How to Become a Prosthodontist

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Prosthodontics is a specialty of dentistry that focuses on replacing teeth and other related mouth and jaw structures using artificial devices. Prosthodontists are specialists in prosthodontics that perform a variety of dental procedures to repair or replace teeth and associated structures.


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What does a prosthodontist do?

Prosthodontists are experts in prosthodontics and strive to restore and maintain oral functioning, appearance, and comfort using a variety of restorations and prostheses including dentures, crowns, bridges, veneers, and implants. They help restore natural teeth and replace missing teeth and structures. Prosthodontists also treat specific problems such as deformations, traumatic injuries, night grinding, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ), snoring and sleep disorders, and oral cancer. Prosthodontists diagnose conditions and provide patients with comprehensive treatment options. They often collaborate with general dentists and other health professionals to develop effective treatment plans for their patients.

What kind of training does a prosthodontist need?

Prosthodontists must complete an undergraduate degree and dental degree from an accredited dental school. All dental schools require applicants to pass the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) for admittance. Dental school provides intensive instruction and clinical experience and grants the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. After completion of dental school, prosthodontists must complete an additional three years of specialty training in prosthodontics. Prosthodontists typically become board certified from the American Board of Prosthodontics (ABP). Certification requirements include passing a series of examinations. All states require prosthodontists to become licensed to practice. Licensing requirements typically include graduation from an accredited dental school and passing a written and practical examination. Prosthodontists must complete regular continuing dental education to maintain their licenses and certifications, keep their skills up to date, and stay abreast on advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as a prosthodontist?

Employment of prosthodontists is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 28% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increased need for prosthodontic care will drive job growth.

Job prospects should be excellent especially for prosthodontists with extensive experience. Many job openings will stem from the need to replace prosthodontists that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do prosthodontists make?

As of February 2010, prosthodontists with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $90,000 and $197,739. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average annual salaries between $93,459 and $143,223 (2).

A career as a prosthodontist is an excellent choice for people with a strong interest in prosthodontics and treating a variety of patients. Prosthodontists must have a solid understanding of the concepts and procedures of prosthodontics and be familiar with a variety of oral conditions and their related treatment. Patience, manual dexterity, good hand-eye coordination, good judgment, and good diagnostic ability are essential characteristics. Prosthodontists must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to help patients feel at ease.

Joshua T Osborne

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