International Journal of Prosthodontics and Restorative Dentistry
Volume 10 | Issue 3 | Year 2020

Recognizing Maxillofacial Prosthetics as a Subspecialty in India: Need of the Hour

Himanshi Aggarwal

Department of Prosthodontics and Crown and Bridge, Saraswati Dental College and Hospital, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Corresponding Author: Himanshi Aggarwal, Department of Prosthodontics and Crown and Bridge, Saraswati Dental College and Hospital, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India, Phone: +91 9369610205, e-mail:

How to cite this article Aggarwal H. Recognizing Maxillofacial Prosthetics as a Subspecialty in India: Need of the Hour. Int J Prosthodont Restor Dent 2020;10(3):95–96.

Source of support: Nil

Conflict of interest: None

The Dental Council of India (DCI) is the recognizing apex body for dental sciences education in India.1 Prosthodontics and crown and bridge is one of the nine recognized dental specialties in India that pertains 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 maxillofacial tissues by using biocompatible substitutes.1,2

Maxillofacial prosthetics (MFP) is one of the subdivisions of prosthodontics; the others being fixed prosthodontics and removable prosthodontics.3 According to the Academy of Prosthodontics, “Maxillofacial prosthetics is that branch of prosthodontics concerned with the restoration and/or replacement of the stomatognathic and craniofacial structures with prostheses that may or may not be removed on a regular or elective basis”.1 Beyond the scope of common dental specialties, maxillofacial prosthodontists offer a wide variety of treatments, providing rehabilitative prosthesis or therapeutic appliances for individuals with anatomic compromises of the head and neck due to congenital or acquired traumatic or surgical defects.4,5

Although a part of prosthodontics, MFP is not taught in detail in most of the undergraduate and postgraduate dental curriculum, resulting in a serious scarcity of healthcare professionals capable of managing patients with maxillofacial defects. Additional clinical skills, knowledge, and experience are required for the successful rehabilitation of such patients.6 In contrast to developed countries like the United States, Japan, etc., where MFP is quite advanced; it is still at a nascent stage in most of the developing countries including India.7

Unlike medical education, where superspecialty/subspecialty exist, currently, there are no subspecialties recognized in dentistry in India and the United States.1,7 However, recently in August 2020, the American College of Prosthodontists released a position statement emphasizing the need of giving a subspecialty status to MFP to address the extensive, complex, and diverse needs of this cohort of the challenged patient population that requires MFP services.7

Head and neck cancers account for 30–40% of all cancers in India compared to 3–4% in the United States and it is estimated that approximately 188,969 people will develop head and neck cancer in 2020 in contrast to 65,000 for the United States.7,8 The latter recognized the need for dedicated education programs in MFP more than half a century ago, which resulted in the formulation of various advanced training/fellowship programs in MFP.3,4 A combined 48-month integrated prosthodontics residency program or a 12-month fellowship program following completion of a prosthodontic residency is available.4 Presently, there are seven 12-month MFP fellowship programs and one 48-month combined program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) in the United States.4

However, in India, despite the increase in oral cancer cases and increased need for MFP rehabilitation services, there is a relative scarcity of options available for advanced training in MFP. Fewer training options such as a 1-year dental rehabilitative oncology fellowship offered by Healthcare Global Enterprises Ltd (HCG), Bengaluru; 2-year Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI)-dental and prosthetic surgery fellowship offered by Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai is available.9,10 There is an utmost need to recognize such fellowships and define minimum educational criteria to meet the essentialities of MFP. Recognizing MFP as a subspecialty will provide impetus to institutions to initiate and strengthen MFP training programs. A large task force of systematically and extensively trained maxillofacial prosthodontists are imminently and inevitably needed in India. It is the need of the hour to recognize this to ensure that the patients with maxillofacial defects are not just treated but rehabilitated in the true sense.


1. .Last accessed on 16/12/2020.

2. The glossary of prosthodontic terms. 9th ed. J Prosthet Dent 2017;117(5S):e1–e105. DOI: 10.1016/j.prosdent.2016.12.001.

3. Moore DJ, Dexter WS. The current status of maxillofacial prosthetic training programs in the United States. J Prosthet Dent 1994;72(5):469–472. DOI: 10.1016/0022-3913(94)90116-3.

4. Sheets JL, Pinkston DJ, Yuan JC, et al. U.S. maxillofacial prosthetics programs: fellows’ and directors’ perspectives. J Dent Educ 2018;82(12):1335–1342. DOI: 10.21815/JDE.018.138.

5. Yanagi A, Sumita Y, Hattori M, et al. Clinical survey over the past 35 years at the clinic for maxillofacial prosthetics Tokyo Medical and Dental University. J Prosthodont Res 2018;62(3):309–312. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpor.2017.12.002.

6. Elbashti ME, Aswehlee AM, Hattori M, et al. The future of maxillofacial prosthetics in Libya. Libyan Dent J 2016;6:26221335.

7. Srivastava A, Andersen MR. Subspecialty recognition of maxillofacial prosthetics. Posit Statem Am Colle Prosthodont 2020. Available from:

8. Mathur P, Sathishkumar K, Chaturvedi M, et al. Cancer statistics, 2020: report from National Cancer Registry Programme, India. JCO Glob Oncol 2020;6(6):1063–1075. DOI: 10.1200/GO.20.00122.

9. .Last accessed on 16/12/2020.

10. .Last accessed on 16/12/2020.

© The Author(s). 2020 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and non-commercial reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.