Prosthodontist vs Dentist - Who to Trust When Getting Implants

October 20, 2021

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When you need dental implants to replace missing teeth, one of the first decisions you face is whether to have a prosthodontist or your regular dentist perform their work. Patients commonly schedule the appointments they need with their regular dentist for the convenience factor without realizing that a prosthodontist has far more education and experience with implant surgery.

What is a Prosthodontist?

Web M.D. describes prosthodontists as dental professionals specializing in the treatment of complex dental disorders. They perform multiple procedures to restore and replace natural teeth lost to an accident or disease. Examples of these procedures include bridges, crowns, and dental implants. Prosthodontists treat a wide range of jaw disorders in addition to replacing missing teeth. Specifically, they work with people who have disorders of the neck or head to replace parts of the jaw or face.

Prosthodontists must go through a long process to earn their specialty designation in dentistry. On average, they complete an additional three years of training compared to a general dentist. Here is the step-by-step process required to become a prosthodontist:

  • Earn a four-year undergraduate degree in a healthcare or science-related field.
  • Graduate from dental school, which takes another two to four years.
  • Pass an exam given by the National Board Dental Examinations to earn the credential of Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS).
  • Complete a three-year education and residency program at a facility approved by the American Board of Prosthodontists.
  • Pass an exam given by the American Board of Prosthodontists.

General dentists do not complete the fourth and fifth steps from this list. Although they receive some training on implant dentistry in dental school, the training is general in nature. Prosthodontists study implant dentistry for an additional three years and perform countless procedures under supervision during their residencies. Another thing to consider is that only one percent of all general dentists have earned the specialty designation of prosthodontist.

What is the Process of Receiving Dental Implants?

Dental implants contain a small titanium post and an artificial tooth that attaches to it. For the first part of the procedure, your prosthodontist installs the titanium post into your jawbone to act as a new artificial root system. After giving your jawbone adequate time to heal, you return to have the artificial tooth attached to the titanium post known as an abutment. Dental implants look and function just as natural teeth. They are a permanent, non-removable solution to tooth loss.

People can receive a single dental implant for one missing tooth or replace all natural teeth with dental implants. The name of the latter procedure is All-on-4, which refers to your prosthodontist installing just four abutments on each jawbone and anchoring the artificial teeth to them. All-on-4 is an extremely advanced procedure that the typical general dentist would have a difficult time performing.

Dr. Amit Kamat is an experienced prosthodontist at Innovative Dental & Orthodontics. After receiving his dental degree, he completed an additional one year of training in general dentistry and three years of training in prosthodontics. His prosthodontic training and residencies took place at the George Washington University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, both in Washington, D.C.

If you need teeth replaced, ask your dentist for a referral or request further information by completing the form on the Dental Implant Procedure. You can also contact Innovative Dental & Orthodontics directly by calling our office here.

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