What is prosthodontics? What dental procedures can prosthodontists perform?

Peter March

Written by Peter March DDS, Nichole McKenna DDS, Richard Hattaway DDS

A prosthodontist is a dental specialist who focuses on restoring aesthetics, functionality, comfort, and health of a patient’s mouth with artificial materials. Their main focus is to replace missing or damaged teeth.

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Prosthodontist vs. other dental specialists

What is prosthodontics about?

Prosthodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the ADA.This branch of dentistry includes diagnosing, planning, and treating tooth loss. Prosthodontists replace missing teeth as well as help restore soft and hard tissues within the mouth.

Prostheses are made with biocompatible materials to ensure patient safety and comfort. Below you can find the most popular methods as well as other procedures performed by prosthodontists.

Dental implants

Single dental implant in parts

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

Bridges

Implant bridge

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

Crowns

PFM dental crown

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

Dentures

Metal partial dentures

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

Maxillofacial prosthodontics

Maxillofacial prosthodontics deals with disorders and diseases of the mouth which may be inborn.

These procedures involve treating TMD as well as defects of the hard and soft palate and the jaws. Prosthodontists make appliances such as palatal obturators in order to improve speech, eating, and breathing functions.

Such prostheses often replace missing bone or tissue. While such issues are rare, solutions must be provided. If a patient struggles with any of the above they may be in immediate danger of suffocation.

FAQ

The American College of Prosthodontists has a search engine patients can use to ensure a prosthodontist is board-certified. Any practicing prosthodontist must pass an examination established by the American Board of Prosthodontics (ABP). The certification must be renewed every 8 years.

Prosthodontists must possess a bachelor's degree, complete dental school, and attend specialist training. Altogether, this process can take as much as 12 years.

There are four branches of prosthodontics. Those include fixed prosthodontics, removable prosthodontics, implant prosthodontics, and maxillofacial prosthodontics.

A prosthodontist may remove teeth if the restoration treatment requires it.