Career Development

Prosthodontist Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More

Prosthodontists are dental specialists who specialize in creating and restoring teeth. They may also be involved in performing complex procedures such as reconstructing faces and jaws that have been damaged by trauma or disease. Prosthodontists may also be called upon to create and fit dental prostheses, such as dentures.

Prosthodontists are dental specialists who specialize in creating and restoring teeth. They may also be involved in performing complex procedures such as reconstructing faces and jaws that have been damaged by trauma or disease. Prosthodontists may also be called upon to create and fit dental prostheses, such as dentures.

Prosthodontists typically spend their days working directly with patients. They may use a variety of different techniques to create and restore teeth, depending on the unique needs of each patient. This might include using advanced materials to build crowns, bridges, or other dental restorations. They may also use CAD/CAM technology to design replacement teeth that are exact replicas of the patient’s natural teeth.

Read on to learn more about what it’s like to be a prosthodontist and what it takes to become one yourself.

Prosthodontist Job Duties

The main duties of a prosthodontist include:

  • Providing dental services such as performing examinations and diagnoses, developing treatment plans, and prescribing customized oral hygiene routines
  • Performing complex reconstructive surgeries on the mouth, lips, cheeks, and jaws to repair damage caused by trauma or disease
  • Building custom dentures from scratch or making adjustments to existing dentures
  • Preparing models of the teeth and jaws from impressions of patients’ mouths to plan for dental implants, bridges, crowns, veneers, etc.
  • Evaluating patients’ needs and discussing treatment options with them to ensure that they understand the process
  • Providing information about the treatment process to patients throughout the course of their treatment plan
  • Helping patients manage problems with existing dentures or other prostheses that may be causing discomfort

Prosthodontist Salary & Outlook

The median annual wage for prosthodontists is $208,000. The top earners make over $365,000 per year. Those earning higher wages tend to work in private practices.

The employment of prosthodontists is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade. This is due to a growing emphasis on preventive dental care and a greater emphasis on maintaining good oral health in the population.

Prosthodontist Job Requirements

The requirements for a prosthodontist include:

Education: A prosthodontist should hold a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree, and an accredited specialty training in prosthodontics. Many dentists complete their general education and specialty training in the same program. These programs generally take six years to complete, including four years of dental school and two years of specialty training.

Training: Once a prosthodontist completes their education, they must complete a residency program. These programs generally last three years and allow prosthodontists to gain experience working with patients.

Certifications & Licenses: All prosthodontists must be licensed by the state in which they practice. In most states, a prosthodontist must earn a certificate from the American Board of Prosthodontics. This requires the candidate to pass an exam covering the required knowledge and skills.

Prosthodontist Skills

This job generally requires the following skills:

Interpersonal skills: The ability to relate well to patients, other doctors, and dental staff members is necessary.

Critical thinking skills: A prosthodontist must be able to interpret information quickly and apply it to individual cases.

Research skills: Prosthodontists may need the ability to find unknown answers to questions that may arise while working on a case.

Multitasking skills: A prosthodontist must be able to perform multiple tasks at once, such as analyzing x-rays, performing surgery, and talking with the patient’s family members about treatment options.

Dental knowledge: The ability to work with a variety of dental materials and technologies, including those used in prosthodontics.

Physical stamina: The prosthodontist must have physical stamina to work long hours, as they are sometimes on their feet all day. 

Prosthodontist Work Environment

Prosthodontists work in private offices or in hospitals, dental schools, or research facilities. They spend most of their time in an office, where they can use computers and other office equipment to help with their work.

The job requires a lot of time on the phone and face-to-face meetings with patients and coworkers. Prosthodontists sometimes have to travel to meet clients, attend conferences, and give speeches. Because prosthodontists are responsible for the health of their patients, they often work long hours and must be available at all times, including nights and weekends.

Prosthodontist Career Path

Getting Started

The first two years in prosthodontics are devoted to formal training and study, culminating in a licensing examination. New prosthodontists work long hours and perform lengthy procedures under the supervision of more experienced professionals. Two years later, they can become full-fledged practitioners.

Five Years Out

By five years, prosthodontists have developed their own followings and reputations. They can choose to staff their own offices or work for others; both options offer significant responsibility and autonomy. Prosthodontists can specialize in areas such as dentures, crowns, bridges, implants, orthodontics, or oral surgery. The majority of prosthodontists remain satisfied with their positions and continue to enjoy the variety of cases they encounter on a daily basis. Most of them put in long hours and work some weekends and evenings.

Ten Years Out

The more successful prosthodontists have established their practices, have become members of state/regional dental societies, associated with local hospitals, and taught at local schools of dentistry. Some are involved in dental research, while others are studying for specialty certifications that allow them to practice more procedures themselves instead of delegating work to specialists. Many are doing technical work for other dentists—making crowns, bridges, etc.—and becoming known as specialists in their fields. They are more satisfied than ever with their careers; salaries increase significantly at this point due to greater experience and recognition of expertise.

Prosthodontist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how prosthodontists work. Prosthodontists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Increasing Importance of Design

As dental work becomes more sophisticated, the role of the prosthodontist is also evolving. Prosthodontists must become increasingly skilled in aesthetics and design to meet the growing demand for quality, natural-looking dentures and implants.

Furthermore, prosthodontists must become experts in materials science and computer technology to ensure that they can provide patients with state-of-the-art treatments that match their needs and preferences. 

Biomimicry

In the field of prosthodontics, or dental and jaw reconstruction, biomimicry refers to products that are designed to resemble the look and feel of natural teeth.

Biomimicry can be an important trend for prosthodontists in the coming years because consumers are becoming increasingly interested in aesthetic products.

For example, tooth-colored fillings are becoming more popular because they provide the look of natural teeth while also providing the strength and durability that traditional fillings lack.

Increased Importance of CAD/CAM Technology

As dentistry continues to embrace technological advances, it will become increasingly important for prosthodontists to learn computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software.

In fact, a recent study found that 92% of practicing prosthodontists have at least basic CAD skills and that 40% have at least intermediate knowledge in this area. Furthermore, the same study revealed that 95% of practicing prosthodontists feel they need more advanced CAM skills.

This is a positive sign for those interested in a career as a prosthodontist because it suggests that employers are looking for applicants with CAD/CAM knowledge and experience. 

How to Become a Prosthodontist

1. Planning Your Career

When thinking about a career as a prosthodontist, it’s important to know that this field is not for the faint of heart. You must work long hours and be willing to handle challenging patients. However, if you are passionate about helping people feel confident about their smiles, this may be the right choice for you.

Prosthodontists should have a keen interest in dental anatomy and dentistry in general; the more time you spend studying this subject, the better prepared you will be for your new career.

2. Writing a Resume

While resumes for prosthodontists focus on their education, experience, and licensure, the best ones should also include details about their interpersonal skills. If you are applying for a position where you will be working with patients, you should include examples of how you have worked effectively with others.

You can demonstrate your communication skills by including information about how your work helped other people or positively affected their lives. You can also emphasize your ability to deliver results in a clear and concise manner. 

3. Applying for Jobs

When you are looking for a job as a prosthodontist, be sure to have some practical experience in the field. Attend some conferences, network with people working in the industry, and check out LinkedIn for some helpful information on people working in the field.

You should also get involved in local organizations related to dentistry or prosthodontics. This can help you to get acquainted with employers, build your network, and get involved in the community. It is also a good idea to join some professional organizations, such as the American College of Prosthodontists. It will provide you with additional opportunities to get involved with the community.

4. Ace the Interview

If you’ve been invited to interview for a prosthodontist job, your interviewer will probably ask you questions about your education and experience. In addition, you may be asked why you want to practice prosthodontics.

The best way to prepare for this type of interview is to review information about the job and learn about the field in general. Learn about the different kinds of prosthodontists and what they do. If possible, speak with a prosthodontist to learn more about their own interviewing experience.

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