What is Prosthodontics?
The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) defines Prosthodontics as: “that branch and specialty of dentistry concerned with the diagnosis, restoration and maintenance of oral function, comfort, appearance (esthetics) and health of the patient by the restoration of the natural teeth and/or the replacement of missing teeth and contiguous oral and maxillofacial tissues with artificial substitutes”.
Prosthodontics is the only specialty recognized by the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) and American Dental Association (ADA) that includes the practice of cosmetic and implant restorative dentistry.
Prosthodontic treatment includes: dental implant placement and restorations, fillings, bonding, whitening, inlays, onlays, veneers, crowns, bridges, partial and complete dentures, sleep apnea appliances, and TMD treatment.
A specialist in Prosthodontics is called a Prosthodontist.
What is a Prosthodontist?
Advanced specialty training:
A Prosthodontist is a dentist specialized in the field of Prosthodontics. Prosthodontists, in addition to their 4-year dental degree, have to successfully complete 3 additional years of full-time education in a rigorous advanced university or hospital-based program in Prosthodontics accredited by the Canadian or American Dental Associations. These graduate programs in Prosthodontics include: classroom lectures and seminars, laboratory and advanced clinical training in cosmetics, dental implants, occlusion (bite), crowns, bridges, veneers, inlays, onlays, complete and partial dentures, TMD-jaw joint problems, traumatic injuries to the mouth’s structures, congenital or birth anomalies to teeth, snoring, sleep disorders, and oral cancer reconstruction and continuing care.
Diagnosis, Treatment Planning, and Prevention:
Prosthodontists are recognized as the diagnosis and treatment planning experts. Advanced training and their close association with the other dental specialties provides Prosthodontists with a broad insight in diagnosing and solving oral health problems. Identification of the cause of oral deterioration is a key element to any dental treatment in order to stop the progression of disease, minimize its impact, develop an effective treatment strategy, and prevent future recurrence of disease. With a wide repertoire of treatment solutions, Prosthodontists create customized treatment plans to meet the needs of their patients.
Implant, Cosmetic, and Reconstructive Dentistry:
Prosthodontists specialize in dental implants, esthetic and reconstructive dentistry. They are dedicated to the highest standards of care in the restoration and replacement of teeth using veneers, inlays, onlays, crowns, bridges, dentures & dental implants. With advanced skills and knowledge they are able to provide the most esthetic, functional, and long lasting solutions, regardless of the complexity of the patient's dental needs, which may range from restoring a single tooth to a full mouth reconstruction. Prosthodontists take a leadership role in implant, cosmetic, and reconstructive dentistry, especially in the areas of research, training, education, technology and procedures.
Coordination of Care for Complex Cases:
Many dental problems can be corrected by a general dentist, but more complex cases may require a coordinated and multi-disciplinary approach, employing the expertise of perhaps several different dental or medical specialists. The role of the Prosthodontist in these cases is best described as being the architect or quarterback of the dental team. Prosthodontists develop the overall treatment plan and synchronize treatment with other specialists and the general dentist in order to provide the most comprehensive care.
Do I need a Prosthodontist?
You may need the expertise of a Prosthodontist for one or more of these reasons
You are seeking a specialist’s opinion
Your treatment requires the care of several dental specialists
You want to improve the esthetics of your smile
You have difficulty chewing
You are missing one or more teeth
You have damaged or worn teeth
You are interested in dental implants
You wear dentures or removable partial dentures
You need full mouth reconstruction
Most dental problems can be corrected by a general dentist, but more complex or esthetically demanding cases may require the expertise of a Prosthodontist. Identifying when a Prosthodontist is needed can be challenging for the patient and/or the referring dentist. When there are obvious significant dental problems the decision is simple. However, in some cases the complexity of the dental problem may not be immediately evident, and requires the expertise of a Prosthodontist to make a diagnosis. For example the replacement of a single front tooth may appear to be a simple dental problem but in reality it can be the most esthetically challenging cases to treat. When in doubt consider consulting with a Prosthodontist.