Why See a Prosthodontist for Dental Implants
You have been told dental implants are an option for you… Now what?
In your research, you may have found that several specialists ‘do’ dental implants such a periodontists, oral surgeons, prosthodontists, and even general dentists, but what does that mean and how do you know what the right option is for you? Historically, a periodontist or oral surgeon typically ‘placed’ the implant and had the tooth structure, crown/cap, completed after the fact by a prosthodontist.
So what is a prosthodontist and why would you go to a prosthodontist for your dental implant care?
As with anything, time creates a more perfect solution and now, many prosthodontists are well trained in the surgical aspect of dental implants in addition to being specifically trained in restorative and aesthetic treatment. Prosthodontists complete a three-year specialty residency through an accredited prosthodontic graduate program following four years of dental school. Upon passing the American Board of Prosthodontics certification exam, they receive the designation of prosthodontist: specialists in aesthetic restoration and replacement of teeth.
Prosthodontists are extensively trained in proper fit and placement of implants, dentures, crowns and bridges, TMJ, sleep apnea and snoring, traumatic injuries to the face, mouth, and teeth, and restorative cosmetic dentistry.
- Complete a 3-year residency prosthodontic graduate training program.
- Utilize advanced laser dentistry in their treatment.
- Can explain occlusion as part of your treatment in terms you can understand.
More recently, many (but not all) prosthodontic programs are training surgically in placing implants, as they are the ones who are restoring the teeth. As prosthodontists are the specialist in occlusion (LINK HERE), they are the ones who need to plan the surgical position of the implant so it aligns perfectly with where the teeth are intended to be placed. In addition, if the bone structure is compromised at all, they are the ones who plan for the full effect of dental implants and the overall bite.
Think of this like a house (tooth) on its foundation (dental implant):
For a solid house, the foundation must be created to fit the architecture of the structure. If the structure is place solely where the ground is the best, the house will have to be built to sit on that foundation, although it may not be the best strategy in the long run. For the ideal outcome, the foundation must be created with the end in mind. Same for your bite: if implants are placed in the areas where the bone is most perfect, without planning for the outcome, the teeth and bite will end up being created to fit on those implants. However, with planning for the end result in mind, the bone and surrounding area can be prepared to the ideal, and then the final outcome is perfect. This expertise makes prosthodontists the number one choice for implant placement.
How is a prosthodontist different from other dentists and dental specialists?
Choosing a prosthodontist to perform your dental implant placement is choosing the most qualified and highly trained surgeon within the specialty of replacing missing teeth. This will not only guarantee the best treatment outcome possible, but also ensure peace of mind that you are truly in the hands of an expert. When searching for the best professional for the job, look for a prosthodontist who is committed to lifelong learning and may be versed in areas outside of their specialty, such as orthodontics, periodontics, surgery, dental lasers, etc.
If you’re still not sure how to proceed with your dental implant care, set up a complimentary virtual conversation with Dr. Spitz, and ask all the questions you have, 617.277.4100.