What’s the difference between a prosthodontist and a cosmetic dentist? It’s understandable that there’s confusion surrounding this question when many people don’t know what a prosthodontist is, and only have a general idea of what a cosmetic dentist does. The truth is that while these two professions do overlap, they are distinct from one another in important ways.
A prosthodontist’s credentials and education are what differentiates their speciality from cosmetic dentistry. A general dentist can take a few specialty courses in cosmetic dentistry procedures and practice cosmetic dentistry. If a dentist is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, then that means that they have access to ongoing education and training for cosmetic techniques.
A prosthodontist, on the other hand, is a specialist recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA) who must complete 3-4 years of training in an ADA-recognized program following dental school. They are professionally recognized as an expert in restorative treatments, which include prosthodontics procedures also associated with cosmetic dentistry, such as implants, crowns, and veneers. The difference is that a prosthodontist is trained to handle the most complex cases.
A prosthodontist also differs from a cosmetic dentist in that they are often responsible for leading teams of dental specialists in a coordinated care effort. A prosthodontist may fill the role of being a lead dentist for conditions presenting various dental needs.
While some procedures overlap, others are almost exclusively performed by either a prosthodontist or cosmetic dentist. Below you’ll find a list of the 5 most common procedures frequently associated with these professions:
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, we hope that it allows you to get a general sense of the differences and similarities between prosthodontists and cosmetic dentists. In sum, prosthodontists are highly specialized cosmetic dentists with professional training in restorative dental procedures.
There are approximately 3,500 practice prosthodontists in the country, compared to 195,722 general dentists. That’s why it’s such a privilege for us to host Philadelphia’s only graduate prosthodontics program. Penn Dental Medicine is the teaching clinic of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, and as such we are able to offer low-cost prosthodontics care to patients seeking cosmetic and restorative treatments. Take advantage of our prosthodontists for your next procedure!
To make an appointment at Penn Dental Medicine, please call us at 215-898-8965.