Prosthetics are used in many fields of medicine to replace missing body parts. In dentistry, prosthodontic devices are commonly used to replace missing teeth. While they all do the same job, different prosthodontics work differently to restore your smile. If you would like to know more, keep reading.

1. Dentures

Full dentures are a common go-to for people who are missing lots of or all of their teeth, but partial dentures can be used to replace one tooth or a handful. Dentures are still a popular choice because they are non-invasive and don't cost much.  

Dentures, however, are the least stable choice because they sit on the gums. Your natural saliva helps create a suction fit, but the dentures may still be prone to move when you eat, talk, or laugh. It's important your dentures fit perfectly to prevent irritation to gums or slipping dentures.

2. Dental Bridge

There are multiple types of dental bridges, but they all use surrounding teeth to anchor the fake tooth. In the case of a traditional fixed bridge, the teeth on either side of the missing tooth serve as the anchor teeth. Therefore, the bridge consists of a dental crown on each end and a fully fake tooth in the middle. The dentist must permanently alter the anchor teeth by grinding the enamel to fit the bridge.

A cantilever bridge works the same, but only teeth on one side support the bridge. This is common for far-back molars. A Maryland Bonded bridge uses metal wings to attach the fake tooth to the anchor teeth. This process is less damaging to anchor teeth but less durable than a traditional bridge.

3. Dental Crown

Dental crowns strengthen weak teeth, reducing the risk of severe damage, such as shattering. It also helps better protect the tooth from infection. In many cases, the crown saves the tooth from fully deteriorating or needing to be extracted.

As with the crowns on a traditional and cantilever bridge, a standard dental crown requires the removal of the enamel for the crown to fit. Dental crowns come in metal, composite, all-porcelain, and porcelain-fused-to-metal.

Metal is more durable but more obvious. Composite is the least durable option, but it is also the cheapest and comes in shades of white. All-porcelain crowns look the most like natural teeth, but porcelain isn't as strong as metal, which is why porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns may be used in conjunction with all-porcelain crowns.

4. Dental Implant

A dental implant is the most durable way to replace a missing tooth because it uses the jawbone directly for support. The bone fuses to the titanium root, recreating the powerful hold the ligaments holding your natural teeth possess.

Dental implants are the more expensive choice, but with good care, they may last the rest of your life. Implants come in single implants, implant-supported bridges, and implant-supported dentures.

If you have missing teeth, don't worry. There are many prosthodontic devices that can help restore your smile. For more information about prosthodontist treatment, contact a professional near you.