If you need to have teeth replaced, or you need to restore the function and appearance of your mouth or face, you may be looking for a prosthodontist near you.
Prosthodontists are dentists whose services are specialized in the reconstruction and restoration of the oral cavity — they deal in dental implants, dentures, treatment for sleep apnea, restoration after oral cancer, and more.
In this article we'll talk about:
- Why you might need a prosthodontist
- The difference between a dentist and a prosthodontist
- Prosthodontics costs
- How to find a prosthodontist near you
Keep reading, or call 866-383-0748 right now if you want to be connected right away with a local prosthodontist to set up a consultation for treatment. When you dial, you'll be connected with a live operator who will promptly put you through to a tooth replacement and maxillofacial specialist in your area.
Table of contents
What is a prosthodontist?
A prosthodontist is a dentist specializing in the treatment of issues relating to the face, oral cavity, and teeth, working to restore the function and appearance of the mouth and face.
Are all dentists prosthodontists?
Nope! All prosthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are prosthodontists. A dentist, or a general dentist, is trained to deal with all of the routine types of dental care. Oftentimes they can also handle some minor restorative procedures.
This means a dentist handles exams, preventive care, and treatment like fillings, placing crowns, veneers, and root canals.
A general dentist can also have additional training for certain procedures, and they may be fully equipped to handle specific treatment needs. This can be very convenient for patients who are comfortable with their general dentist and don't want to have to go to a specialist for their care.
However, for more extensive prosthodontic procedures, your general dentist will likely refer you to a specialist.
A prosthodontist has focused training in the restoration and replacement of teeth, as well as restoring oral health, aesthetics, and function.
To provide these services, a prosthodontist goes through the same schooling as a general dentist, but then they also do up to three years of specialized training in a program accredited by the American Dental Association.
You may need to go to a prosthodontist instead of a general dentist if you need:
- Jaw surgery
- Dental implants and dentures
- Veneers, crowns, and bridges
Watch the video below to see two prosthodontics specialists explain why it's important to see a dentist who specializes in your treatment needs.
Reasons for needing a prosthodontist
If you need treatment that requires specialized training in oral function or reconstruction, then you may need to see a prosthodontist. These cases may include:
- Dentures and implants: Prosthodontists are specialized in creating the best replacement teeth to fit your mouth and jaw, as well as surgery and placement
- TMJ: Prosthodontists can help identify and treat jaw disorders like TMJ
- Oral injuries: If you've endured a traumatic injury to your face or jaw, a prosthodontist can help you regain function and appearance
- Oral cancer: After a cancerous growth in your mouth is removed, a prosthodontist can conduct reconstruction surgery for functional and aesthetic improvements
It's important that you address oral issues, even if it's something that you think you can ignore. Many people who are only missing one tooth in the back of their mouth assume that since it's not visible, it doesn't need to be replaced.
But even missing one tooth can have a huge effect on your jaw's health and function — in turn affecting your oral and overall health.
And if you are missing teeth, you shouldn't feel embarrassed, but you should seek treatment — and you're certainly not alone; 120 million Americans have at least one missing tooth.
Treatments offered by a prosthodontist
There are a wide variety of treatments covered in the field of prosthodontics. Let's have a look at them now.
Dental bridges and crowns
A dental bridge is a prosthesis that can replace a missing tooth between two existing teeth. Fixed bridges are the most common type — these consist of crowns or caps on either side of one or two artificial teeth.
The crowns fit over the adjacent teeth, and the false tooth sits in the middle. You can read more about dental bridges in our guide here.
This is another way to replace missing teeth, and arguably, the best way. Dental implants consist of various parts, but perhaps most notably the crown and the actual implant.
The crown is the part of the false tooth that you can see and looks just like a natural tooth, and the implant is a screw that is placed in your jawbone and simulates a natural tooth root.
Implants are also the most expensive way to replace teeth, which is why not everyone gets them.
Read more about dental implants in our article here.
Dentures aren't generally considered to be as good of a replacement for missing teeth as implants are, but they are more affordable. And that's not to say that a quality set of dentures isn't worth it — dentures can be life-changing, especially if you've been living with missing teeth for a while.
Dentures are typically false teeth attached to an acrylic or metal plate. You can get full dentures or partial dentures, depending on your needs. Find out more in our guide to dentures.
If you need all of your teeth replaced or rebuilt, or parts of your mouth restored due to trauma or oral cancer, then you'll likely need the services of a prosthodontist. Your reconstruction may include implants, crowns, veneers, surgery, and even orthodontics.
Prosthodontists are also specialized in treating temporomandibular joint disorders. Treatment options generally include splints and orthotic devices, physical therapy, or pharmaceuticals.
You might go to a prosthodontist if you need treatment for sleep apnea as well. Treatment is often with a CPAP machine, wherein the patient wears a mask over the nose and mouth during the night to help oxygen go to the lungs.
If you have milder sleep apnea, an oral device that helps the tongue sit forward or that repositions your lower jaw can help with airflow as well.
If you've had traumatic injuries to your face, or undergone treatment for oral cancer, you may need maxillofacial prosthodontics. This treatment is done to help with the rehabilitation or restoration of damaged facial structures and to improve oral function that has been affected by maxillofacial defects.
This treatment will both improve the cosmetic appearance of your mouth and smile, and will also give you proper oral function.
How much does a prosthodontist near me cost?
The cost for the services of a prosthodontist will vary depending on the treatment you need and where you go, but you can have a look at the table below to get an idea of the different costs.
$50 - $150 (amalgam)
$250 - $1,200 (composite)
Improve appearance of teeth
$1,000 - 6,000 per tooth
Replace missing teeth
$3,000 - $8,000 (full mouth)
Replace missing teeth
$500 - $1,500
Replace missing teeth
$500 - $1,500
Cap damaged teeth
Prosthodontists near me that accept Medicaid
Depending on the state you live in, medically necessary prosthodontic care may be covered by Medicaid. You should call the number on the back of your Medicaid card to find out if the treatment you need is covered.
When you signed up for Medicaid, you should have received a booklet with all of the dentists in your area who accept Medicaid, but this information can also be found online.
Find a prosthodontist near you
Now you know that prosthodontists are dentists who are specialized in the restoration of the mouth and teeth. They offer services such as dental implants, dentures, crowns, oral reconstruction, and maxillofacial prosthodontics.
Prosthodontists go through special training to be able to offer quality and customized services for their patients, and if you do need treatment from a prosthodontist, your general dentist will likely make a referral.
If you are in need of other specific dental services, you can also have a look at our pages on finding a periodontist or an oral surgeon near you. You can also find out how much prosthodontists make in our separate guide here, or if you'd like to take a look at the advances in dental stem cell research and how that will affect a prosthodontist's work in the future, read our article here.
What is the difference between a dentist and a prosthodontist?
A prosthodontist is a dentist who is specialized in the replacement of missing teeth and the reconstruction of the oral cavity to restore its appearance and function.
Prosthodontists go through normal dental school, and then they specialize for up to three years in their field.
Is prosthodontics worth the money?
If you need specialized dental treatment, then it's likely that prosthodontics are worth the money. However, your general dentist may be able to handle more basic treatments.
They should let you know if they can handle your treatment, or if they need to refer you to a specialist.
Is prosthodontics the same as dentures?
Dentures are a treatment to replace missing teeth that can fall into the field of prosthodontics, but prosthodontics includes a wide variety of treatments that go beyond dentures. These treatments include implants, sleep apnea treatment, TMJ treatment, and facial reconstruction.
What does a prosthodontist treat?
A prosthodontist treats problems that have to do with restoring the function and look of the mouth and face. This may mean replacing missing teeth or providing reconstructive surgery.
American College of Prosthodontics: Facts & Figures. Consulted 7th September 2022.