Specialized Dentistry: Prosthodontics Craft Healthy Smiles When Fillings Aren’t Enough


When you go to get your teeth cleaned, you probably don’t give much thought to the person doing the work. In most cases, it’s a technician that’s trained to clean teeth, not the dentist. Even though most dentists can do the job, they often outsource this to aides. However, for serious dental issues, dentists take over. A prosthodontist is one such specialist that’s “called in” when you chip a tooth or it’s missing because it’s been knocked out entirely.

What Training Does a Prosthodontist Receive?

All dentists must go to dental college to obtain a degree in dentistry. However, the prosthodontist doesn’t stop where most dentists do. They go on and staysin school for another three years. During those three years, they studies the anatomy of the head, neck, and esthetics as it relates to cosmetic procedures.

At the end of the schooling, prosthodontist are ready to do cosmetic surgery as it relates to dentistry. What does that mean, exactly?

What Type of Work Do They Do?

The prosthodontist does cosmetic dentistry. Let’s say you need veneers or crowns for your teeth. If you’ve been in an accident, and your teeth are chipped, there’s both an esthetic problem and an oral health problem. The cosmetic problem is that chipped teeth don’t look so great. The oral health problem is that bacteria can get into sensitive tooth tissue (i.e. dentin) and ruin teeth.

Once the enamel is cracked or chipped, there’s less protection from acid erosion. A prosthodontist can correct these problems by cementing a wafer-thin porcelain veneer to your teeth or placing a crown (a cap) on your broken or missing tooth.

The prosthodontist does dental implants. Dental implants are just one example of an extensive and invasive procedure that prosthodontists perform. The procedure involves extracting the remains of a damaged tooth and implanting a titanium screw in place of the missing tooth. Then, a crown or cap is placed over the screw.

The prosthodontist does crowns, bridges, and dentures. If all of your teeth have fallen out, or need to be pulled, it can be a traumatic experience. This is perhaps where prosthodontists are most in-demand. They can fit you with a new set of dentures that look natural and perform just like regular teeth. Do your research online for trusted prosthodontists with the right qualifications such as this New York Prosthodontist.

If you’re only missing a tooth or a few teeth, they can implant a crown or a bridge (a series of crowns) that will fill in the missing teeth.

Crowns differ from dentures in that they are usually either only a single replacement or up to 2 or 3 teeth “bridged.” They are cemented to the remains of a broken tooth and act as a replacement. Dentures, on the other hand, aren’t usually permanently cemented in. Instead, they are removable, though many dentists offer solutions for “extended” wear so that the dentures don’t need to be taken out as often.

Regardless of the procedure, prosthodontists are necessary because of the delicate nature of the implants and the high risk for causing damage to the jawbone, surrounding teeth, or the gums.

Robert Ander enjoys his career as a dentist-turned-professor. When not mentoring students through dental school, he often blogs about the range of options for improved oral health for the everyday person.

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