Education and Training Requirements

High School

Be sure to take classes in biology, chemistry, physics, health, mathematics, and English. Foreign language classes are also required for college entrance and helpful for future work with people from different countries. Participate in extracurricular activities and clubs as this shows collaborative spirit and determination to learn and contribute beyond school hours, which also looks good on college applications.

Postsecondary Training 

Extensive education is required to be qualified to practice as a prosthodontist. A bachelor's degree is required for admission to dental school. Bachelor's degree coursework includes biology, chemistry, physicology, physics, human anatomy, as well as core studies in mathematics, communications, sociology, and psychology. Prosthodontists must have medical and scientific knowledge coupled with the ability to communicate with and understand patients. 

All dental schools approved by the American Dental Association require applicants to pass the Dental Admissions Test, which gauges a student's prospects of success or failure in dental school. Information on tests and testing centers may be obtained by visiting https://www.ada.org/en/education-careers/dental-admission-test.

Professional training in a dental school generally requires four academic years. Many dental schools have an interdisciplinary curriculum in which the dental student studies basic science with students of medicine, pharmacy, and other health professions. Clinical training usually starts in the second year. Most schools now feature a department of community dentistry, which involves a study of communities, urban problems, and sociology, and includes treatment of patients from the community. To be licensed to practice dentistry in the United States, candidates must pass the American Dental Association's dental examinations, consisting of a written exam and a clinical exam. Upon graduation from dental school and passing of the dental exams, the doctor of dental surgery (D.D.S.) or the doctor of dental medicine (D.D.M. or D.M.D.) designation is awarded.

Dental students who want to specialize, such as in prosthodontics, should plan on postgraduate study ranging from two to five years. Dental specialists become certified by passing specialty board exams. They obtain further training as a dental intern or resident in an approved hospital. Prosthodontists must complete a residency, which can last three years, in which they receive intensive training in various areas of prosthodontics. Upon completion of the residency, prosthodontists may receive board certification from the American Board of Prosthodontics.

Other Education or Training 

Prosthodontists must continue their education throughout their careers because there are always innovations and changes in the profession. They stay current by reading professional magazines and journals and taking classes and participating in webinars offered by professional associations such as the American Board of Prosthodontics, American College of Prosthodontists, and the American Dental Association. 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Prosthodontists and dentists must be licensed to practice in the United States. Licensing requirements vary depending on the state but most require that a candidate has a degree from a dental school accredited by the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation and that they pass written and practical dental examinations. Dentists licensed in one state are required to take another exam to practice in another state. Dentists who intend to practice in a specialty area must be licensed in that specialty, which requires completion of a post-dental school residency and, in some instances, the passing of a special state exam.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Extensive education and training is required to practice as a prosthodontist. Most prosthodontists have eight to ten years of education coupled with hands-on training in a residency in prosthodontics before starting to practice. The work requires a combination of skills and knowledge. Prosthodontists must be up to date on current techniques, tools, materials, and technologies used in prosthodontics. They must have deep knowledge of dental defects and disorders, as well as injuries, diseases, and deformities, and know how to diagnose and treat patients. They know how to work with various chemical substances and processes. Also essential in this job is the desire to care for patients and help reduce and eliminate their pain. Strong interpersonal skills are needed to listen carefully to patients and to describe and discuss with them treatment options and recommendations. People who do best in this type of work are able to think logically and critically, identify and solve complex problems, take time to speak with and understand patients, and share information with others in clear, effective ways.