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FAQ:  Implants


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Question:
Oral Surgeon or Periodontist for Implant Surgery? Which type doctor is better at performing dental implant surgery?

An Oral Surgeon or a Periodontist? My dentist told me that an oral surgeon was the best. However my neighbor told me that her dentist told her that a periodontist was the best. ... Visitor from IL

Answer:
Maybe both, maybe neither... Implant dentistry is a restorative discipline with a surgical component. People do not want dental implants. They want teeth and the sole purpose of the implant is to act as an artificial root.

Oral surgeons are highly trained dentists who have an incredible knowledge of the maxillofacial region of the body. Most have hospital privileges. Patients who have severe medical problems, require complex bone grafting procedures are best served by a team including an oral surgeon. Most of the new oral surgery graduates have training in the surgical placement of implants with limited practical experience. Many experienced oral surgeons have taken the time to become educated in the field as well.

Periodontist practices deal primarily with the treatment of diseases of the gums and bone which support the teeth. They are the plastic surgeons of the mouth. Once again their formal training has implant training and limited practical experience. Many periodiontists have taken the training necessary to place implants. Patients who require periodontal treatment, moderate bone grafting and very precise soft tissue manipulation should consider having a periodontist on the team.

In both of the above cases the team leader must be the restorative dentist. If the implant is placed in a location where in can not be restored properly the long term prognosis may be compromised. To avoid the miscommunication that may happen when multiple doctors are involved consider selecting a doctor who will take responsibility for the entire process.

There is no specialty for implantology. However, there are dentists who have training in the surgical, restorative and esthetic components of implantology.

Ask your dentist how many cases that they have completed together. How do they communicate the exact location of the placement of the implant. Will the restorative dentist be present during the surgical procedure if the planned site needs to be altered due to the quantity/quality of bone, or if a different type of implant may be indicated?

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