Prosthodontics* is the specialty branch of dentistry that pertains to the restoration and maintenance of oral function using artificial devices known as dental prosthetics. Dr. Mailloux strives to help patients keep their teeth for a lifetime but she understands that sometimes prosthodontic solutions, such as dentures, partials and implants, are necessary for tooth replacement. Besides traditional dentures and partials, prosthodontic dentistry has expanded to provide implant-retained and implant-supported dentures.
Mailloux Dentistry offers a wide range of comfortable prosthetic solutions that will help you maintain functionality, desirable appearance and oral health. In order to diagnose the type of prosthetic device that will best rehabilitate your smile, Dr. Mailloux collects a series of photos, X-rays and dental impressions. Using these records, she will build a treatment plan designed specifically for your unique needs.
Without a prosthodontic specialist in the local area, Mailloux Dentistry has responded to patient demand by offering complex prosthodontic* solutions. Dr. Mailloux previously worked with a prosthodontist and that experience early on developed her continued interest in advanced prosthodontic technology. Additionally, Dr. Mailloux has established a strong working relationship with West Michigan Oral Surgery, whose office is located in the same building, and that collaborative partnership has allowed Mailloux Dentistry to provide patients with implant prosthetics.
Whether you have questions or concerns about an existing denture or think you may be in need of a prosthetic solution, there are a number of options available to you. Please contact our office today.
Dentures & Partials
Oral prosthetics provide patients with a solution for tooth replacement, which is important for maintaining aesthetic appearances and functionality for speaking and eating. Traditionally, removable dentures and partial dentures, made of an acrylic material, have been the main forms of oral prosthetics to provide patients with a false set of teeth. For some patients, these conventional dental appliances are the best solution because they are economical and can last for years with proper maintenance.
Partial dentures are a good oral prosthetic solution for patients who want to keep some existing healthy teeth that help maintain the underlying jawbone mass. Partials commonly use metal clasps to anchor around neighboring teeth for retention but they can also be designed to fully crown the anchor teeth providing a more precise fit.
In order for a complete denture to fit comfortably and with a good seal, there needs to be enough jawbone density to hold the prosthetic in place. Teeth act like anchors to maintain jaw bone mass, just as grass keeps soil from eroding away in the elements. So losing a tooth causes you to gradually lose bone mass in your jaw. The lack of bone mass is why patients often have complaints about their dentures not fitting properly and coming loose when speaking or chewing. Periodic “reline” adjustments can be made to the denture’s acrylic base to improve a loose, uneven fit that can cause sores on gum tissue.
To have a denture or partial denture manufactured typically takes around four or five appointments, including the initial dental impressions, X-rays and photographs of your mouth. The first set of impression models are used to design basic shape and size of the denture, but then a second impression appointment is necessary to capture more detail. Using the impression models, Dr. Mailloux will make a first-draft denture base, or rim, out of a wax material that allows for minor adjustments. At the third wax rim “try-in” appointment, Dr. Mailloux will determine the shape, size and color of the denture teeth. The next appointment will allow you to try-in your wax denture with the teeth in place to check your bite. Then the prosthetic model is sent off to the lab one final time to be manufactured in acrylic.
If you have questions or concerns about an existing denture or would like to explore the options of having a dental prosthetic made, please contact our office today at (616) 392-3717 to set up a consultation.
Besides traditional dentures that are held in place by suctioning to your gums and upper palate, advances in implant dentistry have developed improved solutions for oral prosthetics. Implants can be used singularly to replace a tooth but they can also be used as anchor points for a denture. The type of abutment, or connector, used between the implants and denture determines if the prosthetic is “implant-retained” or “implant-supported”.
Implant-retained dentures engage, or clip, onto two or more implants but the prosthetic is still removable by the patient to be cleaned. Not only do the implants add stability and retention to a dental prosthetic but they help preserve existing jaw bone mass like natural teeth would. Implant-supported dentures use a different type of attachment that can only be removed by a dentist. Because these dentures cannot be taken out for regular cleaning at home, they are designed to be self-cleansing.
Mailloux Dentistry is a full service practice equipped to manufacture all types of prosthodontic* solutions including implant prosthetics. Dr. Mailloux has built strong working relationships with local oral surgeons to effectively sequence the necessary collaborative appointments for a patient seeking an implant denture. Treatment planning begins with collecting a series of dental records including X-rays, impressions, a CT scan and photographs, to evaluate bone density, plan ideal implant placement and design the denture. This important data is also used to map out the location of sinuses and nerves.
The time frame to complete an implant prosthetic is unique to each patient and depends on many factors including tooth removal, time for healing and possible bone grafting. Newer implant technology, such as the All-on-4™ system, is making it possible for some patients to get new teeth in a day. But most commonly the process is lengthy, sometimes lasting more than a year, because the implant needs to heal within the jaw and establish bone connectivity after surgery. The process includes the use of a temporary prosthetic until the final version can be delivered.
All implant prosthetic solutions offer assurance to patients that they can speak naturally and have confidence that their artificial teeth won’t come loose. Also, implant prosthetics do not cover the roof of your mouth, so patients are given the freedom to eat what they want and thoroughly experience the taste of their food without the unsavory flavors of denture adhesives. New denture patients and those wanting to replace a currently ineffective denture are both good candidates for implant prosthetics. The treatment is an investment in your quality of life.
If you are interested in exploring your options to have an implant prosthetic made, please contact our office today at (616) 392-3717 to schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Mailloux.