Differences Between a General Dentist and a Prosthodontist

Differences Between a General Dentist and a Prosthodontist

When it comes to oral health care, there are several types of dentists to choose from, each with a different expertise. Two such types are general dentists and Prosthodontists. While both are trained to address issues related to teeth and gums, there are significant differences between the two.

General Dentists

A general dentist is a primary oral healthcare provider, who is responsible for diagnosing, treating, and managing the overall oral health of their patients. They provide a wide range of services, from preventive care such as routine cleanings and x-rays, to restorative procedures such as fillings and extractions. They also offer cosmetic treatments such as teeth whitening and veneers.

Dentists are required to have a degree in dentistry and are licensed to practice after completing their studies. They often continue their education through various short courses and seminars to keep up with the latest advancements in the field.

Specialist Prosthodontist

A Prosthodontist is a dental specialist who focuses on the restoration and replacement of missing teeth and other oral structures. They are trained to diagnose, plan, and implement treatments for patients who require complex dental procedures, such as full mouth reconstruction, using techniques such as All on 4 implants or high advanced techniques such as delivering gum set ceramic bridges.

Prosthodontists require an additional three years of training beyond dental school, which is focused on advanced techniques for restoring and replacing teeth. They also receive training in treating conditions such as TMJ disorder, sleep apnoea, and cleft palate.

Principal Prosthodontist Dr Michael Zaninovich

Aria’s Principal Prosthodontist Dr Michael Zaninovich

Differences between General Dentists and Prosthodontists

The primary difference between dentists and prosthodontists is their scope of practice and the level of training they receive. Dentists complete four to five years of dental school, while prosthodontists require an additional three years of full-time specialised training in prosthodontics. This additional training equips prosthodontists with advanced skills and knowledge in the field of tooth restoration and replacement.

While general dentists provide a range of services that focus on overall oral health, prosthodontists specialise in the restoration and replacement of missing teeth and other oral structures.

General dentists are the first line of defence for maintaining oral health, and they may refer patients to a prosthodontist when more advanced care is required. A prosthodontist works closely with general dentists and other dental specialists to develop treatment plans for their patients.

While general dentists and Prosthodontists play crucial roles in maintaining oral health; general dentists provide comprehensive oral health care, and prosthodontists specialise in restoring and replacing teeth and other oral structures. If you have specific concerns about the restoration or replacement of teeth, consulting a Specialist Prosthodontist may be the best option.

When would you see a Prosthodontist over a Dentist? General Dentist vs Prosthodontist

There are several situations in which you may need to see a prosthodontist over a general dentist:

  • You have missing teeth: If you have one or more missing teeth, a prosthodontist can provide you with advanced solutions for tooth replacement, such as dental implants or dentures.
  • You require a complex restoration: If you need a complex restoration, such as a full mouth reconstruction, a prosthodontist can provide you with a customised treatment plan that addresses your unique needs.
  • You have experienced trauma to the mouth: If you have experienced trauma to the mouth, such as a sports injury or a car accident, a prosthodontist can help you restore your teeth and other oral structures to their pre-injury state.
  • You have a congenital condition: If you were born with a congenital condition that affects your teeth or other oral structures, such as cleft palate, a prosthodontist can provide you with specialised care to help you maintain your oral health and quality of life.
  • You have TMJ disorder or sleep apnoea: Prosthodontists are also trained to diagnose and treat conditions such as TMJ disorder and sleep apnoea, which can impact the health and function of your teeth and other oral structures.

If you have a complex dental issue that requires specialised knowledge and skills, it is recommended to consult a Specialist. However, if you have a routine dental issue or are looking for preventive care, a general dentist may be more appropriate for your needs. Ultimately, the decision to see a prosthodontist over a general dentist will depend on your specific dental needs and concerns.

Which do I see if I need a Second Opinion?

If you need a second opinion about a dental issue, it may be best to consult with a prosthodontist. Prosthodontists have advanced training in the restoration and replacement of missing teeth and other oral structures, as well as in diagnosing and treating complex dental problems. They have expertise in developing comprehensive treatment plans, and they may be able to provide you with a different perspective on your dental issue.

That being said, if you have a routine dental issue, you may also seek a second opinion from a general dentist. A general dentist can provide a different viewpoint on your dental issue and may be able to offer alternative treatment options. Ultimately, the decision to see a prosthodontist or a general dentist for a second opinion will depend on the nature and complexity of your dental issue.

Single Tooth Crown

Handcrafted single tooth implant from Aria Dental

What other Dental Specialisms are there?

In addition to dentists and Prosthodontists, there are several other dental specialisms, each with its own area of expertise. These include:


Endodontists specialise in treating the dental pulp, which is the soft tissue inside the tooth. They perform root canal therapy and other procedures to treat and save damaged or infected teeth.


Orthodontists specialise in correcting misaligned teeth and jaws. They use braces, aligners, and other devices to straighten teeth and improve oral function and appearance.


Paedodontists specialise in providing oral health care to children, from infants to teenagers. They have specialised training in child psychology and behaviour management, and they provide a range of services, from routine exams and cleanings to complex restorative procedures.


Periodontists specialise in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease. They also perform procedures to replace missing teeth, such as dental implants.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are specialists who perform surgical procedures on the mouth, jaws, and face. They perform procedures such as tooth extractions, dental implants, jaw realignment surgery, and facial reconstruction surgery.

Oral Pathologist

Oral pathologists specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases that affect the mouth, jaws, and related structures. They use laboratory tests and other diagnostic tools to identify and treat conditions such as oral cancer, infections, and autoimmune disorders.

Each of these dental specialisms has its own area of expertise and can provide specialised care for different dental conditions. Depending on your dental needs, your dentist may refer you to one of these specialists for further evaluation and treatment.

Why see a Prosthodontist?

Prosthodontists can help you with everything you need to get your mouth back in shape. This could be from one tooth or several teeth. While many dentists can perform the same treatment, the Prosthodontist is the specialist in this field.

If you have seen any dentist and would like a specialist’s second opinion, you can go to a Prosthodontist with your treatment plan proposed by your dentist and have the details checked over thoroughly. A Prosthodontist can give you some guidance on the proposed plan, offer additional insights and give you the peace of mind you are considering the right treatment for you. 

To organise a free dental implant consultation with Aria’s Prosthodontist, Dr Michael Zaninovich, contact our Aria Dental Patient Services team or complete our enquiry form online for a callback. You can book your initial dental implant consultation to be at any of our Midland, Maddington, or North Perth locations with our implant expert dentists or at our flagship Perth CBD implant centre with our Specialist.


Book your free dental implant consultation or treatment review with Aria's Prosthodontist today!
Contact Us

Related Post

General Dentistry Services in a dental clinic

The Importance of Oral Health: Why General Dentistry Services Matter

The Importance of Oral Health: Why General Dentistry Services Matter Good oral health is a crucial component of overall well-being.…
Dental Implants Price, Early Release Super for Dental Treatment

Dental Implants Price Comparisons

Dental Implants Price Perth While it's tempting to base our choice solely on price, several other crucial factors must be…
Smoking and Dental Surgery

How Smoking Creates Issues with Your Oral Health

Smoking and Oral Health At Aria Dental, we have seen firsthand the numerous ways cigarette smoking can negatively impact oral…