Why See a Prosthodontist?
Prosthodontics (also known as dental prosthetics or prosthetic dentistry) is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA). Prosthodontists specialize in the diagnosis, restoration, and replacement of missing teeth. Prosthodontists can restore oral function through the placement of restorations or prostheses (dentures, crowns, implants, etc.).
Extensive training and experience give prosthodontists a unique understanding of restoring the dynamics of a smile and healthy mouth with the creation of tooth prostheses. After completing four years of dental school, prosthodontists receive 3 years of additional training in an American Dental Association (ADA) accredited graduate specialized education program. A board certified prosthodontist has completed a four part written and oral examination given by the American Board of Prosthodontics.
It is the highest achievement a prosthodontist can attain. Currently, there are 41 Board Certified prosthodontists in Illinois. Contrary to popular advertisements, “cosmetic dentistry” is not a recognized specialty by the ADA.
Due to their advanced training, prosthodontists are experts in coordinating treatment with other dental specialists such as oral surgeons, periodontists, endodontists and orthodontists to provide the highest quality of care to their patients. Due to the extensive level of specialist training, prosthodontists have increased capabilities to provide superior results with implants, veneers, crowns, bridges, dentures and all cosmetic and restorative procedures.
Prosthodontist vs. General Dentist
Many people don’t know the difference between a general dentist and a prosthodontist. Whilst some general dentists perform cosmetic and restorative dentistry, there is a significantly different level of skill and expertise between a general dentist and a prosthodontist. Having completed 3 or more years of specialized training, prosthodontists are well versed in cosmetic and restorative dental procedures. They are uniquely qualified to perform cosmetic dentistry and advanced restorative dental procedures like dental implants and full-mouth reconstruction.
Prosthodontists have experience transforming smiles through intensive training. They understand the art and science of creating beautiful smiles that fit each patient. Prosthodontists are well versed in all types of dental restorations: dental veneers, crowns, bridges, dentures and dental implants.
The treatment goals of a prosthodontist are centered around functionality, aesthetics, oral health and comfort. Prosthodontists also focus on beauty and harmony in the work they do. Dr. Han uses a scientific knowledge of facial anatomy along with an understanding of dental materials to adjust the appearance of teeth, whilst retaining and improving oral functionality and health.
Treatment by a prosthodontist results in an attractive, natural-looking smile that functions well. The final restoration fits the character of the patient’s face and is designed to last for many years.
General dentists can change the appearance of teeth using basic skills learned in Dental School and through continuing education courses. Many do not have knowledge of established aesthetic principles. They frequently limit cosmetic or restorative treatment to protocols they are comfortable with.
The treatment goals of a general dentist are centered around diagnosing and treating oral diseases. General dentists focus on treatment plans to maintain or restore the oral health of their patients. Some with training beyond dental school do perform cosmetic dentistry, though many refer their more complex cases to a prosthodontist or other dental specialist.
Treatment by a general dentist usually results in improved oral health. However, cosmetic improvements performed by a general dentist may look less natural and may not last very long.