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What Is A Prosthodontist? Prosthodontists vs. Dentists

2 minutes to read

Posted: 06.29.2022

This blog has been reviewed and approved by Dr Robert Lee, a dental professional of 35 years.

All About Prosthodontics

Need dentures or implants and not sure who to see? Should you consult with your dentist, or will they send you to a specialist like a prosthodontist? What is a prosthodontist anyway? Don’t worry. We’ve got all the answers to your questions about specialists in prosthodontics and how they can help you “bite” through life.

Read on to learn more about prosthodontists, what they do and when to see one.

In this article:

What is a Prosthodontist?

Sometimes you need the care of more than just a dentist, especially if you’re dealing with complex dental and facial matters—this is where a prosthodontist comes in. Prosthodontics refers to replacing missing parts of teeth, bone, gums, or facial structures with dental prostheses.

A prosthodontist is a highly trained dental specialist in the following:

  • implants

  • crowns

  • bridges

  • dentures

  • jaw disorders

  • cosmetic dentistry

  • fillings

  • veneers

  • splints and night guards.

Prosthodontists vs. Dentists – What’s the Difference?

Although there are many general dentists who perform prosthodontic procedures, a prosthodontist is a specialist with three or more years of postdoctoral education in this area.

A prosthodontist specializes in more complex procedures, like restoring and replacing missing or damaged teeth with artificial devices like dental implants or bridges.

Some may think of a prosthodontist as a dentist who specializes in dentures, but it’s more than that. You can consider a prosthodontist as an “oral architect” who also diagnoses issues, develops treatment plans, and helps with the prevention of oral deterioration, often working closely with general dentists.

There are three types of prosthodontics:

  • Fixed prosthodontics. This is when crowns and bridges permanently are cemented onto the teeth or implants in the mouth.

  • Removable prosthodontics. This phrase refers to complete or partial dentures that are removeable.

  • Maxillofacial prosthetics. This is a lesser-known highly specialized area of dentistry, dealing with the nose, eyes, and other parts of the face that have been replaced with prostheses.

General dentists can do prosthodontic procedures like implants, crowns, bridges, and dentures, but they won’t perform maxillofacial prosthetics. Likewise, more complex forms of prosthodontic treatments will be done by a prosthodontist, and most of the time, your dentist will refer you to a prosthodontist for any specialist work.

Reasons to See a Prosthodontist

There are many reasons to see a prosthodontist. If you’ve had an accident involving the mouth or need some complex cosmetic dentistry, then you would see a prosthodontist. Also, if you need any replacements after tooth extraction, like implants and dentures, especially in complex cases you’d see a prosthodontist.

In addition, you may need to visit a prosthodontist if you require any of the following procedures below.

Denture Implant Fit and Placement

Prosthodontists specialize in dental procedures relating to denture implants, like the proper fit and placement of

In cases like these, a prosthodontist would assess the health of your gums and the condition of your jawbone to determine the best dental option for you. Then, they’d determine the correct size and shape and send the design and specifications that suit you best to a dental technician. However, it’s possible your dentist can perform the above procedures and may also be a dentist who makes dentures.

Any Sleep or Snoring Issues Relating to Your Jaw

If you struggle with snoring, breathing disorders, or sleep problems, and temporomandibular joint issues, a prosthodontist can suggest the right treatment to help you work through them.

Traumatic Injury Repairs

If you’ve suffered from an oral injury, then a prosthodontist can help repair any traumatic damage to your mouth, teeth, and face to restore proper form and function.

Oral Cancer Reconstruction

Oral cancer may need to be treated using surgery to remove the cancerous growth. A specially trained prosthodontist can perform any necessary reconstruction to repair cosmetic damage resulting from the surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions About Prosthodontics

What procedures does a prosthodontist perform?

Dental treatments offered by prosthodontists include complex:

  • dental implants

  • crowns

  • fixed bridge

  • dentures

  • cosmetic dentistry.

Some also perform procedures like prosthetics involving the jaw, nose, eyes, or any other part of the face.

What is the difference between an orthodontist and a prosthodontist?

An orthodontist performs procedures that help correct poor teeth alignment and positioning, plus jaw and face structures. You’d see an orthodontist if you need to get braces, for example. A prosthodontist, on the other hand, focuses on replacing missing teeth with treatments like implants, bridges, or dentures; treats dental injuries; and offers complex cosmetic dental procedures.

Is prosthodontics the same as implants?

Dental implants are a treatment included under the specialization of prosthodontics, but there are many other procedures that could be included as well, like cosmetic dentistry, dentures, and the treatment of injuries to the jaw or mouth.

Do prosthodontists extract teeth?

Yes, prosthodontists can extract teeth, but tooth extractions can also be done by a dentist or an oral surgeon.

If you’re looking to get dentures or dental implants, your dentist may refer you to a prosthodontist. A prosthodontist is a highly trained dental specialist who can help you find the right treatment for teeth replacement, like full dentures, implants, or even cosmetic dentistry.

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