A prosthodontist is a dentist who specializes in complex treatments, which involve restoring the form, structure, and function of teeth. Such dentists have completed an additional two to three years of dental school and more than two additional years of supervised, intense training in the diagnosis and treatment planning that is typically required before a dentist is fully qualified to place and restore teeth into the mouth.
Their primary work is to restore the functionality, form, and aesthetics of teeth missing or impaired by disease or injury. The dentist may fit removable prostheses (dentures) for patients with one or more missing teeth in an attempt to sustain the patient’s remaining healthy teeth. Traditional denture materials include acrylic resins and cast metal alloys.
They can also help with:
- Treatment of advanced gum disease
- Altering the size, shape, and color of a patient’s teeth to improve their appearance to align with their facial structure.
- Restoring teeth after orthodontic treatment includes using removable appliances to straighten teeth and attaching larger corrective devices used during orthodontic therapy or permanently bonded to the patient’s jaw.
- Rigid and soft tissue grafting procedures help cover exposed roots for added support for completing dental implants.
- Treatment of patients with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) to help alleviate pain, restore maximum function, and promote facial aesthetics.
Why Should You See a Prosthodontist?
These dentists use specialized materials and techniques to restore teeth through various case types, including but not limited to full mouth rehabilitation cases involving the placement of multiple dental implants, which require a more complex level of care. You should see these specialists if you have any of the following conditions.
These specialists may be recommended if you have gum disease. Since it can damage the supporting bones and tissue around your teeth, it may need more intensive treatment than a general dentist can offer. Gum disease is treated by dentists who can help you achieve and maintain optimal oral health.
A dentist with specific training in orthodontics may be recommended if your teeth or jaws need adjustment to improve your smile and bite. You may also see a dentist if you’re missing teeth and need an implant-supported replacement to restore your smile. They will collaborate with your general dentist or orthodontist if they are involved in your treatment plan, such as the installation of braces.
If you experience a dental injury, such specialists may help. A traumatic event, such as a sports-related accident, can damage that requires extensive restoration and reconstruction with special materials and techniques. Dental trauma can also result from a car crash or fall that damages your teeth and jaw.
Root Canal Problems
If your general dentist determines you need root canal therapy, you may be referred to such dentists. Root canal treatment involves accessing and cleaning out diseased or damaged nerves from inside the tooth’s roots before they are filled with a special filling or other restoration.
Advanced Periodontal Disease
If you have severe periodontitis (gum disease), such specialists may be able to provide more intensive treatment than your general dentist can offer. They also treat patients with endodontic problems, such as those caused by tooth decay or trauma. Advanced periodontal care includes deep scaling and root planing to smooth the tooth’s surfaces before a dental crown is applied to restore your smile.
As more dentists are trained in specific areas, more will likely offer specialized care for patients with unique needs. And if you think about all the different types of problems people experience with their teeth, gums, and jaws—as well as the wide range of dental procedures available to treat these issues—it’s easy to see that there are many reasons to seek out these services.