I just read an online article that says I should be looking for a prosthodontist if I want a dental implant. This was the first time I’ve heard of this. Don’t prosthodontists make dentures? Why can’t I safely go to my regular dentist for dental implants? I don’t really want to change doctors for this, but I also want to make sure I don’t have any problems.
You’re right. Prosthodontists make dentures. However, they specialize in oral prosthetics, such as missing tooth replacements.
General Dentists Can Provide Dental Implants
A general dentist absolutely can offer you dental implants. Dentists learn how to do virtually all types of procedures during dental school training, and many take additional training on a topic as part of their continuing education requirements. If your dentist offers this service, it’s because he believes he’s proficient enough to provide you with good results. However, general dentists often work with specialists, such as oral surgeons, periodontists, and prosthodontists to ensure the surgical portion is done perfectly.
Why a Prosthodontist May Be a Better Choice
While general dentists receive training on the bite and dental implants in school, there are several reasons that a prosthodontist might be a better choice:
- They are specialists who have received extra years of schooling to better understand these processes.
- Their skills are used more often, so they more proficient at it, which enhances patient outcomes.
- Both the dental implant and the crown can be placed by the prosthodontist, which can decrease the chance of errors or miscommunication between an oral surgeon and restoring dentist.
If you could choose between a dentist who learned about a procedure briefly several years ago and performs it once every month or two versus another dentist who spent years learning about it and does several cases similar to yours in an average week, you would likely choose the specialist. Again, that doesn’t mean that a general dentist can’t perform the work properly or is ill-equipped to do it, but if you’re undergoing surgery and investing in your smile, you undoubtedly want to have the most skilled doctor perform your surgery.
Choosing a Dental Implant Doctor
- Seek out someone who does the procedure regularly.
- Ask if the dentist has received any additional training.
- Ask about his or her success rate.
- Read reviews and check out before-and-after photos.
This blog is sponsored by Naperville American-board certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca. Dr. LaVacca is a specialist who offers comprehensive dental care for the whole family in addition to prosthodontic services.