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Periodontist Vs. Prosthodontist

Periodontists and prosthodontists specialize in providing different types of dental care to their patients. This article compares their duties, as well as their typical incomes and the training requirements for these careers.

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Comparing Periodontists to Prosthodontists

Periodontists and prosthodontists are dental specialists. They have similar educational requirements but focus on treating different types of dental health issues: periodontists see patients with periodontal diseases, while prosthodontists focus on oral prostheses.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Outlook (2016-2026)**
Periodontists Doctoral or professional degree $161,688 12% (for dentists, all other specialists)
Prosthodontists Doctoral or professional degree $144,883 17%

Sources: *PayScale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Periodontists vs. Prosthodontists

Periodontists and prosthodontists are both dental specialists who see patients and examine them. Periodontists concentrate on patients with gum disease, damaged gum tissue or problems with the roots in their mouth. Prosthodontists provide patients with things like dentures. They also replace things like missing teeth or parts of the mouth that have been damaged. Periodontists and prosthodontists work indoors in similar environments and may be required to review x-rays and explain treatment options to their patients.

Periodontists

Periodontists are dentists who are specifically trained to identify, prevent or treat conditions related to a person's gums. After completing dental school, those who are interested in becoming periodontists must complete another three years of training. Most work in dental offices or have their own practice. Although daytime working hours are typical, some may work evenings and weekends. Periodontists need exceptional fine motor skills and the physical ability to spend a lot of time bending throughout their shifts.

Job responsibilities of a periodontist include:

  • Identifying signs of gum disease
  • Performing surgery
  • Cleaning roots
  • Maintaining patients' dental implants
  • Measuring periodontal pockets to assess gum health

Prosthodontists

Prosthodontists are dentists who specialize in providing functional and cosmetic services for their patients. This can involve replacing things that are missing or improving the patient's ability to do things like chew food. After completing dental school, those who are interested in specializing as prosthodontists must complete a residency and earn a license in their specialization. Prosthodontists may work with individuals who have birth defects or injuries that have affected their ability to communicate, so they need to be compassionate and have strong communication skills. They work indoors in dental offices and primarily work daytime hours. Some may opt to work evening shifts as well.

Job responsibilities of a prosthodontist include:

  • Determining the best options for improving appearance or function
  • Inserting crowns
  • Making models of a patient's mouth to construct dentures
  • Preparing bridges for patients
  • Supervising technicians and other staff

Related Careers

Aspiring periodontists and prosthodontists may be interested in other dental specialties, such as being an orthodontist. Those who are considering becoming a prosthodontist may want to consider the work that speech pathologists do, since speech pathologists also work with patients who have oral issues that affect their ability to speak or swallow.

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