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Choosing a Cosmetic Dentist: What is a Prosthodontist?

Denver is home to dozens of cosmetic dentists willing to take your money in exchange for aesthetic dental work. Before you choose a cosmetic dentist, you should know the difference between a general dentist who happens to offer aesthetic procedures and a prosthodontist.  As a rule, all prosthodontists are qualified cosmetic dentists—but not all cosmetic dentists are qualified prosthodontists.

Here’s why:

Prosthodontics, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), pertains specifically to the rehabilitation and maintenance of “oral function, comfort, appearance and health” through the restoration of missing or deficient teeth and/or maxillofacial or oral tissues by employing biocompatible substitutes. Prosthodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA).

As the largest, oldest and most respected dental association in the world, you may recognize the ADA Seal of Acceptance on products such as toothpaste, toothbrushes and other oral health products that meet its rigorous standards of safety and effectiveness. Just as the ADA protects the use of its ADA Seal of Acceptance, the title “prosthodontist” is a protected term overseen by the ADA. In order to earn the title of prosthodontist, a dentist must undergo a two to three additional years of residency training in prosthodontics at an ADA accredited university.

In contrast, the term cosmetic dentist is not protected. For example, a general dentist who took an expedited 1 to 3-day course on a few cosmetic procedures can legally practice and advertise as a cosmetic dentist, since the term does not imply any particular level of expertise, specialization or additional education.

State dental practice laws regulate who can use the term prosthodontist. Cosmetic dentists who refer to themselves as prosthodontists must meet the ADA distinctions in terms of residency training and education.

In summary, you can safely assume that any prosthodontist:

  • Is a true specialist in dental rehabilitation and has mastered aesthetic procedures, such as dental implants, fixed and removable dentistry, bridges and veneers.
  • Has completed two to three years of specialized training after dental school in an ADA accredited program.
  • Can help you restore natural teeth, replace missing teeth and preserve your facial bone structure.

To schedule a private one-on-one consultation with an experienced prosthodontist, contact Dr. Aldo Leopardi by calling (720) 488-7677.