What is a prosthodontist?
A prosthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the restoration and replacement of teeth. Prosthodontists receive two to three years of additional education after dental school in a program accredited by the American Dental Association based either at a hospital or a university.
A Board Certified Prosthodontist has successfully completed extensive examinations by the American Board of Prosthodontics, the only prosthodontic specialty board recognized by the American Dental Association. These examinations involve written and oral examinations in prosthodontic theory and literature, the presentation of different patient treatments, and patient clinical treatment under examination. As a Diplomate of the American Board of Prosthodontics, the prosthodontist must successfully complete a re-certification examination every eight years, and provide proof of continuing prosthodontic education on an annual basis.
Is a prosthodontist different from a “cosmetic dentist”?
The American Dental Association recognizes nine dental specialties, and the ADA does not include “cosmetic dentistry” as a specialty. Prosthodontists receive extensive training and experience in dental esthetics and cosmetics during their graduate programs.
Dental Implant FAQs
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is essentially an artificial tooth/root replacement. Dental implants provide a base or foundation to support the replacement of as few as one, or as many as all lost teeth with fixed or removable dental prostheses.
Dental implants were developed in Sweden and eventually introduced into North America in the early 1980s.
Dental implants are typically made of medical grade titanium, although other materials like ceramics, may be used.
Most people who have received dental implants say there is very little discomfort involved in the surgical procedure, and less pain than a tooth extraction. For single implants, normally only local anesthetic is used. For multiple implants and concurrent extractions, sedation may be used in addition to local anesthesia. This would be discussed with the oral surgeon during the planning for the procedure.
It normally takes 3-4 months for the bone to attach to the implant, a process called osseointegration. If biting forces are applied to the implant too soon, it could result in failure to osseointegrate and the implant would have to be removed.
I’ve heard there is a procedure when the teeth can be extracted, multiple implants placed, and a fixed bridge can be attached immediately. Wouldn’t the implants have not yet osseointegrated?
By using multiple implants (as few as four), a temporary fixed bridge can be attached to the newly placed implants so long as the implants have sufficiently good primary stability. The temporary bridge is designed to minimize unfavorable stresses being transferred to the implants during osseointegration.
Although dental implants can fail, they have a very high success rate when compared with other treatment options.
There are a number of factors to consider in making this decision. ( Prior to the introduction of implants the only real option was a fixed bridge.) The implant has the advantage of being a ‘stand-alone’ replacement, in that the neighboring teeth do not need to be prepared to support a fixed bridge. It is easier to care for with normal brushing and flossing. Most bridges fail over time…the average life expectancy being 10-15 years, but can last longer with proper care. Other factors to be considered are the quantity and quality of the supporting bone, the costs involved, the time required until implants have osseointegrated, the condition of the neighboring teeth, as well as medical conditions and personal habits (eg smoking) that may affect the success of implants. All these factors would be discussed to help you arrive at the decision that is right for you.