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What is Prosthodontics?

Posted on June 30th, 2016 by Andries Lodder


By Dr. Ashana Harryparsad, BDS (WITS), PDD (UWC), MChD (UP), Specialist Prosthodontist, Netcare Waterfall City Hospital.

A Prosthodontist is a qualified dentist who has completed an extra four years of full-time postgraduate training in the specialty of prosthodontics at an accredited university.

The specialty involves the restoration of:

  1. Broken down teeth (caused by decay, trauma, and “wear and tear” due to grinding or bruxism) and also malformed teeth.
  2. Replacement of missing teeth.
  3. Correction and management of occlusal/bite problems, as well as joint / TMJ and jaw muscle problems.
  4. Planning and restoration of dental implants by means of crowns, bridges and removable prostheses or dentures.

 When would you need the care of a Prosthodontist?

  1. You are missing one or more teeth.
  2. You are interested in dental implants.
  3. You wear dentures or removable partial dentures.
  4. You want to improve the aesthetics of your smile.

What options do Prosthodontists offer to restore your teeth?

  1. Contemporary fixed prostheses 
  2. Full coverage crowns/caps
  3. Partial coverage restorations/fillings      
  4. Fixed partial dentures (bridges) 
  5. Porcelain veneers
  6. Resin bonded bridges 
  7. Removable prostheses  
  8. Removable complete dentures     
  9. Removable partial dentures
  10. Tooth-based overdentures
  11. Implant-based prostheses  
  12. Implant-supported, fixed prostheses     
  13. Implant-retained overdentures
  14. Management of temporomandibular disorders
  15. Maxillofacial prosthetics 
  16. Assistance with treatment of sleep disorders

How is a Prosthodontist different from other dentists and dental specialists?

 The term “prostho” means replacement and “dontist” means dealing with teeth. Essentially, Prosthodontists are the recognised experts when anything needs to be replaced in your mouth. This can range from a single tooth, multiple teeth, or all teeth and gums in the mouth. While many other dentists can do some or all of these treatments, Prosthodontists are the specialists dedicated to this type of care.

Prosthodontists expertly restore and replace teeth. They have trained 4 additional years after completing dental school. Prosthodontists are also considered the ‘project managers’ of the dental treatment plan. They regularly lead teams of general dentists, specialists, and other health professionals to develop solutions for your dental needs.

What other ailments are Prosthodontists trained to treat?

 Prosthodontists also understand patients’ unique needs such as:

  1. Maxillofacial prosthetic procedures such as oral cancer reconstruction and continuing care
  2. Temporomandibular disorders (TMD), Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or other jaw joint problems
  3. Traumatic injuries
  4. Snoring and sleep disorders
  5. Cleft palate and other congenital conditions that affect the mouth.

Rigorous training and experience provide Prosthodontists with a special understanding of the dynamics of a smile and the preservation of a healthy mouth.

What does full mouth reconstruction mean?

In general, any dental treatment that affects all teeth in the mouth is called full mouth reconstruction or full mouth rehabilitation. Prosthodontists are the recognised experts in such treatments. The treatments can range from crowns, bridges, implants, and dentures that will essentially provide a “smile makeover” for the patient. You may want to seek the care of a Prosthodontist for your specific needs.

Examples of cases: 

  1. Full mouth rehabilitation of a patient that had severe xerostomia due to radiation treatment

            xerostomia before        xerostomia after

                    Before                                          After    

      2. Severe Bruxism

           bruxism before          bruxism after

                    Before                                         After

For more info please contact Dr. Ashana Harryparsad at 






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