I have a missing tooth (no adult tooth after I lost the baby tooth), and I'm thinking about having an implant to fill the gap. What should I look for in a dental implants dentist? Or will I need some kind of specialist to do this work?
How Do I Find a Good Dental Implants Dentist?
Doctor Answers (7)
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Best dentist for dental implant
The best approach is to have a specialist (oral surgeon or periodontist) to place the implant and a restorative dentist to restore it with a crown. There are key questions to ask that can help you find the right team. I caution against dentists who perform the surgery and restorations themselves. They are two entirely different disciplines.
Please read my article on RealSelf called: How to choose the right dentist for your dental implants?
How to find a good dentist for Dental Implants
That’s a terrific question. The best way to find a good dentist is by asking your friends and co-workers if they like their dentist. I would then schedule a consultation to make sure you are comfortable with the office, the staff, and the dentist. Once you find a dentist you trust find out if he places implants himself or if he works with a specialist. Many dentists have advanced training and years of experience in performing implant surgery. Others feel comfortable in working with a specialist to place the implant while they restore the implant(s) with a crown or bridge. One approach is not necessarily better than the other, what’s important is for you to have well trained doctors handling your case.
I would advise you to ask for before and after pictures of implant cases that he performed. If a doctor is unable to provide those, for any reason, that should raise a red flag. You can also ask the doctor to provide patients whom you can contact for reference. You may even ask to come to the office on the same day as another patient who recently had the procedure so you can talk about their experience. I find that most patients have no problem talking about their procedures with other prospective patients. What other patients tell about their experience is very valuable and usually extremelly accurate.
Your current dentist can find an implant doctor for you
I generally like periodontists to do the implants for me. They are highly skilled in gum surgery and gum techniques and have advanced education. Some GP's do lots of implants and are good, so it's all about training and experience. Don't go to a new graduate for implants.
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Experience is the key
Seek out someone that has decades of experience. Some Implant Dentists like myself do both the surgical and the restorative phases of treatment themselves. Some work as teams with a surgeon and dentist.
Many patients prefer dealing with one skilled Implant Dentist with the ability to do both the surgery and the restorative work. That individual may also have the ability to make things more affordable as well.
You need to find and be comfortable with a surgical/restorative dental team
Generally, a periodontist will work with a restorative dentist to provide a diagnosis and a plan prior to the implant placement. The diagnosis is not just sizing up the space and placing the implant. The bone and soft tissue (gum) volume have to be assessed in order to provide the correct dimmensions for the appropriate implant size.
How To Find The Best Dentist
Here are some things you can look for in your search for a good dentist or dental specialist (e.g. implant specialist). Visit several offices to get several opinions. In the office, you should feel the dentist is current with sciene and technology (using the latest and best materials and techniques).
You should be able to view cases like yours that the dentist has done well -- make sure the photos are of the dentist's own work. Check for credentials -- awards, accreditations, certifications, and achievement honors show that the dentist does work that is exemplary. Also, make sure the dentist's achievements are current -- a dentist who was accredited in the 1980s was using material that are now outdated.
You should have a good feeling once you find the right dentist/specialist for you. Take your time visiting practices -- it's an investment in your health and appearance that is worth the time and money it takes to find the best.
Implant dentists should be trained and experienced
No dentist wants to offer inferior care. If a dentist is not capable, they make appropriate referrals, no matter what the service is.
If a dentist offers to do an implant, they are likely equipped and trained. If you have concerns, ask about their experience and perhaps some photos of their own cases.
A specialist may not be necessary, but is certainly not a bad choice.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.