A prosthodontist is a type of dentist who has put in extra effort to earn a specialization in dentistry. There are very few specializations in dentistry and prosthodontics is one of the most elite among them. In order to become a prosthodontist, a dentist must complete dental school along with an additional three years of formal education. During the additional three years the dentist gets advanced specialty training in creating optimal oral health, both in function and appearance with procedures such as dental implants, dentures, veneers, crowns, and teeth whitening. If you are scheduled to have your first visit with a prosthodontist you can expect a thorough examination, the opportunity to discuss your current issues as well as your hopes for your future smile, and finally an explanation of the next steps you should take.
A thorough examination
There are a number of steps involved in the majority of the procedures that prosthodontists perform. For example, placing dental implants first requires the prosthodontist to assess the current condition of your gums and jawbone. Then she will determine the best size and shape of the implant and then design one to those specifications. After those steps are complete the prosthodontist will place the implant. At your first visit with a prosthodontist you will get a thorough examination to assess which type of procedure will best meet your current and future needs.
An opportunity to discuss your current issues
During your appointment, and as a part of your initial examination, your prosthodontist will listen to your concerns about your current dental issues. You will have the opportunity to discuss what is bothering you about your teeth. Your prosthodontist will also want to hear about your dental history and anything that has impacted the current condition of your teeth.
An explanation of the next steps you should take
Once the examination and discussion are complete you and the prosthodontist will talk about next steps. If you need a complex procedure like dentures or dental implants, there will be a number of appointments and steps in the process. Your prosthodontist will explain the next step and give you an overview about what to expect from the process as a whole.
Your first visit with a prosthodontist will be different than your routine dental appointments. The purpose of seeing a prosthodontist is to deal with some issue that is bothering you about the look or function of your teeth. Your prosthodontist is trained to help with a wide range of dental issues and will likely be able to provide a solution for the problems you are facing. Be open with your prosthodontist during your initial appointment to ensure that all of your concerns are heard and considered as a treatment plan is developed.
Julie C Berger, DDS, MA, FACP is a local Gettysburg dentist and a board certified prosthodontist specialist. She is a former full time instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.