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 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 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.