Prosthodontics is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. The scope of the specialty is broad and includes dental implants, esthetic, cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry, temporomandibular disorders (TMD or TMJ), occlusion (bite), and comprehensive multi-specialty planning. Prosthodontic treatment is often comprehensive in nature, taking into consideration the condition of the entire mouth rather than focusing on one or several teeth. However, limited care that includes only one tooth or one area of the mouth also falls within the specialty. Prosthodontic treatment usually involves replacement of missing teeth or repair of decayed or broken teeth. The patient’s general dentist or other specialists are often involved in the treatment. Treatment modalities employed range from simple, single tooth procedures to full mouth rehabilitation replacing or repairing every tooth, often requiring:
After dental school, prosthodontists complete an additional three year residency at a university or hospital, which provides intensive training in complex oral rehabilitation. As such, they are prepared to manage patients with the most complicated oral health problems. Only about 2% of all dentists in the United States are prosthodontists. Some practice in a manner similar to general dentists, employing dental hygienists and serving as the patient's primary dental provider. Others, like Dr. Oettinger and Dr. Sulik, limit their practice to prosthodontics and work with their patients to accomplish specific treatment, usually by referral from the patient's general dentist.
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