Prosthodontics, also known as dental prosthetics or prosthetic dentistry, is the area of dentistry that focuses on dental prostheses. It is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA), Royal College of Surgeons of England, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, Royal College of Surgeons of Glasgow, Royal College of Dentists of Canada, and Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons. The ADA defines it as “the dental specialty pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes.”
Maxillofacial prosthetics (Oral and Maxillofacial Prosthodontics) is a sub-specialty (or super-specialty) of Prosthodontics. All Maxillofacial prosthodontists are prosthodontists first and then attain a fellowship training (1 year) exclusively in Maxillofacial prosthetics that includes oral surgical and prosthodontic treatments. Maxillofacial prosthodontists treat patients who have acquired and congenital defects of the head and neck (maxillofacial) region due to cancer, surgery, trauma, and/or birth defects. Maxillary obturators, speech-aid prosthesis (formerly called as Pharyngeal/soft palate obturators) and mandibular-resection prostheses are the most common prostheses planned and fabricated by Maxillofacial prosthodontists. Other types of prostheses include artificial eyes, nose and other facial prostheses fabricated in conjunction with an anaplastologist.
Treatment is multidisciplinary, involving oral and maxillofacial surgeons, plastic surgeons, head and neck surgeons, ENT doctors, oncologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and other healthcare professionals.