In order to call attention to critical dental health issues and the services available to treat them, the American College of Prosthodontists is sponsoring its second National Prosthodontics Awareness Week from April 3–9, 2011. Select local experts will be offering information and exclusive services to the public.
The far reaching health effects of missing or decaying teeth and poor dental health lead to many Americans suffering needlessly from premature aging, poor diet, altered speech and expression and loss of function.
“For the estimated 178 million Americans with missing teeth and poor dental health,” said Dr. Raj Desai, an experienced Howard County prosthodontist and former professor of Restorative Dentistry at the University of Maryland Dental School. “This preventable, but too-often ignored, decline leads to a daily reality of poor self-esteem, social embarrassment and poor quality of life.”
According to Desai, Many factors contribute to the loss of teeth, including poor oral hygiene and maintenance, underlying diseases such as diabetes, injuries or excessive wear as a result of grinding.
“What is a Prosthodontist?”
Prosthodontics, an advanced specialty of dentistry recognized by the American Dental Association, specifically caters to the complex functional and cosmetic needs of patients. After completion of dental school and acquiring a DDS degree, those seeking advanced training compete for a three-year program in Prosthodontics to acquire the skills necessary to facilitate comprehensive oral reconstruction.
Through this specialized training, they have a higher level of understanding of the dynamics of a smile, the preservation of a healthy mouth and the creation of tooth replacements.
There are only 3,000 such specialists in the U.S., who practice the latest techniques in tooth replacement and cosmetic dental reconstruction, such as veneers, crowns, dental implants, fixed bridgework, dentures and advanced cosmetic dental services.
“Prosthodontists draw on these skills in the development of comprehensive treatment plans that are customized to the individual patient,” said Desai. “So while Prosthodontists generally see fewer patients than general dentists, patients can expect their Prosthodontist to spend a significantly longer time with them on an individual basis to explain and carry out a customized treatment plan.”
Frequently, prosthodontists will work in tandem with other dental and medical specialists to best fulfill a patient’s individual needs.
Who Needs a Prosthodontist?
Reasons people go to see a Prosthodontist are many and may include someone wanting to improve the appearance of their smile; when avoiding smiling or eating certain foods; those who have extensive wear, fracture or tooth decay or are missing one or more teeth; those who are interested in cosmetic dental implants or already wear bridges or dentures. People who suffer from jaw pain (TMJD), bite problems or sleep apnea also have also found success.