What Is a Prosthodontist? How This Specialist Differs from a Dentist

Your smile is one of your most precious assets, so you must take care of it.

Most people know this but the statistics still show that one in five Americans have not seen a dentist in the last few years. This means that damaged teeth may go unfixed for years.

When your teeth are damaged you will be referred to a prosthodontist to fix it. You may be curious about what exactly it is that they do.

A prosthodontist is often behind some of the most beautiful smiles you see out there, here is a look at who they are and an in-depth look at what they do.

1. The Training

A prosthodontist must complete the required four years of dental school. This qualifies them to practice dentistry. However, to become a prosthodontist a  dentist must take on extra study.

This extra study usually comes in the form of a three-year advanced training program. It often involves a lot of clinical practice where they experience and participate first hand in complex and simple restorations.

The program must be accredited by the American Dental Association in order for the prosthodontist to go into practice after completing the program.

2. What Procedures Can a Prosthodontist Perform

You may be familiar with some of the procedures that they perform. Here is a shortlist:

  • Veneers
  • Dental Implants
  • Crown and Bridge

Now let’s take a closer look at each of these procedures.

Porcelain Veneers

These are thin shells of ceramic that are used to cover the front surfaces of teeth. Before adding veneers some of the enamel is removed from the original teeth so that the teeth do not appear bulky.


Crowns are artificial covers for teeth. They cover the entire visible surface of the tooth that is above the gum line.

Fixed Bridges

If you have a missing tooth crowns can be fitted to the teeth on the right and the left of the replacement tooth to create a bridge. This popular tooth replacement method is known as a crown and bridge.

Dental Implants

Dental Implants replace both the root and enamel of a lost tooth. Most people consider these implants the gold standard for tooth replacement.

As you can see these are complex procedures that require specialized training. It goes way beyond cleaning, dental fillings, and extractions. This is why a prosthodontist requires specialist training.

3. Other Roles of a Prosthodontist

It is the job of a prosthodontist to liaise with laboratories to produce well-crafted replacements that blend in with your other teeth.

Prosthodontists also give screenings for oral cancer. They can treat obstructive sleep apnea and jaw disorders as well.

A Final Look at What Prosthodontists Do

Now you know exactly what a prosthodontist does. If you feel that you need one you will probably need to stop by your regular dentist first to get a referral.

This should not be a problem since the dentist work in close collaboration with prosthodontists. This will provide your specialist with insights into your dental history.

If you would like more dental tips, please read this informative article.