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What is Prosthodontics?
 
  Prosthodontics is the dental specialty using facial and oral prostheses to treat or correct appearance, speech and swallowing problems caused by disease or injury. 
This includes dentures, dental implants, and oral and facial prostheses. 
Examples of a prostheses would include artificial noses, ears, cheeks and oral inserts to improve speach and swallowing. 

 
 

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WHAT IS A MAXILLOFACIAL PROSTHODONTIST?

A maxillofacial prosthodontist is a dentist who specializes in "prosthodontics," one of only eight specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. Prosthodontics is a specialty branch of dentistry pertaining to the restoration and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of the patient. The prosthodontist can restore natural teeth and/or replacement of missing teeth and continuous oral and facial tissues with lifelike substitutes. A prosthodontist completes several years of additional training after dental school in an accredited advanced dental education program. The American Board of Prosthodontics certifies qualified prosthodontists who meet its standards and pass its examinations. These prosthodontists are then certified as   "Diplomats" of the American Board of Prosthodontics.
 

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE  PROBLEMS PROSTHODONTISTS TREAT?

Thanks to the significant advances in dentistry and advanced training, prosthodontists are able to offer patients referred to them a wide range of professional prosthodontic procedures. These services may include:

Complete Dentures: A total loss of teeth may present some very special problems. Some of the more frequent problems are:
 
- Extreme loss of the underlying bone.
- Loss of facial tissue support.
- Inability to chew food properly.
- Pain or dysfunction of the jaws or joints.
- Difficulty in adapting psychologically to artificial teeth.
- Difficulties in getting artificial teeth to fit or function comfortably.

Removable and Fixed Partial Dentures: The partial loss of teeth may be treated by fixed restorations (bridges) which are cemented to remaining teeth; or by fabrication of partial dentures that are readily removable. The decision as to which is preferred or necessary is dependent on several important factors that must be carefully examined. Several such factors are:

- Bone support of remaining teeth.
- Condition of the remaining teeth.
- The way in which the teeth function.
- The overall general health of the patient.
 

Implant Prosthodontics:

As a preferred alternative to the above conventional tooth replacement techniques, dental implants offer patients wonderful advantages of security, support and function. The decision as to which is preferred or possible is dependent on the same factors of concern mentioned earlier.

Cosmetic Restorations: Certain patients may desire or require special crowns (jackets or caps) on teeth to create aesthetic improvement. Restoration by this method can solve unsightly problems of chemical or drug stains, fractured teeth, crooked teeth or teeth with spaces.

Pain or Dysfunction: Problems of occlusion or function of the teeth may lead to severe joint pains or contribute to more generalized pain or functional problems. The prosthodontist's special training places emphasis on occlusion and masticatory function. The prosthodontist is frequently the key person in making accurate diagnoses or in designing treatment plans.

Congenital Deformities: The most frequent congenital dental deformity is a cleft (fissure) of the palate, lip, or toothbearing ridge. An understanding of speech, growth and development and advanced restorative dentistry is essential in rendering appropriate care.

Traumatic Injury: This may include destructive accidents that result in large defects (as in gunshot wounds or automobile accidents) or in deforming fractures or displacements. Very special knowledge of anatomical structures and restorative principles is required for adequate care.

Acquired Defects: These may be of a surgical nature, classic in this area are defects resulting from radiation, chemotherapy or surgical procedures to arrest malignant disease. Present-day diagnostic skills combined with aggressive treatment by physicians, can give promise of extended life. Attention given to the prevention as well as rehabilitation of acquired oral/facial defects by dentists skilled in creating prosthetic restorations (i.e.: obturator, speech devices, cheek, eye, ear, and nose) can likewise give promise of restored speech, function, dignity and social fulfillment.
 
 

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE PROSTHODONTIST IN THE HEALTH CARE DELIVERY SYSTEM OF THE COMMUNITY?

The practicing prosthodontist is a professional resource in the community to whom referrals can be made for management of special problems of a prosthodontic nature or a resource for consultations when several opinions are advisable for formulating a diagnosis and/or treatment plan. Because of their advanced education in theory and practice of the special nature of prosthodontic problems, prosthodontists are vital to the community in the delivery of quality health care. By virtue of specialty training, the prosthodontist can be a valuable resource not only to the dental community, but to the medical community as well, in the management of congenital complications of the head and neck, in the management of traumatic injuries to the oral cavity, head, and neck, and supportive care in many surgical procedures that result in acquired defects of the oral cavity and face. 
 

WHO MIGHT SEND YOU TO A FROSTHODONTIST?

Your family dentist - for assistance in handling of your special or complex dental problems with restorations or reconstructions beyond routine procedures.

Your family physician - for help in managing birth defect problems such as cleft palates or traumatic injury.

Medical and dental specialists - for prosthodontic services required in the management of difficult oral and facial problems.

Your family or friends - because of their good experience with their own
prosthodontic care. 
 

WHAT CAN YOUR PROSTHODONTIST DO FOR YOU?

Your prosthodontist has one aim: to help you return as close to normal healthy, function and appearance as possible. Your prosthodontist will seek your cooperation, as well as that of your referring doctor, in achieving that aim.
 

OUR OFFICE PHILOSOPHY

It is our privilege to be given the opportunity and trust b~ a patient to provide oral facial health care to them with the same caring and excellence afforded to our own families. We strive to make your visit as pleasant and comfortable as possible. To provide educational information so that you may make an informed decision as to the possible treatment available and become an active participant in establishing and maintaining optimal oral/facial health. We offer to share the responsibility for your health care with you. Ask questions - it is your right. We will answer them simply and honestly with the goal of quality health care in mind.



 
Michael A. Carpenter, D.D..S.  
1924 Clairmont Road 
Suite 100 
Decatur, Georgia 30033 
phone: (404) 325-1099 
Office hours by appointment. 
The "apple with a smile"  graphic is a trademark of Michael A. Carpenter DDS.
This page copyright 1998 by Michael A. Carpenter DDS, all rights reserved.
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