A Prosthodontist is a dentist who has specialized in the replacement of missing teeth and the rebuilding of natural teeth. In order to be registered as a dental Specialist, three to four additional years of full-time study is required along with additional examinations and qualifications.
According to the Academy of Prosthodontics (South Africa), “only prosthodontists receive training at accredited institutions to restore problems that involve more than three problematic teeth”. In some instances even the restoration of a single tooth can be very complicated. You should discuss this with your dentist so that you understand the complexity of your problem and then be referred to a specialist Prosthodontist if it is agreed upon.
Why should my dentist know about my medical history if it is not dental related? (i.e. history of heart disease, surgeries, systemic conditions, diabetes, psychiatric disorders, pregnancy and medications not used for dental reasons)
There is extensive research that proves that the mouth has a very significant link to the health of the rest of the body. Some systemic conditions have oral conditions related to the symptoms and can therefore alter the proposed dental treatment. Some medications have an effect on dental health and can be helpful in dental diagnosis and treatment planning. After any surgery or hospitalisation, the body takes a toll with regards to immunity, that is why doctors often prescribe antibiotics after surgery to help fight off opportunistic infections that might attack the body while it is healing itself. When doing invasive dental procedures that involve injectable local anaesthetic or a deep cleaning that could cause bleeding or soft tissue laceration, there is always risk of infection. That is why a patient is encouraged to disclose all medical history in order for the dentist or oral hygienist to be able to protect that patient from infection by prescribing prophylactic antibiotic treatment prior to an invasive dental procedure.
Global Smiles SA follow the American Heart Association’s protocol for post-operative prophylaxis. This protocol states that all heart conditions that include heart transplants, history of rheumatic fever, prosthetic or faulty heart valves, congenital heart diseases such as Fallot’s tetrology need antibiotic treatment prior to invasive dentistry for as long as 2 years after the surgery or for some congenital heart conditions and even surgical procedures, lifelong antibiotic treatment prior to invasive dentistry, is required. Prosthetic joints such as hips, knees, fingers etc. also require prophylactic antibiotics prior to invasive dentistry for up to 2 years after the surgery.