Dental implants have been around for well over twenty years and have proven highly successful. The most significant advancements in the field have occurred in the past five years in which the success rate has risen to around 96%. Implant companies that were considered the best brand have now been surpassed. New advances in the technology, bone manipulation, and prosthetics have come leaps and bounds. For this reason the most important factor in choosing a dentist or specialist is that he/she has extensive post graduate training.
Being a dentist, periodontist, or oral surgeon is not enough. What was taught years ago is now considered obsolete. Dentists can no longer ride on the coat tails of a specialty or their degree allow them to proclaim themselves an implant specialist. Be sure to check for recent post graduate training. There is currently no such thing as an “implantologist or implant specialty” so don’t be fooled. It is very common for a highly trained general dentist to be more knowledgeable than a Periodontist or Oral Surgeon in certain aspects of implant dentistry. Be sure to look for a dentist with focus and training in the field.
So back to the topic:
Who should place your dental implants a general dentist, periodontists, or an oral surgeon. The answer is: there is no right or wrong answer. In some cases highly qualified general dentist is the first choice, in other cases a periodontist or an oral surgeon should perform your surgery. The key is to have a general dentist with focus on dental implants to help you make the right decision. It is extremely important that you find a dentist that understands your particular case so that he can guide you through the entire process. Whenever possible it is best to have the dentist who will place the final tooth or teeth also place your dental implant. Relaying information between your dentist and his specialist can be like playing whisper down the lane in which vital information can potentially be lost along the way. It is imperative to find a dentist with who has good communication with his surgical team.
Located in Atlantic County New Jersey, Dr Mendelsohn noticed a lack of advanced dental implant learning centers. He decided to travel to further his knolege in the field. He has spent years and continues to travel to New York and Miami to attend courses in advanced implantology. His mentor is Dr. Arun Garg an well published author, and founder of Center Of Dental Implants of South Florida. Dr. Mendelsohn has completed over 500 hours of CEU with the Implant Seminars Training Facility.
Oral Surgery is a recognized international specialty in dentistry which includes the diagnosis, surgical and related treatment of diseases, injuries and defects involving both the functional and esthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the head, mouth, teeth, gums, jaws and neck For congenital disorders such as cleft palate and other early developmental issues, OMS surgeons are the specialists of choice. Prosthodontists often work hand in had with oral surgeons to help develop orthotics and prosthetic appliances to treat a number of functional issues.
Restorative procedures are rarely provided by an Oral Surgeon although he or she will work with the general practitioner to provide the treatment in a “seamless” fashion in which the general dentist may act as the captain of the ship helping to execute a well planned treatment outcome.This means that the teeth are not restored at the surgeons office and the patient will be re-directed back to the general or cosmetic dentist who originally referred the patient.
Periodontist is the specialty that focuses on the supporting structures of teeth, diseases, and conditions that affect them. The supporting tissues are known as the Periodontium, which includes the gingive (gums), alveolar bone, cementum, and the periodontal ligament. Tissue repair, replacement and augmentation are common procedures. Not all periodontal specialists however, perform implant dentistry procedures. Implant services, if provided by a Periodontist, typically are not restored at the same time. Rather, the patient is re-directed back to the restorative or general dentist who originally referred the patient.
Because of the basic referral process whereby additional appointments, time frames and additional needs for diagnostics (performed or yet to be performed), it is not uncommon for communication to break down along the way.The restorative dentist typically has an idea or visualization of what the patient’s eventual cosmetic and functional outcome will be. Chances are stone models, photographs, X-rays, articulation studies,diagnostic wax-ups may be needed to relay the information to the specialist to make them aware of the desired final outcome. If these are not discussed you may consider finding a more qualified restorative dentist. The quality of communication between the restorative dentist and specialist play a role in determining the quality of the final cosmetic and/or functional result
A growing number of dentists are attending specialized dental implant workshops and institutes that are designed to equip dentists with the skill sets and hands-on experience required in implant dentistry. These Post Graduate training facilities are frequently operated through universities and dental schools, along with training specialists employed by manufacturers of dental equipment, supplies and technologies. New Jersey is lacking in these types of facilities and Dr. Mendelsohn has spent years with implant seminars traveling to NYU, The miami Dental implant institute and even Orlando hospital to gain advanced dental implant skills. His credentail can be viewed in the staff section of this website.
This may can be equivalent to what is taught in dental specialty schools but more importantly provides an understanding of the technologies and hands-on experience with certain facets of dental reconstruction that some specialists don’t have. It is not uncommon for a general dentist to be more “exacting” in the placement of implants that can exceed what a periodontist or oral surgeon can provide (access to cat scans, CAD/CAM engineering fabrication, PRP equipment, access to lasers, expert in oral surgery and suturing, etc.).
Trying to decide which dentist/doctor would represent the most advantageous choice is not a simple task.
When the primary focus is on correcting serious periodontal issues (gum disease, loose teeth, connective tissue abnormalities, etc.) a Periodontist has the specialist training and most access to resources to a degree that exceeds most, if not all, general practitioners.
Oral surgeons can be the perfect choice for Orthognathic Surgery, complex jawbone reconstruction (disease, physical trauma complications, congential deformities), complex extractions, TMJ joint surgery, etc.
Patients who are researching local resources for implant tooth replacements will discover many general dentists are very active in the placement of dental implants. As mentioned above, some dentists develop special interest areas within dentistry, as a result of practicing general restorative dentistry.
Interests in technology, dental science, bonding chemistry, porcelain component fabrication (we know of one general dentist who earned a Federal Patent on porcelain crown fabrication), laser electronics, holistic dentistry, minimally-invasive dentistry, occlusal physics upgradeable dentistry (delivering treatments that are not wasted) and striving to deliver “cutting edge” dentistry is what differentiates the average dentist from “special focus” dentists.
Determining who or which practice is best involves a lot of due diligence. Relying totally and singularly on having a Specialist Title does not guarantee the best cosmetic and/or functional result, although it does provide a margin of safety.
If Cosmetics are the primary goal, research restorative dentists who have the most access to technologies, the most documented case histories of complex cases (good dentists who love their craft can be expected to have ample photography), a strong willingness to discuss or describe what they do (we all enjoy talking about what we do best) and have actual patients you can talk to who have had similar treatments. These groups of dentists can also be expected to have large accumulations of CEU Post Graduate training credits on their resumes.
A general dentist with a long history of successfully treating the most challenging cases are usually in the best position to make a marriage of implant dentistry and dental cosmetics. Many dentists have developed proven treatment – procedure combinations that produce the best results for a given dental issue and incorporate a seemingly long list of brand names, dental labs and sequence (what to do first, then second) that changes for each patient.
When dental function outweighs cosmetics (keeping teeth, overcoming congenital growth issues, controlling rampant disease, treating trauma related damage, etc., specialists are the resource of choice. General dentists, orthodontists, pediatric dentists and medical doctors usually function as the referral source.
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