Check us out on YouTube as we talk teeth #watchyourmouthSpanish
Check us out on YouTube as we talk teeth #watchyourmouthSpanish

Prosthodontist vs. Dentist: Understanding the Differences in Dental Specializations

Prosthodontist finishing dentures for a patient

You might be surprised at just how many different specializations exist within dentistry. While you don’t necessarily need to know all the ins and outs of what each specialist does, it can be helpful to understand them when seeking the appropriate oral health care in Atlanta.

Take a closer look at what exactly distinguishes prosthodontists from general dentists, from what type of procedures each specializes in what training each undergoes.

The Job of a General Dentist

General dentistry covers many oral health treatments but doesn’t delve as deeply into specific treatments as specialists do. A general dentist’s job is to provide routine care like regular examinations, teeth cleaning, and smaller-scale procedures like fillings and dental bonding.

Should you require a more extensive or complicated procedure, odds are that your general dentist will recommend you to a specialist with years of extra training in their area of focus.

This training provides them with the skill and knowledge to take on complex cases and perform in-depth procedures.

What Is a Prosthodontist?

When you consider the term “prosthodontist,” you might notice that it offers a clue about what this dental specialization focuses on. “Prostho“ is drawn from the word “prosthetic,” which designates that these doctors specialize in providing their patients with replacement teeth and dental restorations.

Some general dentists have extra training that allows them to provide certain restorative or even tooth replacement procedures, but a prosthodontist has more extensive training and knowledge of the various treatments for damaged, severely decayed, or missing teeth.

A prosthodontist is also familiar with the complex processes involved in replacing teeth during oral reconstruction.

The Training of a Prosthodontist

To become a prosthodontist, dental students must undergo additional training beyond their initial dental program. Prosthodontics postgraduate programs are three years long and involve not only more schooling but also more hands-on work in their field.

Procedures Prosthodontists Offer

The postgraduate training and field work required to become a prosthodontist involves learning various tooth replacement and restoration procedures. Your general dentist will likely point you to a trusted prosthodontist if you need any of the following procedures:

Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are procedures capable of restoring large sections of a damaged or decayed tooth without needing a crown or total replacement. Inlays restore the flat bite surface of the tooth, while onlays restore the cusps on the outside of the tooth.


A crown is a restorative procedure that is used when significant damage or decay has occurred to the tooth, but the root remains healthy and intact. The crown procedure involves the placing of a prosthetic cap that looks and feels like a natural tooth onto the remaining healthy tooth.


Veneers are a cosmetic dental procedure that can improve the appearance of your front-facing teeth. Placing veneers involves fixing thin porcelain shells to the teeth to give them a healthy, even appearance.

Dental Implants

A dental implant is a small screw that can be fused to the jawbone through a process called osseointegration. This process provides unmatched support for a prosthetic tooth that can be fixed to the screw. Dental implants can also be used to support dental bridges and dentures.

Dental Bridges

A dental bridge is a tooth replacement procedure that can provide multiple replacement teeth at once. The bridge consists of one or more prosthetic teeth capped on either end by dental crowns. The crowns are fixed onto the natural teeth on either side of the gap to provide support for the prosthetic teeth.


Dentures are a tooth replacement procedure that can replace an entire row of teeth at once. The denture is a prosthetic device designed to look like natural teeth that can be held in place with an adhesive or fixed in place with the help of dental implants.

Full Mouth Reconstructions

When severe damage or decay has affected a number of your teeth, full mouth reconstruction can be required. Prosthodontists can employ several tooth restoration procedures during this process to restore a patient’s smile.

Prosthodontic Procedures at Dental Implant & Aesthetic Specialists

When you need a tooth replacement or restoration procedure in Atlanta, look no further than Dr. Brett Langston and his experienced team. We specialize in prosthodontics and implants, so we can evaluate your unique smile and create a personalized plan to fit your needs and goals. Contact us to schedule your appointment today!