There are many dental professionals that can help you achieve the smile of your dreams.
A doctor who specializes in teeth is a dentist, right? Since the teeth are such a small part of your body, it might surprise you to know that there are various specialties in dental care. For example, there are distinct differences between a prosthodontist and a general dentist and specific situations in which you would want to see one or the other.
Curious about the difference? If you’ve got one or more missing teeth, you’ll especially want to know. Read on to find out when you should visit a prosthodontist instead of your regular dentist.
First, let’s discuss what this funny word is all about. “Prostho” means replacement. You may recognize it from other words, such as “prosthetics.” The “dontist” part means it has something to do with your teeth.
Really, it’s right there in the word. A prosthodontist is someone who specializes in tooth replacement and restorations from anything as basic as one tooth to replacing all your teeth and gums. They work with a variety of procedures, including dental crowns, implants, bridges, dentures, and more.
What’s the difference between a prosthodontist and a regular dentist?
You may know that most general dentists offer some of these services, like crowns, bridges, and implants. This may lead you to wonder why you should visit a prosthodontist. Well, there are a couple of distinct differences that make a prosthodontist a better choice, particularly for difficult restorations.
First up, prosthodontists have more education. On top of regular dental school, they spend another three years training and studying in a CODA-accredited graduate program. These folks are the experts when it comes to dental reconstruction and restoration.
A regular dentist may be able to fashion a bridge and install a dental implant, but when you have significant bone loss or other factors that make your situation more complex, you’ll definitely want the extra knowledge of a prosthodontist on your case.
On top of more extensive dental education, prosthodontists also spend more time in rigorous training. Prosthodontists learn everything there is to know about state-of-the-art dental technology and techniques. They spend countless hours learning about the human jaw, the dynamics of smiling, and other topics in order to treat complex dental conditions.
To be certified, a prosthodontist must pass an in-depth exam conducted by the American Board of Prosthodontics. Dental technology moves quickly, so they are also required to keep up with new technologies as they emerge. To ensure they are remaining current in their fields, prosthodontists must recertify every eight years.
A General Dentist’s Focus
As you can see, a prosthodontist spends more time learning and has more practice designing and creating complex restorations. A general dentist’s goal is to maintain your oral health. While they can install bridges and implants, their primary focus is on keeping your entire mouth healthy.
They spend more time cleaning your teeth, filling cavities, checking for abnormalities, and performing other routine tasks, so they don’t necessarily acquire the specialized expertise of a prosthodontist. However, if you need your teeth cleaned, whitened, or need to have a cavity filled, a general dentist is the perfect dental professional.
When should you see a prosthodontist?
Seeing a general dentist for a simple dental crown or implant is totally fine. However, if your situation is more complicated, it’s better to choose a prosthodontist. It’s also likely that your dentist will refer you to one rather than take on a project that is out of their area of expertise.
A prosthodontist will be better able to create a restoration that will be comfortable, look natural, and stay strong for many years. They can also perform jaw surgery and create prosthodontics to replace or reinforce your jawbone after bone loss or an injury. A regular dentist doesn’t work with the highly specialized technology and techniques that are required in complex cases such as these.
Are you in need of prosthodontic care?
Whether you’re dealing with tooth loss, a dental issue you’ve had since birth, an injury, or TMJ, prosthodontics can help. With the right care, you can improve your smile and your overall health.
If you’re suffering from any of the above conditions and you’re in need of prosthodontic care, Bentz Dental can help. We offer everything from bridges and dentures to implants and full mouth reconstruction. Contact us today to book an appointment or learn more about our services.