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Prosthodontics is a branch of dentistry specializing in replacing teeth and other parts of the mouth and face. It’s one of the dental specialties duly recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA).
Prosthodontics involves designing, developing, replacing, and restoring dental and oral functions. It also involves the rehabilitation and maintenance of artificial replacements.
A person who specializes in prosthodontics is called a prosthodontist. They treat and diagnose people who need artificial replacements in their mouth or jaw. They also deal with complex cases that a general dentist can’t handle.
General dentists can do routine teeth placements. But prosthodontists are experts in these procedures. They also specialize in treating more sensitive and complex dental conditions.
Prosthodontists have a bachelor’s degree in dentistry. Additionally, they must finish another 3 years of advanced training post-dental school.
A prosthodontist trains extensively in:
They are typically members of the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP).
Generally speaking, a prosthodontist has more advanced specialty training than a regular dentist. They have expertise in replacing any part of the mouth. They are also considered experts in restoring and replacing teeth.
A prosthodontist also treats and manages:
Dentists focus mainly on dental care. Prosthodontists primarily conduct cosmetic surgery in the mouth.
Prosthodontists also treat facial problems caused by:
They spend 2 to 3 additional years post-graduation for rigorous training on sensitive oral issues. They are also trained to restore the function of a healthy mouth.
Some prosthodontists also earn a master's degree during their residency.
A person should consult a prosthodontist if they need extensive dental restorations. This can help create optimal oral health and treat certain clinical conditions in the mouth.
Prosthodontists are experts in complex restoration or replacement. They should be consulted before surgery or treatment for any complex, atypical, or extensive oral issues.
Here are the procedures and treatments only certified prosthodontics can do:
Full mouth reconstruction is necessary when teeth have extensive damage. Causes are traumatic injuries and/or decay. It involves the rebuilding or replacing of teeth in a person’s mouth.
Full mouth reconstruction often includes different treatments such as:
It improves the function of the entire mouth.
In a bone grafting procedure, the prosthodontist will harvest bone tissue from other body parts. They will then insert it into the jawbone. This provides a stable foundation for dental implants.
Dental implants restore one or more missing teeth. Treatment planning consists of two parts:
Porcelain veneers or dental veneers are custom-made, tooth-colored shells. They cover the front surfaces of teeth.
People usually opt for this procedure to improve aesthetics. Veneers can change the color, shape, and size of teeth. They are permanent solutions.
A smile makeover is a cosmetic dental procedure. It’s similar to full mouth reconstruction in that it involves multiple treatments.
A smile makeover changes the entire appearance of the teeth when you smile.
Examples of treatment for a smile makeover include:
TMJ disorder, or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), requires treatment from a prosthodontist.
People with TMD experience pain including headaches, earaches, or discomfort when opening and closing the mouth.
There are multiple methods that a prosthodontist may recommend. These include: