nav menu

Dental Prosthesis Types - denture, crown & bridge, rpd - PHOTOS

Fixed and removable dentures

Tooth loss has a solution, it is called dental prosthesis and it can change your life. Those who value, image, well-being and self-esteem, quickly realise that they will have to use a type of dental prosthesis of the highest quality possible.

It is possible to have perfect teeth, even if they are false teeth.

The type of dental prosthesis indicated for each person depends on multiple factors:
- The number of teeth in place, existing support, bone structure and of course the price. In reality, the cost * of the dental prosthesis may be the most relevant factor for most people. *USA, Canada, UK, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan

The replacement of missing teeth by a dental prosthesis is what is generally known as Prosthodontics. The classic example is that known as denture, plaque, or plate. But dental prosthesis has better examples of fake teeth:

A crown cemented or screwed into a dental implant is the best solution to replace a missing tooth. Yet it is the most expensive alternative, which is why it is not always selected. However, fixed prosthesis is better than removable prosthesis, and doesn't just depend on the implant to be used.

Fixed dental prosthesis (crown and bridge)

Porcelain crown
fig.1a- All porcelain crowns - photo

Dental porcelain crown

If a tooth is too damaged, the remaining dental structure can be exploited to make a ceramic or porcelain fused to metal crown. It is for the dentist to verify which of the two types of crown is the most suitable.
Usually the ceramic or porcelain crown (Fig.1a) produces better cosmetic results than the metal ceramic crown.

Why choose a PFM crown then (porcelain fused to metal crown)?
- Because it is more resistant to the forces resulting from chewing.

PFM dental crown

This happens with the molar teeth and also with the premolars (bicuspids).
[read more about Porcelain Fused to Metal Crowns or Bridges ]

When the anatomical crown of the natural tooth is totally destroyed, its root can still be prepared to receive an artificial crown. This crown can be made in one piece (Richmond crown) or in two parts, with one of the pieces being a post cemented at the root and the other the tooth crown itself, which is cemented on the post.

In the event that the tooth no longer exists (including the root), the dental crown can be supported (cemented or screwed-in) on a dental implant, or be incorporated into a dental bridge of 3 elements (fig. 2) .

Porcelain Dental Bridge with 3 teeth
fig.2- PFM dental bridge - photo

Dental bridge

A dental bridge (fig. 2) is indicated when there is a space which lacks one, two, three or even more teeth. The natural teeth on each end of the edentulous space being used as supports. The dental bridge, like the crown is a fixed dental prosthesis and is the best type of prosthesis that you can have. There is no dental bridge that is not fixed, either provisional or definitive.

Both bridges and crowns are fixed in the mouth by means of cement (special glues), or screwed-in, if implants were used for their fixation. Normally, the internal structure is made of metal, which gives it greater strength. This metal is entirely covered with ceramic, so it is not seen. Also possible are entirely ceramic bridges, their internal structure being made of zirconium oxide (white ceramics).

The drawback of the dental bridge is that it requires the preparation of teeth that will act as support or abutment. It is not a disadvantage if those teeth are not good at an aesthetic or functional level. It will be an opportunity for a new 'face'. However, if the teeth that serve as support are in perfect condition, it is not a good idea to 'trim' them. In this case, the use of dental implants to retain and support a dental bridge, or any crowns are especially indicated. [learn more about dental bridges]

Removable dental prosthesis types

Removable dentures in acrylic, silicone or metal and resin - complete and partial

Ordinary acrylic dentures (figs. 3, 4) are easily removed by the wearer and may contain all the teeth (complete denture) or only some of them (partial denture).
Acrylic dentures have very quickly lost their quality. The teeth wear out in a short time, so the aesthetic is compromised too early (except if porcelain teeth are used).

Any way, as they are a dental prosthesis that fit over the oral mucosa (the toothless part of mouth tissues), they will accelerate the reduction of bone where once there were natural teeth. This process will reduce the adaptation of the denture and will promote it "sinking" in the mouth. Its function is definitively compromised.

For all these reasons, an acrylic or flexible denture should be replaced at regular intervals or even be considered as a temporary solution. Unfortunately, the economic situation of many people does not allow such thing.

Complete acrylic denture
fig.4- Complete inferior denture - photo

Complete dentures

Acrylic dentures are more valued if they take ceramic teeth. They are a bit more expensive than acrylic teeth, but they have the huge advantage of being much more durable. In addition, they are aesthetically superior, giving a natural and appealing image. Because these teeth are 'harder', they have the disadvantage of further promoting the bone loss mentioned above.

Anyone using complete removable dentures (false teeth, plate) can see improved one's quality of life by choosing to place dental implants to retain and support their dentures.
[read more about acrylic resin and flexible dentures...]

RPD - removable partial denture with clasps

This type of removable denture known as RPD (fig. 5), gains support and retention through the teeth remaining in the mouth. It uses metal rests and clasps to achieve this goal. In some situations, as in the photo, the support is shared with the mucosa of the edentulous area.

A RPD (removable partial denture) has less negative impact on the alveolar bone than the removable acrylic prosthesis (it takes advantage in this regard). Wherein receives fewer points is in aesthetics. These days, the negative visual impact caused by metal retention clasps, is almost unacceptable.

This is a more expensive prosthesis than the acrylic, but cheaper than fixed prosthesis (dental crowns and bridges). That difference turns out to be diluted in time because it is not as durable as the fixed prosthesis which can last for more than twenty years.
[read more about RPDs (removable partial dentures)...]

Dentures and teeth fixed to dental implants

The dental implant (fig. 6) alone is not a dental prosthesis. It acts as a substitute for the natural tooth root. The dental implant has an adapted post upon which will be cemented or screwed the prosthetic tooth.
It provides support and retention for a dental crown or dental bridge. At least two implants will be needed for the bridges. For fixed dentures (complete or one sided dentures) 2, 4 or 6 implants are required in each dental arch, depending on the denture type and fixing.

This is the most advanced and efficient solution for the integration of complete dentures.