Dentists and prosthodontists can offer quite similar services, so a breakdown of what they do can be helpful.
Dentists have to complete dental school and pass exams to qualify for a career in dentistry. The process of going through dental school does not entail learning about procedures specific to prosthodontics. A percentage of dental graduates go on to enter a specialty in their specific field, and usually have a mentorship with someone in that field. They learn advanced procedures in their specialty and eventually they become a specialist.
General dentists offer dental exams, cleanings, periodontal care, X-rays, fillings and more. They can specialize in endodontics, pediatric dentistry, orthodontics and dento facial orthopedics, periodontics, prosthodontics, oral and maxillofacial pathology, radiology and surgery.
A prosthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the aesthetic replacement and restoration of teeth, temporomandibular disorders (like TMJ or TMD) and maxillofacial tissues. They receive two or three years additional training after general dentistry, including the restorative or aesthetic reconstruction of teeth. Prosthodontics is a recognized specialty by the American Dental Association. They can be in charge of diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of oral function, health and appearance of patients with missing teeth, or oral and maxillofacial tissue issues. To be a prosthodontist also requires clinical training for implant surgery, head and neck anatomy, function of occlusion or bite and many other aspects. Oral and maxillofacial prosthodontics is a sub specialty.
Prosthodontists can offer removable partial dentures, full removable dentures or immediate complete dentures. Full fixed dentures are anchored into living bone tissue with titanium dental implants, and help minimize further bone loss. A fixed denture is secured into implants, and is fixed in your mouth which makes the implant more stable and comfortable. This removes the need for daily adhesives. Regular full dentures can last up to 10 years, but do require upkeep due to normal wear, in addition to daily cleaning and adhesive.
The most common dentures are removable and are great for patients who have lost one or more teeth. Most dentures are typically composed of metal framework and pink plastic, designed to imitate gum tissue. Partial dentures rely on natural healthy teeth that are adjacent, or link to crowns with metal or plastic clips.
In short, all prosthodontists are dentists, with extra years spent on training for specialized treatment for oral or facial bone issues due to the decay or loss of teeth and comprehensive cosmetics.
Call Dr. Aldo Leopardi, Denver Prosthodontist, to schedule a consultation to discuss cosmetic dental surgery options. He offers cosmetic and reconstructive options, including partial and full dentures. Dr. Leopardi’s office is located at 7400 E. Crestline Circle in Greenwood Village, Colorado