What do Prosthodontists Do?
Prosthodontists are dental practitioners who specialize in constructing oral prosthetics. These prosthetics help correct dental deformities and replace missing teeth. Many of these deformities directly impact the functioning of the mouth, jaws, and gums, and patients are sent to prosthodontists after visiting general dentists. Workers in this field often collaborate with other dental specialists when treating patients. If you have ever considered a career in the dental or medical field, and you enjoy helping people, this just might be the career for you.
Prosthodontists Skills and Abilities
Workers in this field will be expected to possess a wide range of knowledge about medicine and dentistry. This includes having an understanding of biology, chemistry, anatomy, pharmacology, and biochemistry. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are needed since you will be interacting with coworkers, patients, and other medical professionals. Practitioners should have the ability to listen closely to patients, and craft plans of treatment based on their personal and medical needs. A high degree of hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity is needed in order to become a prosthodontists.
The primary function of a prosthodontist is to create dental prosthesis. Workers in this industry will be expected to measure a patient’s jaw, skull, and other oral features in order to correctly design dental prosthesis. For patients suffering from missing teeth, dentures, veneers, and other devices may be employed. Prosthodontists work closely with victims of trauma in an effort to restore oral structure and health. Prosthodontists may also:
- Bleach discolored teeth
- Treat jaw-joint and facial pain issues
- Implant veneers to hide defects
- Using bonding technology to change tooth shape and close gaps
- Design medical devices
Prosthodontists Tools and Technology
Prosthodontists employ a wide variety of medical devices and tools during their work hours. Crown and bridge removers are used to effectively extract teeth. Articulators and gauges help workers in this field accurately measure a patient’s physical features. Dental impression trays are used as construct the blueprints that will aid in creating dentures. Software programs are also utilized when designing prosthetics.
Education and Training for Prosthodontists
Entering into this field requires a high level of education and training. As with the majority of dentists, you will be required to earn a D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery degree).Earning this degree typically requires four years of college, followed by 3-4 years of dental school, and 2 to 6 years in a residency program. During this time, students take courses in biochemistry, anatomy, and other relevant medical and scientific subjects. Due to the extensive educational requirements, you should not consider this career if you hope to quickly enter the workforce, or if you dislike competitive academic environments.
There is a financial payoff for all of this required education, and prosthodontists earn some of the highest salaries in the dental field. The mean annual wage for a prosthodontist is $142,830, with more experienced and established workers earning much higher wages. Workers in this field are increasingly in demand, and there was a 9.1% increase in professional wages over the last year. Prosthodontists employed in dental offices earned the highest wages, while those employed in physician’s offices and hospitals earned the lowest. Very few dentists choose to specialize in this field, meaning those who choose this career path can command higher salaries.
Prosthodontists Jobs by Geography
California, Ohio, and Texas had the highest levels of employment for prosthodontists in the country. The top paying states for workers in this industry are Idaho, Tennessee, and Louisiana – this due in part to a shortage of prosthodontists in these areas. Unlike most professions, prosthodontists employed in rural areas earned higher salaries than those employed in urban areas. The Chicago, IL metro area had the highest levels of employment for prosthodontists in the nation.