A prosthodontist is a dental specialist who specializes in restorative dentistry. A prosthodontist is a qualified dentist who has spent an additional four years in a formal post graduate full time prosthodontic program at a university dental faculty in order to obtain a masters degree in prosthodontics.
Prosthodontics is one of six dental specialities recognized by the Health Professional Council of South Africa (HPCSA). Prosthodontists treat ailing, failing and cosmetically compromised dentitions to provide the highest level of functional and esthetic reconstructive dentistry. Reconstructive prosthodontic treatment includes crowning /veneering of teeth as well as replacing teeth with bridges and implant supported crowns and bridges and dentures.
A prosthodontist is extensively trained in diagnosis and comprehensive treatment planning as well as reconstruction in the field of complex dental problems. Although a prosthodontist can function alone in less complex cases, a prosthodontist usually networks in a multi-disciplinary team of dental specialists (periodontists, orthodontists and maxillo-facial and oral surgeons), highly skilled dental technicians and oral hygienists to obtain the ideal treatment outcome and maintenance.
A prosthodontist diagnoses the dental problem by means of a thorough clinical examination, radiographs, scans (if indicated) and photographs in order to draw up possible treatment plans which will then be discussed with the patient. A prosthodontist is trained to visualize the precise final outcome of treatment and can thus be seen as the ‘architect’ in the team of specialists during the diagnostic phase of treatment. The prosthodontist will then oversee the whole treatment and include the other specialist team members as indicated.