Prosthodontist Vs. General Dentist: What Are the Main Differences?

Did you know that the United States is home to more than 200,000 active dentists? However, only one in five of these oral healthcare professionals is a specialist.

One such type of specialist is a prosthodontist. Prosthodontists are, in a way, also general dentists, but they have more specific roles.

So, what is a prosthodontist then and how is this type of dentist different from a general dentist? Why are they called specialists and what do they specialize in?

We’ll address all these burning questions in this post, so be sure to read on!

What Is a Prosthodontist Dentist?

A prosthodontist is a dentist who specializes in prosthodontics. They diagnose, treat, maintain, and rehabilitate patients who have missing or lost teeth. They’re also often the first line of contact for problems with maxillofacial tissues.

Doesn’t That Make Prosthodontists General Dentists Too?

Indeed, all prosthodontists start out as general dentists. However, they’ve taken their education to a higher level, pursuing prosthodontic training. It’s a special branch of dentistry that involves oral extractions and replacements.

The term “prosthodontics” comes from two Greek words. The first is “prostho”, which means a replacement, and “dontics”, which means teeth. As such, prosthodontics is dentistry that deals mainly with “replacing teeth”.

This extra study entails at least three more years of school and training.

General dentists are also trained in standard teeth extraction methods. However, if the case is too complex that it needs surgery, they may refer the patient to a prosthodontist. They also work with prosthodontists to replace the teeth they’ve removed.

What Exactly Do Prosthodontists Specialize In?

Prosthodontists specialize in anything that has to do with missing and lost teeth. These specialists have also undergone extensive training in cosmetic dentistry. They provide dentures, crowns, bridges, and yes, even full mouth reconstruction.

Prosthodontic specializations also include the placement of dental implants. In the US alone, five million of these implants get placed each year.

Moreover, prosthodontists deal with and handle jaw issues. For instance, they diagnose and treat jaw joint issues, which up to 40% of people will experience. You should see a prosthodontist if you have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD).

Do You Need Prosthodontic Services?

If you’re one of the 120 million people in the US who are missing at least one tooth, it’s time to see a prosthodontist. They can help determine which type of tooth replacement procedure is best for you. They will also be the one to carry out your tooth replacement procedure and treatment plan.

The same goes if you have jaw pain or hear a clicking sound whenever you move your mouth. These are signs of TMJD, which you need to treat ASAP, or it can lead to chronic headaches and facial pain.

Prosthodontists: The Recognized Specialists in Oral Reconstruction

There you have it, your brief but concise guide on what a prosthodontist is. Now that you know how they differ from a general dentist, then you’ll know who to go to if you run into oral health issues.

If you only need to get your teeth cleaned, a general dentist will suffice. If, however, you’ve lost a tooth due to decay or injury, you should see a prosthodontist. A prosthodontist is your best option for any oral problem that warrants restoration.

Ready to bring your mouth back to its full function with reconstructive procedures? We can help! Please feel free to get in touch with our dental team now to learn more about our prosthodontic services