A prosthodontist is someone who is a professional in the area of dental prosthetics, which is defined as the dental specialty pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes. Now that is a mouthful. So let me break this down for you. They are dentists who work with things such as dentures, implants, crowns and bridges.
I have heard a prosthodontist compared to a doctor who works on prosthetic limbs, such as replacement arms or legs. However a prosthodontist is working on a portion of your body that more people pay attention to, your mouth. Because of this you want to be sure that you can trust whoever will be playing around in your mouth with sharp objects. Unfortunately there are few ways to really check in on dentists or specialists without testing them out first. One resource you may want to try is a website called doctor-oogle.com; they are a site designated for rating dentists.
Obviously prosthodontists must be extremely educated and experienced. After completing dental school, where a general dentist would stop, a prosthodontist would continue on with an additional three years of specialist school. With this education, they are capable of procedures including crowns, caps, bridges, veneers, removable partial dentures, dentures and dental implants. They can work on anything that regards restoration and the replacement of your teeth. There is even a smaller group of prosthodontists who choose to continue studying for another year, they are called Maxillofacial Prosthodontists. After completing their additional training from an accredited university by the American Dental Association they are able to treat issues dealing with wisdom teeth, oral cancer, snoring or sleep apnea, and the temporo-mandibular joint. They typically perform facial cosmetic surgery and corrective jaw surgery.
If you have ever wondered why going to a specialist costs so much more than going to a general dentist, now you know that when at a specialist, you are paying for extreme quality and expertise and someone who has at least three years more education than a general dentist. This does not mean that general dentists are not capable of doing some of these procedures. Many general dentists can do some things such as dentures, and even implants. They usually learn these skills by going to weekend seminars or week long conferences put on by different dental colleges; but don’t let them fool you into thinking that they are specialists; they may actually not be qualified. However, sometimes it is just worth going to the general dentist when it could save you $2000. General dentists also work with many more dental plans than specialists which can usually get you about 50% off their already lower price.
Specialists very rarely work with dental plans and if they do it is only to the tune of up to about 20 percent discounts off their normally outrageous price. The choice is yours.