Prosthodontist vs. Oral Surgeon: What’s the Difference?
When people have experienced extensive dental damage or tooth loss, they are likely to wonder what type of doctor they should visit to consider their treatment options. Often, people are unsure if they should visit a prosthodontist or an oral surgeon.
A prosthodontist addresses dental damage and tooth loss, but an oral surgeon may also provide the treatment a person requires. Here, prosthodontist James M. Stein, who serves the Boston, MA, area, goes over the key differences regarding a prosthodontist vs. oral surgeon, and explains which may be right for certain oral health concerns.
What Is a Prosthodontist?
A prosthodontist is a dental specialist who focuses on restoring the smile by addressing advanced dental damage and tooth loss. Prosthodontists are qualified dentists with a DDS or DMD. However, they earn their specialization by taking at least three years of additional schooling, residency, and training through an ADA-accredited graduate program.
Oral Health Concerns Addressed by a Prosthodontist
Prosthodontists can essentially address any oral health concern that compromises oral functions or aesthetics, threatens the health of the teeth, or throws off the bite. Some of the conditions most commonly addressed by a prosthodontist include:
- Tooth decay and dental cavities
- Tooth sensitivity
- Dental stains or discoloration
- Oral infection
- Chipped or fractured teeth
- Tooth loss
- Jaw pain
What Is an Oral Surgeon?
An oral surgeon, which is also known as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) is a specialist who focuses on addressing health problems that affect the soft and hard tissues of the mouth, face, and jaw. An oral surgeon completes dental school and then takes an additional four to six years of residency training. Many oral surgeons also earn a medical degree. It is not unusual for an oral surgeon to have 12 to 14 years of education and training in total.
Oral Health Concerns Addressed by an Oral Surgeon
Oral surgeons address oral health concerns that require surgical correction. Some of the procedures that may be performed by an oral surgeon include:
- Surgical tooth extractions
- Cleft palate surgery
- Wisdom tooth extraction
- Corrective jaw surgery (to treat a broken or fractured jaw)
- Reconstructive surgery to repair facial trauma
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) surgery
- Oral cancer surgery
- Dental implant placement
Which Is Right for Me?
The type of specialist that a person requires is almost entirely dependent on the oral health concern they are experiencing. However, there are issues that can be addressed by either a prosthodontist or an oral surgeon. In these cases, the right specialist may depend on the severity of the condition. If our Boston patients are suffering from an oral health problem that cannot be addressed by a prosthodontist, Dr. James M. Stein can refer them to an experienced oral surgeon.
Get In Touch
If you’re in the Boston area and have experienced dental damage or tooth loss, you can probably benefit from the services offered by prosthodontist Dr. James M. Stein. To discuss your concerns and learn more about your treatment options, send us a message online or call (617) 227-6076 and request a consultation.