Get to know Donald Schmitt, DDS, MSD, and certified prosthodontist.

He’s an implant specialist and an expert in prosthodontics, all in one.

Dr. Donald Schmitt is a board-certified prosthodontist who originally graduated from the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry. He went on to specialty training in prosthodontics at Indiana University School of Dentistry, where he received his specialty certificate in 2004. There, he was a recipient of the I. Lester Furnas Award for Academics, Technical and Clinical Proficiency in Prosthodontics and the John F. Johnston Scholarship Award for Excellence in Clinical Prosthodontics. He also worked as a clinical instructor in prosthodontics for three years at the university and completed his master’s degree in dentistry with a focus in advanced prosthodontics and dental materials.

After receiving a specialty certificate in prosthodontics, Dr. Schmitt went on to serve for four years in Anchorage, Alaska with the US Air Force. During his service, he was chief of prosthodontics at Elmendorf Air Force Base and provided prosthodontic dentistry for active duty members, including dental implants, fixed and removable prosthodontics, maxillofacial prosthodontics, and forensic identification. In 2008, Dr. Schmitt received a master’s degree in prosthodontics and finished the certification process of the American Board of Prosthodontics, a four-part examination process that he began in 2004.

While in Alaska, Dr. Schmitt worked in private practice from 2007 until 2008, when he joined Dr. Douglas Phillips. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Prosthodontics, a Fellow of the American College of Prosthodontists, and a member of the American Dental Association, the North Carolina Dental Society, the Buncombe County Dental Society, and the John F. Johnston Society. He is licensed in California, Indiana, and North Carolina.

When he isn’t assisting his patients in our clinic, Dr. Schmitt loves to have fun with his three young children. He also enjoys cooking and outdoor sports, and has even jumped in the Arctic Ocean (though no one is precisely sure why anyone would do that!)

Prosthodontist? I’m not sure I’m familiar with that term.

You might say it’s a hybrid or combination of two words, both of which help identify a particular specialization of dentistry and oral care. The word “prostho” actually means replacement, while “dontist” (which sounds a lot like dentist, right?) simply means anything pertaining to teeth. A prosthodontist must receive three-plus years of additional training beyond dental school in an ADA-accredited program for prosthodontic graduates. Prosthodontists can help with the restoration of a missing tooth or assist you with jaw structure problems like temporomandibular disorders (a fancy way of saying TMJ/TMD). They can also assist with cosmetic dental procedures and everything from a bridge or a crown to partials and full dentures.

Okay, but how is a prosthodontist different from, say, my regular dentist?

Prosthodontists are highly trained, making them ideal to oversee and help direct all your dental care. Due to their advanced training and requirements to stay on top of developments in their field, prosthodontists make an excellent choice to lead your personal dental team. Think of them as highly specialized dentists who have continued to develop their skill sets to offer you the widest array of services and specialties.

What is board certification, and should I insist on it from my dental care providers?

To ensure the highest level of quality and care for your family, various boards help oversee the training and education of medical professionals working in the field of dentistry. For example, if you’re seeing a board-certified prosthodontist such as Dr. Schmitt, you can relax knowing you’re in well-trained, well-certified hands. A board-certified prosthodontist has had to pass the examination of the American Board of Prosthodontics, or ABP, and must recertify every eight years. You can learn more about the ABP here.

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