Wondering what a dental prosthetist does? Or perhaps you’ve wondered who you should see for your denture concerns: a dentist or a dental prosthetist. Both are registered, independent practitioners working in the dental industry. However, their focus and skill sets are different – as are their services.
A general dentist cares for conditions in your mouth, teeth, jaws and gum. They are the go-to professionals for oral examinations, x-rays and diagnosing dental diseases. Dentists perform various treatments such as tooth extractions, fillings, restoring teeth with crowns, treating gum disease and much more.
A dental prosthetist is the ideal person to see if you wear dentures or you need a mouthguard. The ADPA (Australian Dental Prosthetists Association) states that dental prosthetists work as independent practitioners in the assessment, treatment, management and provision of removable dentures and flexible removal mouthguards used for sporting activities.
Dental prosthetists are registered by the Dental Board of Australia. This is the same board that registers Australian dentists, dental specialists, hygienists and oral health therapists. Unlike dental technicians, who must work under the instruction of a more senior professional, dental prosthetists work as independent practitioners. You don’t need a referral to see a dental prosthetist.
Dental prosthetists (DPs) don’t just make devices, though. They are also qualified to take impressions and records required to manufacture different splints, snoring devices and immediate dentures. Such procedures require written referrals to and from dentists. Any device being created under such an arrangement must be managed by a treating dentist.
To train to become a dental prosthetist, an individual must first become a dental technician. This requires two years’ tertiary training. Then, they must do further extensive study in dental prosthetics. If they complete their studies successfully, they can then qualify and become registered as a dental prosthetist.
Benefits of seeing a dental prosthetist
Health insurance & other rebates
If you have health insurance, you may be able to receive rebates for certain denture services provided by a dental prosthetist. Medicare and the Department of Veterans Affairs may also give you benefits or rebates.
If you wear dentures, a dental prosthetist is the ideal professional to see as they are highly skilled in assessing you and catering for your needs. Dentures and oral prosthetic devices are all they do, day in, day out.
If you wear dentures, approximately every 5 to 7 years, you’ll need a new denture or set – which is something your DP can provide. They will assess your mouth, take impressions, discuss the recommended materials for your denture and any budgetary limitations or preferences. They can then make and fit your denture. This will all happen under one roof without having to have repeat appointments at a dental clinic, where you’ll be under the care of more than one practitioner.
In between purchasing new dentures, you’ll likely need a reline. A denture reline is an essential service that involves tweaking the denture to ensure it continures to fit well and remains comfortable. As time passes, our bones and gums change shape. This means that your denture that once fit well is likely to not fit so well over time. Your DP can reshape the underside of your denture to ensure an improved fit that is more comfortable while resting against your gums.
Broken or damaged your denture? Repairs are another reason to see a DP. Rather than visiting the dentist, who will likely hand your denture to their technicians, a dental prosthetist has the tools, experience and expertise to repair your denture themselves.
If you or your child plays contact sports, it’s essential you, or they wear a custom sports mouthguard. Custom mouthguards are far superior to boil-and-bite mouthguards available over-the-counter at pharmacies and shops. A custom mouthguard provides far more protection to your teeth, absorbing the impact and preventing damage to the jaw or teeth. A dental prosthetist is to go-to professional to create a custom mouthguard for your needs. Health insurance rebates may also apply.
Choosing a dental prosthetist
Now that you know what a dental prosthetist does let’s take a look at how you should choose one. Here are a few questions to think through:
- Will my denture/s be made on-site? At Morley Denture Professionals, everything is created on-site. We don’t outsource any manufacturing, relines or repairs to overseas/interstate companies or technicians.
- What materials are you using? Dentures can be made of various materials. Some are more expensive than others. Make sure you know what you’re getting and the pros and cons of the type of material you choose.
- Who is creating or relining my denture/s? Do they have adequate experience? Bradley has been in the dental profession for 35 years and has worked as a dental prosthetist since 1994.
Morley Denture Professionals serve patients throughout the Perth metro area, especially those in Morley or the surrounding suburbs of Dianella, Bassendean, Bayswater, Embleton, Mount Lawley, Yokine, Inglewood, Beechboro and Maylands.