In New Zealand there are two very similar dental specialties “Restorative Dentists” and “Prosthodontists”. For details of their individual scopes please refer to the web site of the Dental Council of New Zealand. However, for most cases, the differences between the two specialties are minor and on this site the specialty “Prosthodontist” can be also read as including “Restorative Dentist”.
Prosthodontics is the dental specialty which is dedicated to the task of “tooth replacement” and “oral reconstruction”. To be registered as a Prosthodontist you are required to have undergone extensive formal postgraduate training to provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge to restore function and appearance to a patient’s entire dentition, as well as individual teeth. Because of this specialist training, Prosthodontists tend to work closely with other registered dental specialist groups (Endodontists, Periodontists, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons etc) to ensure that a patient’s comprehensive dental needs are treated to the highest possible standard and in the most professional manner possible.
Generally Prosthodontists treat the more difficult or complex problems that require oral reconstruction and/or tooth replacement. If you have been referred to a Prosthodontist, your general dentist may have identified that you require specialist care and by referring you they have placed your wellbeing first and want the best for you.
Identifying the nature of a problem is the usual starting point when developing a comprehensive treatment plan. At your first visit to a Prosthodontist you will be asked about your main concerns and relevant background information will be gathered. There may be questions about your previous dental experiences, medical health and lifestyle. Some may seem unrelated to dental problems but could provide important clues to underlying causes of your dental problems and assist in arriving at a proper diagnosis. As well as performing a thorough clinical examination, x-rays, impressions for study models, records of how your upper and power teeth fit together, and photographs of your teeth may be taken. All this helps the Prosthodontist put together an accurate and complete picture of your mouth and treatment needs.
Once the gathered records and information have been assessed, you will be presented with a formal treatment proposal and a comprehensive outline of any proposed treatment and the fees associated with that treatment.
Throughout treatment your dentist will be informed of your progress and at the conclusion of any treatment you will usually return to your general dentist for ongoing routine care.