Reviewed by: Dr Nick Fahey
What is prosthodontics?
Prosthodontics is concerned with the replacement of missing teeth and surrounding soft and hard tissues with fixed or removable prostheses such as crowns, bridges or dentures.
What is a specialist in Prosthodontics?
Specialists may either work in the hospital setting, community dental service (CDS), or in private specialist practices. They may also have a role in postgraduate training and education.
What treatment can a specialist in Prosthodontics carry out?
Specialists in Prosthodontics replace missing teeth with either fixed or removable prostheses after taking into account the patients’ concerns, functional and aesthetic requirements, as well as many other factors such as age, understanding, and social factors.
Crowns, commonly known as caps, partially or fully cover the tooth surface with either a precious metal such as gold or tooth coloured materials such as porcelain. They are needed when a tooth is very badly broken down as a result of decay, trauma, or excessive wear (e.g. from erosion or grinding). They protect the tooth from forces of the opposing teeth and restore function and appearance. Crowns can also be used change the appearance of teeth, e.g. change their colour in badly discoloured teeth that do not respond to bleaching, to change the shape or size, or even inclination. Crowns may also be needed as part of another restoration such as to support a bridge or partial denture.
Bridges are used to replace one or more teeth by permanently attaching to one or more of the patient’s natural teeth. They are fixed prostheses and cannot be removed by the patient.
Dentures may replace several teeth (partial denture) or all the teeth (full or complete denture). They can be removed by the patient.
What additional training and qualifications does a Specialist in Prosthodontics need?
To apply for speciality training, registered dentists must have at least 2 years of postgraduate general professional training (GPT), and have also successfully obtained a diploma of Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery (MFDS) or equivalent from the Royal College of Surgeons.
Speciality training involves three years of postgraduate training to prepare for the Master of Clinical Dentistry (MClinDent) in Prosthodontics examination. Trainees must also sit the Diploma of Membership in Restorative Dentistry (MRD) examination set by the Royal College of Surgeons. This examination covers all aspects of general restorative dentistry, and will also test their knowledge in prosthodontics. On successful completion of these examinations, trainees will be awarded the Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST), which allows them to apply to be included on the prosthodontics speciality list.