How to Become A Prosthodontist

Prosthodontics is among the 9 dental specialties that are recognized by the American Dental Association. A Prosthodontist specializes in repairing/restoring damaged teeth and replacing missing teeth through artificial implantation, dentures, bridges or crowns. Prosthodontists have vast experience working on delicate dental cases that includes facial abnormalities, birth defects and even dental diseases. If you’re interested in oral health care and want to help others, then explore the requirements to become a prosthodontist.

Should I Become a Prosthodontist?

Prosthodontics is a dental specialty that deals in tooth restoration and replacement. This field includes different procedures that are designed to repair damaged teeth, correct deformities and restore jaw function. Prosthodontists can have their own private practice or may work in a big dental practice. Besides performing procedures, they also come up with treatment plans and work as a team with other dentists in critical situations.

Prosthodontic also has subspecialties like dentures and esthetic dentistry. Maxillofacial Prosthodontics is another specialty that deals with rehabilitation of neck, head and facial abnormalities. Prosthodontists can also opt for careers in teaching and research. To pursue a career in Prosthodontic, a bachelor's degree from accredited dental school is mandatory. After getting a degree from dental school, candidates need to complete a postgraduate program.

The following table summarizes the career of a prosthodontist, including the educational requirements, salary outlook and licensure requirements.

Education Required

Doctoral degree and residency

Degree Field

Prosthodontics, Dentistry


State license, voluntary certification from the American Board of Prosthodontics


Residency training

Key Skills

Good hand-eye coordination, communication skills, familiarity with dental software and imaging management; ability to handle a range of dental pliers and other dental instruments

Annual Mean Salary (2018)

$191,400 per year

Job Outlook (2018) - Dentists


Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018)

Career Requirements

Prosthodontists perform complex procedures that include diagnosis, treatment plan and rehabilitation, along with the maintenance of oral function, appearance and comfort of the patients.

To be able to perform these duties, these professionals must get a bachelor’s degree from a dental school. Students are also required to complete prosthodontics post-graduate residency program and acquire license from their state. It is important for individuals to have good communication skills, manual dexterity and ability to work with multiple instruments. Most prosthodontists have a flexible work schedule, unless they are working for clinics or in healthcare facilities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018, the annual median salary for Prosthodontists was $176,540.

Steps To Become a Prosthodontist

Step 1: Getting a Bachelor’s Degree

There are plenty of programs to choose from when getting your bachelor’s degree, like health sciences, biology, physics, and human anatomy. Before selecting a program, it’s advised to consider the dental school that you plan on attending after graduating, so that their requirements are met.

Step 2: Take the Dental Admission Test (DAT)

Before getting admission in a dental school, students have to take the Dental Admission Test (DAT). This includes 4 multiple choice tests that cover areas like Survey of the Natural Sciences, Reading Comprehension, Perceptual Ability and Quantitative Reasoning. The DAT uses both the units – U.S. customary system and the metric system (Imperial System). The test is overseen by The American Dental Association (ADA) and it has become one of the criteria for selection by universities.

Step 3: Graduate from Dental School  

Dental School is a four-year degree program, which results in a degree in Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine. During the program, students are required to take courses in dental anatomy, craniofacial biology and epidemiology. They also get to learn about different mouth diseases and diagnosis, dental materials and pharmacology. Students are given clinical experience by working on real patients under the supervision of experienced dentists.

Step 4: Licenses and Certifications

Every state requires a license for prosthodontists. For this, they have to pass the National Board Dental Examinations (NBD) that comprise of two parts. To be licensed to practice dentistry in the U.S., the first part involves a written exam that tests an individual on general knowledge of oral health. The second part focuses on the clinical aspects and a candidate can only take it if they have passed part one.

Step 5: Complete a Residency Training

The final step in becoming a prosthodontist requires a candidate to complete residency training after passing NBD exam. It is a 3-year program divided into quarters and supervised by hospitals or healthcare institutions. The residency puts the candidates through intensive hands-on training in different sectors of Prosthodontics. These include Fixed Prosthodontics, Removable Prosthodontics, Implant Prosthodontics and Maxillofacial Prosthetics.

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