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Prosthodontist: Career and Salary Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue as a prosthodontist. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and licensure information.

What Is a Prosthodontist?

A prosthodontist is a dentist who specializes in tooth restoration and replacement. The treatments they provide can serve either aesthetic or functional purposes. In conjunction with dentists and other professionals in a dentist office, they diagnose oral conditions and determine the best course of action. After the oral restoration procedure is complete, they may follow up with the patient to ensure successful recovery.

Learn more about the career of prosthodontist from the table below:

Degree RequiredDoctor of Dental Surgery (DDS),
Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM), or
Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD)
Training RequiredSpecialty residency and fellowship
Key ResponsibilitiesEvaluate patients' mouths and teeth,
Construct various oral prostheses to replace missing or damaged teeth,
Prepare patients' mouths and insert prostheses,
Manage ancillary office staff,
Maintain records as required
Licensure/CertificationState licensure is required,
Certification necessary to become board-certified as a prosthodontist
Job Growth (2018-2028)18%*
Mean Salary (2018)$161,020*

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Do As a Prosthodontist?

Prosthodontists are dental specialists who aid people in the restoration of their teeth and oral functioning. As a worker in this field, you'll help clients regain confidence and improve such functions as chewing and speaking by replacing missing and damaged teeth with crowns, bridges, dentures or other realistic substitutes. Working with clients young and old, you'll play a role in helping their self-esteem by whitening teeth, closing gaps and covering damaged areas with crowns and veneers. Patients may require considerable surgery, such as in full mouth reconstruction, or smaller procedure such as jaw replacement. In addition, you'll perform procedures that help people with snoring and sleeping problems.

What Educational Requirements Must I Meet?

Before entering dental school, you'll need at least two years of predental college education. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most students complete their bachelor's degree before enrolling in dental school (www.bls.gov). Either way, your degree will need to be obtained at an accredited institution where you'll take numerous science courses such as biology and chemistry. For the field of dentistry, accreditation is given by the American Dental Association's (ADA's) Commission on Dental Accreditation.

Your score on the Dental Admissions Test and grade point average play a part in determining if you'll be accepted to dental school. If accepted, you'll go through a 4-year program covering more science-based courses, laboratory practice and, eventually, real-life treatment of patients. Once you've completed the program, you'll earn the title of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD), or Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD). To become a prosthodontist, you'll need to complete an additional three years of specialized training in a program that's also accredited by the ADA (www.prosthodontics.org).

How Do I Get Licensed To Work?

To obtain the required licensure, you may have to complete a residency after graduation. You'll also need to pass the National Board Dental Examinations to satisfy the written component of the licensure exam. In addition, you'll need to show proficiency by passing a practical exam. To become a board-certified prosthodontist, you'll have to pass a certification exam administered by the American Board of Prosthodontists, which is the certification body of the American College of Prosthodontists.

What Salary Could I Expect To Earn?

According to the BLS, there were only approximately 380 prosthodontists working in the United States in 2018 (www.bls.gov). Job growth for prosthodontists is expected to increase by 7%, which is much faster than average, between 2018 and 2028. The BLS reported that prosthodontists earned a mean annual wage of $191,400 as of May 2018.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Prosthodontics is one of nine specialties within the field of dentistry, so you have a variety of other options to choose from. For example, you could get a job as an orthodontist, endodontist or periodontist, depending on your area of interest. You could also work as a general dentist. Another similar career is a job as a physician. For this job, you need to complete medical school, a residency program and sometimes a fellowship in a particular subfield of medicine.