My husband was in a motorcycle accident 5 months ago. He was hospitalized for almost a month. Thankfully he was wearing a helmet, but in addition to a broken leg and some broken ribs he still had trauma to his face. His jawbone cracked and he lost his front teeth and 5 teeth on the left side of his mouth. We are finally making some progress with therapy so we can begin thinking about his teeth and getting his smile back. Discharge papers said that we should see our dentist and a specialist such as an oral surgeon or a prosthodontist. I am wondering if we need to go to all three of these doctors and how we would know whether to go to a prosthodontist or an oral surgeon. Or is this maybe something our dentist should decide for us? Thank you – Lani
All dentists complete training in general dentistry. Dentists who choose to specialize in a certain area spend additional time—usual two years or more—in specialized training.
Your family dentist may be able to complete some of the restorative work your husband needs. If extensive restoration is needed, your dentist will recommend a prosthodontist or an oral surgeon who can assist.
Damaged jawbone can be rebuilt or repaired by an oral surgeon. If your husband chooses to replace his missing teeth with dental implants, the oral surgeon will perform the implant surgery also. Your family dentist will provide the dental crown, which is secured to the implant. The crown serves as visible white, biting portion of a tooth.
A prosthodontist specializes in restoring teeth and mouth reconstruction. He or she also performs dental implant surgery and dental crowns. If prosthesis is needed, a prosthodontist can provide one.
You will not need to see all three dentists. Regardless of which specialist you choose, your family dentist should be kept aware of any dental treatment your husband needs. But the prosthodontist should be able to care for all of the dental procedures needed to restore your husband’s smile.
This post is sponsored by Naperville board-certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.