To be an effective prosthodontic assistant, you
need to be familiar with the following general
information and basic skills. Your duties will include
some of the following:
Assisting the dentist in prosthodontic procedures
Setting up prosthodontic instrument trays
Preparing material for prostliodontic procedures
Making diagnostic impressions and casts
Trimming dental casts
Fabricating mouth and bite guards and custom
Performing simple acrylic repairs
A prosthodontist is a dentist with specialized
training in replacing missing teeth; however, many
general dentists in your clinic will be able to provide
prosthodontic care. Your prostliodontic assisting
duties are very similar to those in other specialties. The
primary differences are the types of treatment the
dentist performs, the material you mix or manipulate,
the instruments the dentist uses, and the coordination
required with the dental laboratory personnel.
Prosthodontic dentistry deals with the substitution
or replacement of oral structures. Prosthodontic
dentistry can include anything from replacing one
missing tooth to constructing a complexdesigned
device to replace structures of the face such as eyes,
ears, or a cleft palate. Prosthodontic treatment is
concerned primarily with replacing missing teeth with
some type of artificial substitute. Substitutes for
natural teeth are called prosthodontic prostheses.
Prosthodontic prostheses are either fixed permanently
into the patient's mouth or removable.
TYPES OF FIXED PROSTHETICS
A fixed prosthesis is any variety of replacements
for a missing tooth or part of a tooth that a dentist
cements in place and the patient cannot remove.
Restorations, such as inlays, onlays, crowns, and fixed
partial dentures fall into this category. A fixed
prosthesis may be constructed entirely from a cast
metal alloy, acrylic resin, or porcelain. Frequently, a
fixed prosthesis is made of a combination of these
materials. For example, a complete crown may have a
metal substructure and a porcelain veneer (facing).
An inlay is a dental restoration that fits into a
prepared cavity, and is held there by its precision fit
and a cementing medium. Inlays are, for the most part,
surrounded by intact tooth structures. For this reason,
they are often called intracoronal restorations. The
various forms of inlays are used primarily to restore
Individual tooth contours and function. In the majority
of cases, an inlay is not a suitable anchor casting
(retainer) for a fixed partial denture. Inlays are usually
cast in medium hard gold, but can be made of other
materials (porcelain, resin).
There are five classes of inlays (class I, II, III, IV,
and V) based on the location of the surfaces being
restored. A more specific way of naming an inlay is to
cite the tooth surfaces it restores; for example, MO
(mesio-occlusal) inlay, or a MOD (mesio-occlusal-
distal) inlay as shown in figure 8-1.
Onlays are cast gold, resin, or porcelain
restorations that ordinarily cover the mesial, occlusal,
and distal surfaces (MOD) of posterior teeth. Onlays
differ from inlays in that an onlay covers the entire
occlusal surface of a tooth to include the cusps. An
onlay is the smallest of the fixed prosthetic restorations
Figure 8-1.MOD inlay.