Meet Your Prosthodontist
Dr Nicholas Palfreyman
BDSc (Hons), FRACDS (GDP), DCD (Pros)
Nick graduated with a Bachelor of Dental Science with honours from the University of Melbourne in 2007 before serving in the Australian Regular Army as a Dental Officer. During this time he was awarded Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons in 2011. Nick has worked in private practice in Ballarat and Melbourne since 2012.
What is a prosthodontist?
Prosthodontics is a specialised area of dentistry that focuses on the restoration of worn, broken or discoloured teeth, through the use of crowns, bridges, veneers and onlays. Prosthodontists are also trained specifically in the field of tooth replacement with dental implants, bridges, partial and complete dentures. Because of their advanced training and experience, prosthodontists are often called upon by general dentists to provide treatment in more difficult cases, or where the patient is seeking the best possible outcome.
Please note that a prosthodontist is entirely different to a dental prosthetist.
What is a crown?
A crown is a tooth supported fixed restoration designed to restore the shape, strength and appearance of a cracked, worn or heavily filled tooth. The procedure involves multiple steps, often over a number of visits, ending with the crown being cemented onto the prepared tooth. Crowns can be made from ceramics, metal alloys or a combination of both. Crowns are often considered the most predictable and long lasting restorations in dentistry.
Is a crown the only way to fix a heavily broken down tooth?
Not always. Alternatives to a crown include direct restoration (filling) or an onlay. An onlay provides similar function to a crown but allows you to retain more natural tooth structure. Dr Palfreyman will undertake a comprehensive assessment of you, your goals, and the state of your entire mouth, before recommending whether a crown is in your best long term interests, or whether you consider other options.
Do I always need root canal treatment before a crown?
No. In some circumstances, Dr Palfreyman may recommend that root canal treatment be carried out by your dentist, or specialist endodontist, if there is evidence that the nerve inside the tooth is compromised. The vast majority of teeth with crowns will never have or need root canal treatment.
What is a bridge?
A bridge is a tooth supported fixed restoration designed to replace one or more missing teeth. The procedure involves multiple steps, often over a number of visits, ending with the bridge being cemented onto the prepared teeth. A bridge is typically comprised multiple crowns fused together to give the appearance and function of natural teeth. Much like crowns, bridges can be made from ceramics, metal alloys or a combination of both.
Is a bridge the best way to replace a missing tooth?
Dr Palfreyman will undertake a comprehensive assessment of you, your goals, and the state of your entire mouth, before recommending whether a bridge is in your best long term interests, or whether you consider other replacement options.
What is a veneer?
A veneer is a tooth coloured facing that this bonded to the surface of a prepared tooth, which improves the colour, shape and function of that tooth. Veneers are made from dental ceramics (including porcelain) or composite resin.
I want an improvement, but don’t want a fake “Hollywood” smile. Can this be achieved?
Although the patient can choose whatever colour they wish, one thing should be remembered; natural is beautiful. Dr Palfreyman will work with you and the dental technician, to make sure you have a nice new smile that still retains a natural appearance.
Are veneers the only way to improve a smile?
No. Most patients referred for dental veneers are usually seeking an improvement in the colour, shape and alignment of teeth. Often, the colour of teeth can be improved by whitening (bleaching) procedures, and the alignment can be managed with orthodontic treatment. In certain cases, however, dental veneers are the most appropriate way to achieve the desired outcome. Again, Dr Palfreyman will undertake a comprehensive assessment of you, your goals, and the state of your entire mouth, before recommending whether veneers are in your best long term interests, or whether you consider other options.
What are dentures?
Dentures are sometimes referred to as “plates” or “false teeth”. Dentures are removable prostheses that replace one or more missing teeth. Dentures are usually made from acrylic, with or without a metal framework. Complete dentures replace all the teeth in an arch and sit entirely on the gums, whereas partial dentures attach to the strongest of the remaining teeth for stability.
Do dentures look fake?
Not if they are made well. A prosthodontist is specially trained in the process of fit and appearance of dentures. Every effort will be made to ensure to achieve the most natural, yet aesthetic appearance to your new smile.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are small titanium devices that are placed in the jaw in place of a previously lost tooth. They serve as an anchor point to support tooth replacement options, such as a crown, a bridge or a denture. Click here to learn more about dental implants.