Is Prosthodontics Really Any Different From Restorative Dentistry?

With over 200,000 active dentists within the United States, it’s surprising to know that only one in five of them specializes in a specific area within dentistry.

One of those specialties is prosthodontics. In a way, a prosthodontist is also a general dentist, but they have added specialized skills that allow them to offer more to their patients, particularly when it comes to smile makeovers.

So how does a prosthodontist differ from a general dentist? Why are they more specialized and what exactly can they do?

Read on to learn the difference between prosthodontics and general restorative dentistry.

Prosthodontics — what is it?

Prosthodontics specializes in assisting patients who may have issues with missing or lost teeth as well as maxillofacial tissues. Many prosthodontists offer denture alternatives such as dental implants.

And while general dentists also help people with missing or lost teeth and may help with maxillofacial tissues, a prosthodontist has a higher level of education with specific prosthodontic training qualifications. This is a special branch of dentistry that focuses on oral extractions and teeth replacements, which is rarely as simple as it sounds. There are many factors that must be considered with tooth replacement options.

To be qualified in prosthodontics, prosthodontists must undertake an additional three more years of school and training. Dr. Bentz achieved his specialty certificate from Temple University School of Dentistry.

And while general dentists are also trained to extract teeth, if a case is complex and requires surgery, this is when they would refer the patient to a prosthodontist. They may also work with a prosthodontist to assist in replacing teeth they’ve removed.

What do prosthodontists do?

As already mentioned, a prosthodontist specializes in any issues to do with missing or lost teeth. As part of their extensive training, they also specialize in cosmetic dentistry. In addition to tooth extraction, they are also able to provide dentures, crowns, bridges, and a full mouth reconstruction.

Prosthodontics also specializes in dental implants. Within the US, five million dental implants are placed every year. They also handle jaw joint issues (up to 40% of people will experience this in their lifetime), such as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).

When are prosthodontics needed?

At least 120 million people within the US are missing at least one tooth. Chances are, most of these people should be seeing their local prosthodontist.

A prosthodontist will help assess the type of tooth replacement procedure that is most appropriate for the situation. They are also the dentist who will carry out any necessary tooth replacement procedures, such as dental implants, crowns, and bridges. They will also develop an ongoing treatment plan to assist with overall ongoing oral health.

If jaw pain or a clicking sound is heard when the jaw moves, these are common signs of TMD, which needs to be treated as soon as possible. If left untreated, it can lead to chronic pain, headaches, and more.

A prosthodontist can also assist with restoration from oral cancer side effects and ongoing treatments.

When should I call a prosthodontist instead of a general dentist?

How does one know when to call the general dentist or a prosthodontist? Well, if only the teeth need cleaning, a general dentist is the best option. They focus on general overall oral healthcare and maintenance.

A general dentist may also assist with simple teeth extractions, particularly in an emergency, but a prosthodontist is the best option for any major smile restoration work.

Prosthodontists Specialize In Smile Restoration

If a traumatic dental injury occurs and a tooth is knocked out or the jaw is damaged, a prosthodontist is the best medical professional to assist and create a treatment plan.

If a full-mouth restoration is needed, a prosthodontist will recommend the best treatment based on the issues being faced by the patient.

A full mouth restoration is needed if teeth have been lost due to decay or trauma, teeth have been fractured or injured, or teeth are severely worn.

Not all traumatic dental injuries will result in a full-mouth restoration. This will largely depend on the condition of the teeth. A prosthodontist may recommend restorative measures such as crowns or dental implants to assist with smile restoration.

They will also review and assess the gum tissue, as the health of the gyms has an impact on any smile makeover treatment provided.

The duration of treatment will depend on the extent of work needed, but in the end, it will all be worth it. Your teeth, mouth, and smile will be healthy and beautiful for the rest of your life. We’re here to help.


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