What is the Difference Between a Prosthodontist and a Cosmetic Dentist

When to Search Out a Prosthodontist

You have a great relationship with your general dentist, whom you have known for years and who also may be known for their excellent cosmetic dental work. However, do you know when it is appropriate to search out treatment beyond your general dentist and find a prosthodontist?

The Difference Between a Prosthodontist and Cosmetic Dentist

Prosthodontists specialize in diagnosing and treating complex restorative cases involving the teeth, jaw, and facial structure. All prosthodontists are specialty trained “cosmetic dentists,” but not all cosmetic dentists have that distinction. Prosthodontists are highly trained and skilled in state-of-the-art techniques and procedures for treating multiple, diverse, and complex dental conditions while restoring optimum function and esthetics to one’s smile. They obtain an additional three-four years of advanced training after completing dental school, specializing in the diagnosis, restoration, and replacement of missing or damaged teeth,  restoring oral function through the placement of restorations or prostheses (dentures, crowns, implants, etc.). Prosthodontists are experts in occlusion, dental crowns, denturesdental bridges, etc., and many are proficient with dental implants. A prosthodontist specializes in complex dental restoration when replacing or caring for multiple missing or damaged teeth, and is one of only 12 dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA).

When to See a Prosthodontist

Extensive training makes these dentists qualified to use advanced techniques and technologies to treat complex dental conditions.

Five Signs that you Should See a Prosthodontist:

  • You have a single tooth that has broken or had issues more than once. When the same tooth is injured or fractured repeatedly, it is usually not due to the work of your dentist. It may mean that your occlusion is off, and replacing the tooth does not fix the issue of why it broke in the first place.
  • You have pain that cannot be diagnosed.  Pain in the mouth could be telling you many different things: your occlusion is off, a tooth may be hitting wrong and needs adjustment, etc. As well, the first signs of illness in your body may show in your mouth, jaw, and teeth, and through X-rays and/or CBCT images, the cause of the pain may be discovered.
  • You have recently had dental work. When replacing a crown or adding a veneer, the way your teeth come together may change after treatment. If you are experiencing issues after the fact, a prosthodontist may be able to diagnose the issue.
  • You have jaw issues such as clicking, cracking, catching, etc. Hearing or feeling your jaw make noise is not normal, and it may be a slight adjustment to relieve the issue and make a difference.
  • You have missing teeth and want to see one doctor for your entire dental implant treatment. When assessing whether to have dental implants placed to replace missing teeth, a prosthodontist has been trained to have more end-resulted treatment as they place your implant/s in the ideal location and create the restoration of single or not multiple crowns, removable or fixed dentures,,, etc. They take your treatment from start to finish.
  • If you’ve had any type of accident. After a fall from a bicycle, a horseback throw, a car accident, or just tripping on the sidewalk, a hard fall can throw your jaw out of line. If you start feeling jaw pain, headaches, neck issues, etc., it could stem from your accident. CBCT images, especially when compared to past images, can reveal specifics.

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Facts and Figures: Did you know?

  • Prosthodontics is one of only 12 officially recognized dental specialties. “Cosmetic dentistry” is not an ADA specialty as it is precisely the specialty of prosthodontics. Prosthodontists are cosmetic dentists. Not all “cosmetic dentists” are prosthodontists. What is a prosthodontist?
  • According to the ADA, there is no designation as an “implantologist”.
  • A single tooth implant-supported crown is the most common restorative procedure.
  • Each year, around 2.3 million single implant-supported crowns are fabricated.
  • Living with missing teeth leads to a higher risk of:
    • Dietary restrictions/issues
    • Obesity
    • Heart disease
    • Oral cancer
    • Diabetes

Confidence Begins with a Great Smile

Contact Smileboston today to schedule your complimentary virtual consultation with Boston Prosthodontist, Dr. Steven D. Spitz!

Call us: 617-277-4100