Prosthodontics is one of the nine specialties of dentistry that the American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes. A prosthodontist is a dentist who specializes in restoring or replacing teeth. They perform procedures that involve using dental implants, veneers, bridges and dentures.
What Kind of Education Does a Prosthodontist Need?
Like all other dentists, these specialists start by going to dental school and getting a degree in dentistry. The aspiring prosthodontist will then undertake a graduate program recognized by the ADA for the next two or three years. The program will be held at a hospital or university, and it will cover such topics as implant dentistry, congenital defects of teeth, oral cancer reconstruction and jaw problems.
The candidate must then take and pass an exam administered by the American Board of Prosthodontists to get their certification. They have to get their certification renewed every eight years. The Board keeps a list of certified prosthodontists on their website.
What is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Although it is not a recognized dental specialty, cosmetic dentistry describes dental procedures that are aimed more at improving the looks of a patient’s teeth, rather than their function. The two goals, however, are not mutually exclusive. Applying a crown to a tooth can both strengthen it and make it look better. People who work in cosmetic dentistry often provide crowns or veneers, so many of their services overlap with those of a prosthodontist. In fact, prosthodontists can handle most cosmetic dental problems.
How Would a Prosthodontist Treat Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition in which the patient temporarily stops breathing while asleep. The standard and best treatment for the condition is to hook the patient up to a CPAP (continuous positive airflow pressure) machine to keep them breathing. If the patient can’t tolerate the CPAP machine, or if they only have a mild case of sleep apnea, they could use an oral appliance that would keep the airway open by repositioning the tongue and/or lower jaw.
What is TMJ?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. The affected joint is a hinge that connects the lower jaw to the skull. Problems with the joint can cause pain, difficulties opening wide and trouble chewing. There are many ways to treat TMJ. Our prosthodontist can provide a bite guard that is custom-made and can be worn on the upper or lower teeth. It keeps the joint in a proper position.
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