Prosthodontist or General Dentist: Understanding the Difference

Choosing the right dental care provider is essential to getting the care, diagnosis, and treatment you need to keep your teeth healthy. In the same ways a medical doctor may specialize in family medicine, dermatology, or oncology, dentists can also specialize in certain areas of dentistry.

So what is the difference between a general dentist and a prosthodontist, and how do you choose the right provider to meet your needs? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about general dentists vs. prosthodontists, the care and treatment they provide, and which type of provider you should see for your specific dental concern.

What is a general dentist?

General dentists are trained to provide routine preventive care, diagnose conditions of the teeth and gums, and perform uncomplicated dental procedures.

All general dentists must complete a four-year post-graduate degree at an accredited dental school. Some general dentists also seek additional training and continuing education in order to provide specialized care within the scope of their services.

What services do general dentists provide?

General dentists provide a wide range of standard dental services, including preventive care and cosmetic procedures.

Here are some of the services general dentists typically offer:

  • Routine cleanings and exams
  • Oral cancer screenings
  • X-rays
  • Fillings
  • Teeth whitening treatments
  • Gum disease treatments
  • Single crowns and bridges
  • Extractions (removal of teeth)
  • Uncomplicated root canals 

What is a prosthodontist?

A prosthodontist is a dental specialist trained in the replacement, repair, and restoration of teeth. They meet with patients for consultations and examinations, develop specific restorative treatment plans, and then provide procedures and treatments to improve the health and appearance of patients’ smiles.

After dental school, prosthodontists must complete 3 additional years of education and training to master the skills necessary to provide specialized prosthodontic care. Some prosthodontists are also trained in the surgical phase of replacing missing teeth such as extractions and placement of implants.

What services do prosthodontists provide?

Prosthodontists provide individualized restorative dental procedures to patients. At Advanced Dentistry in Portland, our expert prosthodontists work with each patient to create a customized treatment plan to address their specific concerns and help them achieve their smile goals. You can view the prosthodontist as the architect of your treatment plan, generating the blueprint of your bite and smile, and ensuring each phase of your treatment is executed to the highest standard of care. 

Prosthodontists provide a wide range of reparative and restorative dental services, including but not limited to:

Choosing between a prosthodontist and a general dentist

When to see a general dentist

General dentists are typically the way to go for routine preventive care. You should visit your general dentist at least once every six months to get a professional cleaning and comprehensive exam in order to maintain the health of your teeth and gums. 

If you have an oral health problem such as a persistent toothache or bleeding gums, your general dentist can diagnose the problem and either refer you to a specialist for treatment or perform uncomplicated procedures themselves.

When to see a prosthodontist

You should reach out to an experienced prosthodontist if you’re in need of any type of restorative dentistry. They’re the right provider for patients who have damaged or missing teeth or want to completely transform the look of their smiles. 

A prosthodontist can examine your mouth and supporting facial structures and design a detailed treatment plan to restore the health and appearance of your smile. 

You can also see a prosthodontist to replace or fix your existing restorations. If you have a dental implant, crown, bridge, or other tooth restoration that requires repair or correction, a prosthodontist will be able to return your smile to its original, healthy condition.

The phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none” does not apply to a prosthodontist. They are the masters of the restorative aspect of treatment from how a tooth looks and feels in the mouth to how it functions for chewing and speech. At Advanced Dentistry, the surgical phase of treatment is outsourced to surgical specialists, with the goal of setting a solid foundation for a long-lasting restoration that looks natural, beautiful, and will function well.

Get the specialized restorative care you need with the expert prosthodontists at Advanced Dentistry!

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At Advanced Dentistry, our team of experienced prosthodontists is passionate about providing reliable, high-quality care to patients from all walks of life. Each smile is unique. That‘s why we take a highly individualized approach to every patient. 

With state-of-the-art technology and a team of highly trained and compassionate professionals, we’re here to help you achieve a beautiful and healthy smile for years to come.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation – no referral necessary!