Prosthodontics is the dental specialty that deals with the restoration and replacement of damaged or missing teeth. A prosthodontic dental professional is called a prosthodontist.
In order to obtain a certificate to practice prosthodontics a dentist must complete three additional years of advanced education beyond (4 years of) dental school. During these three additional years a prosthodontic resident studies to become the engineer of the oral cavity.
Like any very technical field there is more to know than anyone could imagine. It may not be obvious but the human mouth is a very complex system. The simple process of speech, chewing and swallowing takes a well orchestrated effort. This process is taken for granted until there is a disruption in the system. Dental work is a disruption in the system.
A prosthodontist is the only dentist formally educated in the complete system. A prosthodontist is well versed in replacing missing teeth by using crowns, bridges, implants, extractions, partial and full dentures.
When considering dental work it is wise to educate oneself before choosing a dental professional. The national organization website, www.gotoapro.org, is an excellent resource to further educate the consumer about the specialty of prosthodontics.