Prosthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry concerned with teeth restoration and replacement. Unlike regular dentists, prosthodontists receive extra three to four years of training after dental school. Additional training is necessary to be a qualified practitioner in the treatment and rehabilitation of the mouth’s function and appearance.
General dentists can perform cosmetic procedures, but only a prosthodontist can provide specialized care and treatment. Many patients who want to improve their teeth also need treatment for underlying conditions. This is where an expert comes in. Prosthodontists often perform advanced and complicated dental work.
Three Areas of Prosthodontics
- Restorative Dentistry
Restorative dentistry involves the study, diagnosis and treatment of the oral cavity. Oral and periodontal diseases may cause decay, damage and malfunction to the teeth and supporting structures. This is where restorative dentistry comes in. Restorative procedures can either be direct or indirect. Direct restorations are typically completed in one session, while indirect restorations are completed in several visits.Veneers, crowns, bridges are examples of indirect restorations. By using teeth impression or molds, abutment/metal posts and artificial teeth are manufactured in the dental lab and placed securely on the prepared area. Tooth fillings are examples of direct restorations. Placement and creation of tooth fillings or other restorative materials are all done in one session.
- Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic dentistry’s major concern is the enhancement of the mouths’s appearance. Cosmetic dentistry treats discolored teeth, darkened gums, uneven bite or teeth alignment, gaps between teeth, chipped or cracked teeth and other aesthetic concerns. Examples of cosmetic dentistry procedures include teeth and gums whitening, enamel contouring and shaping, orthodontics and restorative treatments (dentures, implants, veneers, crowns, etc.)
- Maxillofacial Prosthetics
Maxillofacial prosthetists reconstruct facial structures damaged by accident, disease or congenital disorders. After dental school and additional three to four years of training, another year is required for specialization. These specialists work in the burn and cancer units of hospitals or in private practices. Maxillofacial prosthetics covers treatment of flaws and damages in the maxillo (head and neck) area. Prosthetics also include artificial facial parts and speech aids.