A: Prosthodontistry is one of the nine dental specialty areas recognized by the American Dental Association. While all dentists go through the same basic education, some choose to go on for more education in a specialty area. The prosthodontist specializes in the restorations that go into the mouth. Crowns, bridges, dentures, implants and inlays are all within the province of the prosthodontist. He or she may work on one tooth or on all the remaining teeth. A prosthodontist — the word is a combination of the Greek prosthesis, meaning to add, and odont, tooth — is also the doctor who would do restorative work on a mouth after, say, the removal of cancerous tissue. Most specialists limit their work to the area of their specialty, so it would be your regular dentist who would refer you to a prosthodontist if you require that specialty work.
Another specialty is orthodontistry, (from the prefix meaning straight, right, upright, correct, regular) which is the use of braces, bands, wires and elastics to straighten teeth and correct misaligned bites, a condition called malocclusion.
Talk with your dentist about whether referral to a specialist is appropriate.
Information provided by Norwalk Family Dentistry, 1101 Chatham Ave., 256-9000.