Look into any medical field, and you’ll find a plethora of unfamiliar terms. And “prosthodontics” is undoubtedly one of them. While it may sound like esoteric jargon, it merely refers to the specialty of dental restoration. And when we say “dental restoration,” we refer to both creating the of reconstruction and the procedure itself. But this definition might bring more questions than answers. If this is the case, what is prosthodontics?
For a good majority of people, it just might be the best decision they’ve ever made. If you’ve ever had an implant, veneer, or crown placed, you can thank prosthodontics for that. Because it is a dental specialty, aspiring prosthodontists typically need additional years of training. Those who want to take up prosthodontics learn to manage complex cases, like jaw surgery.
But what else do we need to know? If you’ve been wondering what is prosthodontics, here’s a quick rundown:
Before prosthodontics, dental ornamentation was the norm
Before prosthodontics, civilizations had their version of dental ornamentation. The Mayans, for instance, were known to adorn their teeth with gem inlays. The British Dental Association noted that these adornments served a more ceremonial purpose than they did aesthetically.
Consequently, Egyptologists found mummies with dental accessories of gold. They also made the first makeshift bridges with artificial teeth. Gizmodo also notes that civilizations in China and Japan managed to create “self-attaching dentures,” way before their European counterparts.
The idea of having more beautiful teeth, then, is something that’s run throughout the ages. It’s no surprise that dentures boomed in popularity in the 18th-19th century. This boom led to more widespread tooth extractions, which might not have been the best thing.
Eventually, as the techniques used in prosthetic dentistry began to evolve, so did the need to establish prosthodontics as a discipline. In the US, this was marked by the establishment of what is now known as the Academy of Prosthodontics.
Prosthodontics covers all bases of dental restoration
Nowadays, modern prosthodontics is no longer merely decorative. It allows more options than they did in the olden days. These options cover the various dental needs one may have. And it’s no longer limited to the teeth alone.
But what do prosthodontists treat, exactly? Missing teeth, for one. While tooth extractions are necessary at specific points and can be life-saving, they do take a toll on your jawbone. Without more teeth in place, the jaw tends to shrink and lose its bone density. Treatments like dental implants combat this by mimicking the roots of a tooth. This mimicry allows the jaw to keep its density. If an implant is too invasive, options like dental bridges fill the gap just as well.
Prosthodontists also treat unsightly teeth. This treatment has its array of options as well. If the tooth has enough enamel to sculpt, one may opt for a tooth reshaping. Veneers are wonderful for those front teeth worries. And dental crowns remain one of the most popular types of restorations, as they also fortify the tooth.
More than teeth, however, prosthodontists treat ailments that involve any misalignments of the mouth. These include TMD and sleep apnea. To do this, they usually create mouthguards or splints, which trains the mouth in shape. Often, these treatments yield long-term results.
Indeed, the world of prosthodontics is quite exciting, particularly for those who want to better their smile. Sounds good to you? Then see a prosthodontist today!