Get the Truth about Prosthodontics and Dental Credentials

Every year, more and more people choose prosthodontics for their restorative dentistry. However, there is still some confusion about what prosthodontists actually do. It’s time to put the myths to rest, so you can make an informed decision about whether prosthodontics is right for you.

Myth #1:
Dentists and prosthodontists are interchangeable, because they do the same work.

General dentists earn a four-year dental degree at an accredited institution and then immediately begin accepting patients. Prosthodontists are specialists recognized by the American Dental Association who have trained for at least two more years beyond dental school to become the architects of dental reconstruction.

Myth #2:
Dentists can do crowns, implants, veneers and false teeth just like prosthodontists.

Yes, general dentists are licensed to do all of the above procedures. However, in four years of dental school the requirements are minimal. Most dental school requirements simply scratch the surface of crowns, bridges and denture procedures. Most dental students do not complete a single dental implant case. That means that most general dentists have not done one implant case when they open their doors.

On the other hand, prosthodontists have completed a multitude of complex dental treatments before they receive their certificate, much more than several years of practice in an average general dental office would provide. A prosthodontist focuses specifically on these complex treatments for the entire 2-4 years of training beyond dental school.

Myth #3:
Technology has taken the skill out of being a dentist, making some procedures like implants and crowns routine. Therefore, it’s wise to shop dental treatments by price.

Hand skills are a critical and often overlooked component of superior dentistry. Implants, starting with extractions and placements, are surgical procedures requiring years of training and experience. Crowns start with the prosthodontist’s vision of the final product – part science, part art.

Myth #4:
The best dentists are the fastest dentists, because they really know what they’re doing.

Prosthodontists strive for perfection. This can mean laboring for hours on a single tooth while working at precise tolerances measured in microns, about the diameter of a human hair. The specialist is concerned about a crown’s color, shape, balance and translucence. Natural teeth are not perfect, they are translucent at the tips, and they are not bright white, a color favored by some entertainers but not found in nature.

Myth #5:
The only people who can afford prosthodontists are top wage earners, CEOs, entertainers and news anchors.

Due to market pressure and competition, most prosthodontic fees are only slightly higher than general dentists. When considering the added education and usually a higher quality laboratory, most prosthodontic patients agree that the fees are a bargain in the long run.

Myth #6
Dental implant treatments are wildly expensive.

Single tooth implant restorations range from $1,000 to $7,500 or more. Prices reflect complexity and choice of materials. Deficient bone volume also increases the price of dental implant treatment. While prosthodontists are natural perfectionists wanting to deliver only the finest possible results, they are also sensitive to financial realities and will work with you to discover a dental solution that meets your needs. Many prosthodontists today offer financing plans.