A dental implant procedure is a surgical procedure undergone by patients who need to have a false tooth implanted where a real one used to be.
The procedure is typically an outpatient one involving anesthesia and a relatively quick recovery time. Most implants are done in a two-step process in which first a metal post is installed by cutting open the gums and then drilling a hole into the jawbone; the patient leaves the office for several months as new bone grows around the post. After that, the gums are opened once again, and the platform for the false tooth and the false tooth themselves are installed.
So, who’s able to perform a dental implant procedure and which should you choose? Well, let’s go over who’s qualified first:
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the supporting structures of teeth and how they relate to the rest of a patient’s oral health as a whole. They have a comprehensive understanding of what to expect underneath the gumline and how teeth are supported by all other parts of the mouth.
Oral Surgeons/Maxillofacial Surgeons
These are surgeons who specialize in surgeries of the mouth, including but not limited to dental implants. They have a strong understanding of all structures in the mouth and face and how to best work with them to achieve patient results.
General dentists are permitted to perform dental implant surgery, but usually, if they do so, they have also undergone additional training. Without this additional training, a general dentist does not often have the surgical experience or understanding of the deeper structures within the mouth and face necessary for successful dental implant surgery.
Here at Dental Smiles Unlimited, we have general dentists and surgeons to handle a wide variety of our clients needs.
Specialists who work on placing the false teeth on the implants themselves are referred to as prosthodontists. Typically, a prosthodontist will work with a periodontist and step in once the implant has been installed.
Who Should You Choose for Your Dental Implant Procedure?
Most often, general dentists do not perform the dental implant surgery themselves as it is a specialized surgery that they might not have all of the required knowledge or experience to undergo. It’s important to ask your dentist how often and how many times total they have performed dental implant surgery and how often they do so, as well as their typical results. A general dentist should only be chosen if they are comfortable and experienced with this type of procedure.
Oral/maxillofacial surgeons are more adept than general dentists at surgeries involving the mouth than a general dentist. Typically, they are very well versed in the placement of dental implants. However, they also deal with many more types of surgeries than dental implants and aren’t necessarily part of the dentistry profession. They are more closely related to surgeons than they are dentists.
Periodontists or a periodontist/prosthodontist team are often most qualified to perform dental implant surgery. They have specialized knowledge of the underlying structures of the teeth and how the jawbone affects how well the implant will take and have often performed the procedure many more times than any other option on this list.
While many of the professionals on this list are capable of performing the surgery and many from all disciplines can do so well, the best bet is on a periodontist. Their specialized knowledge of all of the underlying parts of the teeth and jaw make them prime candidates for the procedure, plus the fact that they very often deal with the area and dental implants specifically.
Talk to your dentist if you are unsure, do your own research, and best of all, read up on reviews from other patients who underwent the same procedure before making a decision.