Nowadays, because of the advances in technology, 3D imaging, and all of the research and studies that have been done on dental implants, they’re generally a safe procedure. But just like anything else, having expertise in an area is really critical.
Now, what every patient really should know is there’s no real certification to be an implant dentist. So, it really relies on the skills and the independent education that the dentist is given. So, for example, in dental school, as graduating to be a dentist, there’s very little work that’s done more now than ever before. At the collegiate level, at the universities, there’s very little work on implant dentistry. When I was there, there was a separate course that you could take just as an adjunct to your normal courses, an elective per se. So, not a whole lot offered there afterwards.
Then you get into which specialties kind of gravitate toward it, certainly oral surgery. There are oral surgeons that then gain experience in the hospitals and in their residencies doing some of these procedures. That’s how they gain their experience before they work out in the community.
Then you have periodontists. These are specialists that deal with the gum and the bone. And so their claim to implant dentistry also exists then general dentistry, and that’s where we’re seeing the lion chair of implants being placed nowadays in really the world over. So, there is no specialty.
Where you should go is to someone that does a lot of them, has a lot of experience, has a history of a good education. Maybe they’re speakers on the subject matter, but they’ve invested enough time and developed expertise through mentorships, through organized programs, through continuing education to really understand the nuances. Really, anyone can place a dental implant if you’re a dentist of any kind. There are nuances of management, and there’s also a lot of nuances with patient satisfaction.
Not to delve into a whole other area, but when you’re dealing with, say, removable dental implant devices, like a denture, a lot of the patient experience has to do with the prosthetic portion, and that’s related to how the implants are placed. So, are the implants placed in a position or in multiple positions where the denture can snap on and off in an appropriate way? Are the proper tools and abutments and pieces used inside of the denture so that everything snaps in evenly? Is there any gaps or spaces noted that need to be adjusted or refit so that the patient’s experience is preserved? After all, patients are really saying, I’d like to have a great solution out of this. I’d like to have my dentures stable, I’d like to have my tooth look good. All of that really goes into the process of starting from the process of who should place the implant.