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The Difference Between a Dentist and a Prosthodontist: Which Should You See?

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If you’re confused about the differences between dentists and prosthodontists, you’re not alone. While both are oral health professionals, they have different expertise, skills, and training. This guide, by Novudentics Prosthodontics, examines how dentists and prosthodontists differ to help you make the best choice for your oral health needs. With this article’s insights on the differences between these two oral health professionals, you can make an informed choice to meet your oral care needs.

What is a Prosthodontist?

A prosthodontist is a specialized dentist who has completed an additional 3 years of advanced training after dental school to earn a specialty certification in prosthodontics. This specialized expertise in dental care allows them to focus on more complex restorative and reconstructive procedures. This is, perhaps, the main reason people seek the help of a prosthodontist.

Prosthodontists replace missing or damaged teeth, jaws and oral structures using procedures like dental implants, crowns, veneers, dentures, and maxillofacial prosthetics. They often reconstruct and rehabilitate more extensive oral health issues.

Dentists perform general oral health procedures like cleanings, fillings, extractions, crowns, bridges, and basic denture services. They can provide routine preventative care and treatment for common oral health issues like cavities, gum disease, cracked or chipped teeth.

When Should I Visit a Prosthodontist?

Consider visiting a prosthodontist for:

  • Dental implants
  • Full mouth reconstruction
  • Complex dentures or bridges
  • Rehabilitating injury/disease tooth loss
  • Fixing poorly fitted dentures
  • TMJ disorder treatment

If you want to read more about some of the different services that a prosthodontist offers, check out our article on when to visit a prosthodontist.

What is a Dentist?

A dentist is a doctor specializing in oral health who has earned a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree, typically completing at least 4 years of dental school and passing rigorous national and state licensing exams.

When Should I Visit a Dentist?

You should visit a dentist for:

  • Routine cleanings and checkups
  • Cavity fillings
  • Basic tooth extractions
  • Crowns for damaged but intact teeth
  • Simple dentures and bridges

Key Differences Between Dentists and Prosthodontists

For those who don’t know, there are quite a few differences between a dentist and a prosthodontist. Here are some of the more common areas that separate these two dental professions:

Training and Education

  • Dentists complete 4 year dental school after college. Prosthodontists complete dental school, then an additional 3 year residency.
  • Prosthodontists receive more advanced technical training in oral reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Skill and Expertise in Oral Care

  • Dentists have general knowledge on a wide range of oral health issues and routine procedures.
  • Prosthodontists have specialized skills and expertise focused on complex restorative and reconstructive treatments.
  • Prosthodontists receive less training on cleanings, fillings, and more routine dental work. Their specialty is oral rehabilitation.

Treatments, Services, and Procedures

  • Dentists primarily do cleanings, fillings, crowns, extractions, and basic denture work.
  • Prosthodontists focus on implants, bridges, veneers, complex dentures, and restoring damaged or missing teeth/jaws.
  • Prosthodontists perform more specialized, technically difficult oral rehabilitations.

Cost and Insurance Coverage

  • Visits to a general dentist are typically covered by standard dental insurance at normal co-pay rates.
  • Prosthodontists may be classified specialist visits, with different insurance coverage and higher out-of-pocket costs.
  • Prosthodontic procedures often cost more due to their complexity and specialized nature.

Visit Novudentics For the Right Oral Healthcare

For most routine dental care, a dentist will meet your needs. If you have sophisticated restorative needs, complex dental health history, or advanced oral disease or tooth loss, a prosthodontist’s specialized expertise can help reconstruct and rehabilitate your smile. Discuss your specific needs with us at Novudentics to determine if our prosthodontist services are right for you.

Who Wrote This?


Dr. Kallithrakas (Dr. K) is the lead prosthodontist for Novudentics in Palm Beach, Florida. He obtained a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and conducted a one year fellowship in Implant Dentistry sponsored by Biomet 3i at NOVA Southeastern University. Dr. K also has a Master in Science in which his thesis The difference in microgap between zirconia and titanium abutments; a pilot study was published.

Dr. K and his team at Novudentics have extensive training in all areas of prosthodontics, and serve patients across the United States from his Palm Beach office location. He believes that changing someone’s smile can help make a difference in many aspects of someone’s life.

Connect with Dr. Kallithrakas on Linkedin.

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