The Difference a Dental Implant Specialist Can Make
If you’re considering getting implants to replace missing teeth, a dental implant specialist can make a big difference to the outcome of your treatment. Research has revealed that almost one in five implant procedures by general dentists fail. The overall high success rate of implant treatment is down to the fact that most of it is carried out by surgically skilled implant specialists.
Surgical expertise is necessary to achieve the optimum depth of an implant without damaging facial structures including nerves. An implant that’s positioned incorrectly can cause irreversible damage, and a dental implant specialist will be experienced in minimizing the risks of implant surgery.
Dental implant specialists are also skilled in:
- Evaluating your overall wellbeing as well as your oral health.
- Assessing the quality of the bone structure in your jaw.
- Inspecting the alignment and function of your jaw.
- Appraising the way your teeth bite together (occlusion).
Implant Specialists vs. General Dentists
General dentists are well qualified to carry out relatively straightforward procedures such as fillings and extractions. Dental surgeons, on the other hand, have been trained in all aspects of oral surgery. The only surgeons recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA) are maxillofacial (jaw and face) and oral surgeons and periodontists.
While a family dentist may have taken a few courses on implants, dental implant specialists have been specifically trained in medical school on this procedure. Specialists in dental implants also use systems that have been extensively researched in clinical studies and they can also deal with any problems that may arise during surgery.
Implant specialists have a thorough understanding of the aesthetics of implants in terms of your facial structure and appearance. An implant specialist can also make a difference when it comes to preventing complications arising from the procedure. Like any surgery, there are risks associated with implant placement, including infection. An implant specialist will take specific precautions to prevent infections. When you take all of these considerations into account, it become apparent how big a difference a dental implant specialist can make, compared with general dentists who just happen to do a few implants from time to time.
Questions to Ask an Implant Dentist
To help you find the right implant dentist, we’ve put together a list of six questions you might consider asking.
1. What are your qualifications?
A big difference between implant specialists and general dentists is the level of training they receive. Any licensed general dentist can carry out implant procedures, but dental surgeons and implant specialists undergo years of further training in a hospital-based residency after dental school.
2. How many implant procedures have you carried out?
Compared with general dentists, a practice specializing in implants will have far greater experience in the procedure and will keep up to date with evolving implant technologies and techniques.
3. How long have you been doing implants?
To gain proper experience, dentists need to have carried out implant procedures regularly over a long period of time.
4. What is your success rate?
Dental implants have the highest success rate of of any implanted surgical device. However, if a dentist tells you they have a 100 per cent success rate with implants, they probably haven’t placed many. Implants provided by dental implant specialists have a success rate of 95 per cent or above over 30 years. Implants by general dentists have a success rate of about 80 per cent.
5. Can you handle both the surgical aspect of the procedure and the restoration itself?
Some dentists don’t do both implant surgery and the restorative procedure of fitting the crown. In these cases, you’ll need to see two dentists to complete your treatment, probably in different practices. Specialists can offer a complete implant service.
6. How do I know you won’t hit a nerve?
A thorough assessment by X-rays or digital scans is imperative to avoid complications like hitting a nerve. Implant surgical specialists work to a high level of precision to protect nerves from damage.
Implants and Bone Grafts
If you don’t have sufficient bone in the jaw to take an implant, you’ll need a bone graft. This is another area where an implant specialist can make a big difference. In some cases, another bone graft procedure called a sinus augmentation may be necessary in implant treatment to increase bone mass in the upper jaw. Besides being surgically qualified to perform grafts, the best implant specialists will have state-of-the-art 3D digital scanning equipment to precisely assess bone quantity and quality.
Implants and Sedation
When considering the difference a dental implant specialist can make, you should take sedation into account. The American Dental Association insists that dentists receive special training to administer sedation. Additional training is required for IV (intravenous) sedation certification by the Board of Dental Examiners. Look for an implant specialist licensed for sedation by the ADA and IV endorsed by the Board of Dental Examiners.
Understanding the Difference a Dental Implant Specialist Can Make
The aesthetics and functionality of implants has made them a popular alternative to other systems of tooth replacement. Implants feel like natural teeth, so you can eat and speak as normal. They also look natural. A further benefit of implants is that they help to prevent deterioration of the facial structure by preserving bone. The Institute for Dental Implant Awareness (IDIA) stresses that it’s vital for patients to understand that not all dentists are equally qualified to carry out dental implants. This highlights the difference a dental implant specialist can make.
Many dentists may claim to be specialists in implant procedures but you owe it to yourself to find a genuine dental implant specialist you can trust. A true dental implant specialist will be happy to discuss all aspects of the procedure with you to help you make an informed decision on whether implants are right for you. At Sanford Dental Excellence, our experienced dentist, Dr. George Mitrogogos, will thoroughly discuss with you the dental implant options you have. Contact our office today to find out more!
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