Prosthodontics isn’t the easiest profession to pronounce, we’ll admit. And many people haven’t heard the term before but most can guess prosthodontists deal with teeth because it ends in ‘dontist’. However, awareness about the work of prosthodontists is growing.
A prosthodontist is a specialist dentist who deals with anything that needs replacing or fixing in your mouth. It may be a single tooth, multiple teeth, or problem gums.
The services provided by a prosthodontist include:
- Premature wear to teeth caused by grinding or clenching
- Malocclusion (problem with the bite)
- Affixing porcelain or ceramic veneers to teeth
- Dental Implants
- Dental rehabilitation following accidents
- Congenital defects that impact teeth and jaws
- Teeth whitening
What is the Difference Between a Prosthodontist and a Dentist?
While some of these services are also provided by general dentists, a prosthodontist has additional qualifications that make them experts in this field.
If a dentist decides they want to be a prosthodontist, they need to complete their dental university qualification then do at least two years of full-time work as a dentist. They can then apply to undertake a further three years of full-time study before being qualified to work as a prosthodontist.
Besides the extra years of study, prosthodontists have the benefit of additional experience because they spend all of their working day looking after broken and worn down teeth. A general dentist works on a wide variety of dental treatments.
When patients see a prosthodontist to have veneers or implants that screw into bone, it’s reassuring to know they have a specialist dentist looking after their teeth and gums. An error in treatment can cause long-term problems or permanent damage.
If you want to know if you’re seeing a general dentist or a prosthodontist, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) website has a search facility to check the qualifications of all dentists. Click on Find a Dentist and after entering a surname, you can see if the dentist is listed as general or a specialist such as a Prosthodontist by looking at the listing under their name.
When To See a Prosthodontist
Prosthodontists provide patients with implants to replace single or multiple lost teeth and partial or full dentures and veneers.
General dentists refer most of our patients to us. A dentist may recommend their patient for specialised dental care that a prosthodontist provides or a patient may ask their dentist for a referral for cosmetic treatment.
Prosthodontics is a growing industry. With an ageing population, more people are needing dentures and dental implants. Australians are more conscious of their appearance than ever and want to keep their teeth looking good and functioning well.
In the report Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives: Australia’s National Oral Health Plan 2015-2024 report, it’s estimated that one in four people living in Australia will be over the age of 65 in 2056 and around 1.8 million people will be over the age of 85. That’s a lot of people needing specialised dental care. With improved lifelong oral hygiene, more people are keeping their natural teeth and by 2021 it’s expected that only 3% of the population will have complete tooth loss.
Are the Services of a Prosthodontist Covered by Health Insurance?
Yes, some levels of extras health insurance cover provide benefits for prosthodontic services. We welcome you to call or ask in the clinic for item numbers. You can then find out from your health fund if they cover your treatment and how much you can claim on each item number.
Does Medicare Cover Prosthodontic Services?
Some dental services are provided under Medicare for Australians who receive certain Centrelink benefits. Eligibility and treatment options vary depending on the state or territory but prosthodontics isn’t generally covered by Medicare.
If you would like to see a prosthodontist, call to make an obligation-free appointment on 9321 16323 or contact us online.