If dental implants are what you need to replace your missing teeth, you should select an implant dentist with in-depth knowledge of, and prior experience with all aspects of the treatment. It is important to know that treatment with tooth implants consists of two components: a surgical phase and a restorative phase.
Traditionally, a dental surgeon, like an oral surgeon or a periodontist, performs the surgical component. A general dentist, or prosthodontist and laboratory technician, performs the restorative component.
As dental implant dentistry has become more sophisticated, the restorative dentist, at times, also has become the one that places the dental implants. However, each clinician involved in implant treatment must be aware that the type of final restoration a patient wants dictates the position, size, and number of the tooth implants within the jaws.
For each unique missing tooth situation, there is an equally unique way to use dental implants for tooth replacement. However, all of the treatments can be placed in two categories: removable or fixed prostheses.
Implant dentists use removable implant dentures when a patient is missing all of their teeth. Fewer tooth implants are necessary when used in conjunction with a removable denture.
Conversely, more dental implants are necessary when used in conjunction with a fixed bridge. Fixed bridges feel most like your natural teeth and are usually more desirable than removable dentures.
Mastering new surgical and restorative techniques as they are developed is the mark of an excellent tooth implant dentist as well as overall implant dentistry. An implant dentist's meticulous attention to fine detail conveys a feeling of confidence to the patient. The dentist should be committed to restoring full function to the missing teeth as well as recreating natural-looking teeth. These are the qualities a patient should look for in an implant dentist.
By Benjamin O. Watkins, III, DDS