Post your comments about dentures and prosthodontists to our blog. Read our denture survey press release.
In our most recent survey, we asked dentists if they offer in-house denture services. A whopping 94% of our respondents said yes, their practices can meet the needs of denture patients. Only 7% report that they refer denture patients out to a prosthodontist. Said one dentist: “I only refer out the most difficult cases. I do not like sending profits out the door.” Another commented, “I do some dentures, and I would like to do more, but denture patients can be a pain to deal with.”
Read the dentists’ comments for more insight into their thoughts on dentures.
General dentists were even more likely than specialists to treat denture patients in-house rather than referring them to another dental practitioner. Of
course, a doctor's specialty is a critical factor: prosthodontists treat denture patients themselves, while oral surgeons refer them out.
Rural dentists were somewhat less likely to offer their patients denture services.
Female dentists were also more likely to refer denture patients.
Some dentists never refer patients out
- "I don't know why one would refer to a prosthodontist. Many of us are more highly trained than some of them are." (Florida dentist)
- "I never think about it. I have not referred a case in 32 years of practice." (Texas dentist)
- "I'm a dentist. Having made many thousands of dentures over the years, with the facility of an in-house dental lab with a certified technician at my side, I've never referred a denture patient to a prosthodontist. I have, however, received denture referrals from prosthodontists!" (New Jersey dentist)
Prosthodontists do like referrals
- "It's a great idea." (New Mexico prosthodontist)
Remember the patients…
- "The needs of the patient take precedence. Every dentist is (or should be) aware of his own capabilities. When the patient's needs require the services of a specialist, the dentist refers to the specialist. When the dentist has the capability to treat the case himself, he does so. This has always been true for all types of dental treatment, not just prosthodontics." (California dentist)
"I only refer patients if…"
- "Unnecessary unless the patient's occlusion is out of the ordinary." (New York dentist)
- "Only for the most difficult cases. I do not like sending profits out the door." (Delaware dentist)
- "Only negative ridges that need implant rehabilitation." (Pennsylvania dentist)
- "Only the every toughest cases…maxillofacial reconstruction or the patient with a bagful of 'bad dentures.' However, I will take these patients on if they have implant placement." (Virginia dentist)
- "I refer out very complicated cases, but I have found that most dentures can be handled in my office with the support of a good lab." (California dentist)
What do prosthodontists know that general dentists don't?
- "I'm skeptical; I have found that their skills are not superior to mine." (Missouri dentist)
- "Prosthodontists certainly cannot make dentures better than I can. Send all of your cases to me, a dentist." (Texas dentist)
- "Why? Unless it is maxillo-facial reconstruction work, what do they know that I do not?" (Pennsylvania dentist)
- "They have less experience than I do." (Missouri dentist)
- "Young dentists for the most part do not have very much experience in school to be competent in full and partial dentures." (Illinois dentist)
- "No problem. 20-25% of denture patients' problems are above the nose." (Arizona dentist)
Send all your bad patients away
- "There are some that need to go to the prosthodontist and thank goodness for these specialists! I referred my 'denture patient from hell' to a dentist that specializes in dentures, and he told me the only mistake I made was taking this patient on." (New Mexico dentist)
- "They deserve any fee for the patients I send. They are a great place to send your nightmare patients." (Illinois dentist)
- "It depends on the level of expertise of the dentist, whether or not the dentist is comfortable with fabricating dentures and the adjustments that
come with tissue changes due to a variety of health factors. Also critical is the patient's frame of mind: do they present with a gag of dentures from previous dentists? That should raise a huge red flag and may indicate the patient needs counseling from a different kind of professional."
Dental implants, meet prosthodontics
- "My 1978 University of Southern California Dental School graduating class was taught how to perform denture services. I never enjoyed doing dentures until I began offering dental implants for support and retention; now every complaint has a solution." (California dental implantologist)
How prosthodontists help dentists
- "Prosthodontists are invaluable for allowing me to charge what I need to make quality dentures. While I can't compete with the $250 per plate newspaper ads, I can show them my prosthodontist's fee, and they know they are getting a bargain. If they are unreasonable patients, the prosthodontists are not even breaking even on my referrals." (Michigan dentist)
- "Thank god for them…because I, like most other dentists I know, can't stand doing removable…." (North Carolina dentist)
And when there's no prosthodontist in town?
- "Very few dentists make dentures. If someone in this town could make good, predictable dentures for happy, grateful patients, then some serious money could be made. My charge for a denture set is about $2,000. I would love to satisfy the demand for quality dentures and make some money also." (Oklahoma dentist)
- "We have no prosthodontist in our area. Both of our doctors are well-trained & abreast of technologies. Referral would only be of benefit for those patients there is no pleasure in treating." (Georgia dentist)
- "We have none to refer to in Trinidad & Tobago!" (Trinidad dentist)
Advice from dentists
- "We have a prosthodontist in our community who I found out with some investigation that is NOT board certified. When patients go to him for treatment, he encourages them to stay and what is even more frustrating, he misdiagnosis frequently and "creates" more business for himself. A patient recently came to our office with a temporary denture this prosthodontist made for her. She
was extremely frustrated because she had just spent $15,000.00 on a maxillary temporary denture. We created a new denture for just a fraction of the cost and she was extremely delighted. He also diagnosed another patient with advanced periodontal disease and when evaluating her, she had no pockets over 3 mm!! Such trust in another prosthodontist must be sometimes done with thorough investigation of his honesty and integrity along with his credentials!" (California dentist)
- "I know how to do something that even prosthodontists do not do. I can cement a crown with minimal tooth structure so it will never come off. That is done by putting little deep scratch marks or grooves on the internal of the crown and placing small grooves also, parallel to the gingiva on the remaining tooth structure. Then a resin cement locks into the undercuts and the crown never can come off again." (California dentist)