasive treatments in many cases. She will work closely with each patient to find the best solution in each individual case.

Treatments she may recommend include:

Crowns

Crowns are caps placed over a treated worn tooth, boosting strength and improving appearance. They can be made from a range of materials and can be matched to the natural colour of your tooth. Crowns are often necessary after root canal treatment.

Bridges

Dental bridges replace one or more adjacent missing teeth. Artificial teeth are supported by a pair of crowns or wings attached to the surrounding teeth, so those teeth need to be strong and in good condition. In some cases, dental implants can support bridges.

Dentures

Dentures are the best-known replacement for natural teeth, and they’ve been around since the time of the ancient Egyptians. They can be made from a variety of materials, including porcelain and plastic, and can be removable or fixed in place using dental implants. A full denture is used when all the teeth in one arch (jaw) of your mouth are missing, while a partial denture is used to replace one or a few missing teeth.