Dental Prosthetics

A dental prosthesis is a custom-fabricated appliance that repairs or replaces damaged or missing intraoral structures. Whether they are permanently fixed or removable, these appliances can greatly improve your appearance and oral health.


The most popular dental prostheses are the following: Dental implants, veneers, bridges, and complete dentures. Let’s take a look at these devices in more detail.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are among the most acclaimed of all prosthetic devices because they offer a permanent replacement for missing teeth. They help preserve the jawbone and avoid problems associated with empty spaces, such as bone loss, poor chewing and increased risk of gum disease.

During the implant process, a titanium fixture is surgically placed in the jawbone. Once it has bonded to the bone (a process known as osseointegration), a connector post, called an abutment is screwed on and a new tooth, bridge or denture is made based on a model of your bite.

When placed correctly by a skilled dental professional, the success rate for implants is very high. However, patients should practice good oral hygiene and follow the post-op instructions given by their dentist or oral surgeon to minimize the risks.

Some factors that can lead to failure of a dental implant include trauma, infection and lifestyle habits like smoking or substance abuse. In the event of an adverse reaction to an implant, it is important to report it to MedWatch, the FDA’s medical device safety reporting program.

Dental Veneers

Veneers are a popular cosmetic treatment that is used to change the appearance of teeth. They are thin, porcelain shells that cover the front of teeth to improve their color, shape, or size. They are a good choice for people who want to fix minor problems with their smile, such as broken or chipped teeth, teeth that are discolored, or misaligned teeth. Veneers are also a good option for people who do not want to undergo orthodontic treatments or dental implants but want to achieve a straighter, whiter smile.

The process for getting veneers typically requires two visits to the dentist. During the first visit, the dentist will prepare the teeth by lightly buffing and shaping them. They will then take a mold or impression of the teeth and choose a shade match for the veneers. The dentist will also fit the patient with a set of temporary veneers made of liquid composite to wear for several days or longer so they can get used to their new look.

During the second visit, the dentist will bond and cement the veneers to the teeth. Afterwards, the dentist will check the veneers for fit and color. If necessary, the dentist will trim and shape the veneers to better suit the tooth. They will then use a special light beam to harden and set the bonding cement.

Dental Bridges

Removable partial dentures and bridges are useful for replacing several missing teeth or filling in gaps in a smile. However, dental implants and bridges are better for those who want permanent replacements that look and function more like natural teeth.

The main reason for getting a dental prosthetic is to improve the ease of eating and speaking, which can be difficult with gaps in the mouth. Replacing these gaps will also help prevent gum disease and bone loss in the surrounding teeth.

A traditional bridge consists of two crowns on either side with a false tooth (or teeth) in between. The dentist will alter the abutment teeth by filing them down and taking impressions of the area to fabricate the crowns and pontics. A temporary bridge will be put in place for a couple of weeks while the permanent one is prepared in the lab.

The preparation of the abutment teeth must be done with reference to the radiographs and study casts obtained during treatment planning. This will help conserve the remaining healthy tooth structure and ensure a parallel path of insertion, clearance in the occlusion and well defined preparation margins. The taper of the preparations on the abutment teeth should be identical in order to achieve proper fit. Once this is confirmed, the bridge can be inserted.

Partial Prostheses

A removable partial denture is a tooth replacement device that helps fill in the space where one or more missing teeth are located. They prevent neighboring teeth from shifting into the gap caused by a missing tooth and help to preserve the remaining natural teeth.

A conventional RPD design is frequently bilateral with a major connector spanning across the edentulous region (Fig 3.1.1). For some patients this type of appliance is not suitable or acceptable and despite the advantages of implant-retained prostheses it is not always possible to provide these types of restoration.

In such cases a unilateral RPD can be an excellent solution. However, the provision of a successful unilateral prosthesis requires a competent team with a thorough understanding of the indications and contraindications. This article explores the challenges that can be encountered and emphasises the importance of good design and material considerations.

Removable partial dentures consist of a resin base into which artificial teeth are inserted and may or may not be held in place with wire clasps that attach to remaining natural teeth. They are generally used to replace an entire arch of missing teeth but can also be used for a single missing tooth, and are often indicated for use as a transitional prosthesis whilst awaiting the completion of a more permanent solution such as an implant or bridge.