Prosthodontists repair and replace chipped, damaged, or missing teeth with biocompatible prosthetic substitutes. Penn Dental Medicine’s new prosthodontics program is the only one of its kind in the Philadelphia area!
What is a prosthodontist?

A prosthodontist is a specialty dentist who has completed dental school and three additional years of training in an Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) – accredited program. Prosthodontists specialize in comprehensive dental care by treating problems involving missing, damaged, decayed or fractured teeth and dental bone structure. Prosthodontists use dental services such as dental prosthetics, crowns and bridges, dental implants, dentures or hybrids to treat their patients.

Who needs a prosthodontist?

Some conditions require specialized care, beyond that of a general doctor or dentist. You would not go to your general practitioner for cancer treatment; you would instead seek out an oncologist for specialized care. In the dentistry world, a prosthodontist provides similarly specialized care for conditions that would not be treated by a general dentist.

These cases may include…

  • Patients who have had a lot of dental work by different general dentists over the years and yet their bite or smile never felt right
  • Patients that have lost their confidence and social life due to tooth loss
  • Patients that cannot chew well due to missing teeth

Prosthodontists are able to assist patients with a variety of complex dental conditions related to missing or damaged teeth, including chipped or cracked teeth, collapsed bite, missing teeth, and teeth with disease or decay. Moreover, prosthodontists have a deep knowledge of oral bone structure and use advanced dental technology to provide specialized treatment that general dentists or any other dental specialty cannot, such as maxillofacial reconstruction.

What should I expect during my first visit at the prosthodontic clinic?

During your first visit, you’ll meet a faculty member who will ask you a few questions about your medical history and perform a brief physical examination. Routine oral cancer screening will be performed by faculty member at this time, and depending on your needs, your dentist may also take radiographs. The purpose of this visit is to determine if you’re eligible to become a patient. If you are, we’ll assign you a postdoctoral dental resident to set up a faculty-directed appointment to assess your prosthodontic needs. This screening is FREE, so you won’t need to worry about paying on your first visit.

What kinds of services are offered?

The new Penn Dental Medicine prosthodontics program can provide a wide range of prosthodontic services to our patients, including the following:

  • Crowns and bridges: A simple porcelain prosthesis can fit over existing teeth to make them look and work like new, while simultaneously supporting the surrounding teeth.
  • Dental implants: For missing teeth, a prosthodontist might choose to place an implant directly in the jaw that has a crown or denture attached, accurately simulating natural teeth.
  • Dentures: When patients have many missing teeth, a prosthodontist might use complete, partial or hybrid dentures to provide natural and aesthetic teeth.
  • Maxillofacial prosthetics: In some cases, a prosthodontist works with surgeons to correct the shape or position of the underlying mouth structure (for example, repairing the jaw after oral cancer or trauma) and restore them close to its natural appearance.
Who performs these services?

At Penn Dental Medicine, prosthodontic procedures are performed by postdoctoral residents or predoctoral students. These student doctors work under the direct supervision of faculty specialists. In the initial stages of prosthodontic treatment, your care may be provided by predoctoral students under close supervision by instructors. Specialized prosthodontic care and advanced procedures are provided by our postdoctoral residents, who are qualified dentists undergoing an additional three-year training.

How does advanced digital technology improve my treatment?

Penn Dental Medicine has state-of-the-art technology at its disposal for patients in the new prosthodontic program that is available nowhere else. This includes the use of precise microscopes that allow us to create crowns and other prostheses that are a custom fit down to the microscopic level, ensuring that they fit better, last longer, and are more comfortable. The quality of treatment is further enhanced due to digital technologies, like our advanced scanners and imaging software. CAD/CAM technologies are used for the fabrication of highly precise and aesthetic restorations.

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