WHAT IS PROSTHODONTICS?
According to the American Dental Association, specialties are recognized in areas where advanced knowledge and skill are essential to maintain or restore oral health (Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional conduct). Hence, not all areas of dentistry will meet the requirements for specialty recognition and designation.
Prosthodontics, prosthetic dentistry, and dental prosthetics are terms that relate to the field of dentistry that specializes in the restoration of the oral cavity. The American Dental Association (ADA) defines prosthodontics as “the dental specialty pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes.”
The American College of Prosthodontics (ACP) is an organization whose purpose is to ensure that the highest standards in the field of prosthodontics are maintained. The ACP identifies a prosthodontist as a dentist who specializes in the aesthetic (cosmetic) restoration and replacement of teeth. This specialization is acquired by extensive training in a three or four year ADA accredited post-doctoral program in Prosthodontics.
“Cosmetic Dentistry” is a popular term, but it is not a specialty recognized by the American Dental Association. Prosthodontics is the only specialty recognized as having the professional qualifications to address complex cosmetic and full mouth rehabilitation. In fact, there are only 3,200 prosthodontists in comparison to 170,000 general dentists in the United States.