It is important to remember that with any surgical procedure, there are inherent risks that could be alleviated with experience. Dental implants are becoming a more common and desired option for tooth replacement.
Dental implants have such a high success rate (95-97% for 30+ years). This high success rate is likely due to the fact that most implants have been placed by highly skilled specialists (oral surgeons and periodontists) who completed surgical residency programs. These surgical specialists have an in-depth knowledge of surgical techniques, as well as the diagnosis and treatment of potential complications.
The comprehensive training and experience of the surgical specialists (oral surgeons and periodontists) enable them to diagnose and manage the potential complications that can occur with surgical procedures.
Some general dentists, prosthodontists, and endodontists have attended specialized training courses on surgical implant placement and have achieved very successful results placing implants for their patients. However, they may not always feel comfortable managing and treating potential complications that are routine for surgical specialists. As a result, some patients have experienced serious implant failures and complications that could have been possibly avoided if they had been treated by surgical specialists.
If you are considering dental implants or any other surgical procedure, the following questions can help you make an informed decision about your treatment and your oral health.
1) What is your specialty?
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons and periodontists are the only ADA recognized surgical specialists.
As periodontist, Dr. Britten specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, the placement of dental implants and bone grafts, and treatment of oral inflammation. Periodontists also perform cosmetic periodontal surgery.
Dr. Britten has received an additional three years of specialty education and surgical training beyond dental school.
2) What is the extent of your training and experience in implant placement?
Oral surgeons and periodontists will be more than willing to share their extensive training and experience with you.
If you are considering implant treatment provided by a non-surgical dentist, ask specific questions about the implant training courses they attended, such as the name of the courses, dates, duration, and sponsorship. You should also ask how many courses they attended on the management of complications and may even want to ask how many implants they have placed.
3) Ask to speak to other patients. Their experiences can be invaluable in determining if you are in good hands.
4) Speak to the staff about dental implants. If they cannot answer your questions, the office probably does not provide implant procedures on a regular basis.
5) Ask to see before and after photos of cases. Surgicals specialists have likely performed hundreds, or even thousands, of implant procedures and are usually happy to share their successful case results with you.