Dental implants are being widely touted as the most significant development in dentistry, both on the Internet and in advertisements in the mainstream media. Many of the advertising claims have created misconceptions about who should be providing dental implant treatment: the implant “super” center, the dentist doing everything under one roof, or the traditional team involving a surgical specialist and a restorative dentist?
Implant “super” centers are advertising nationwide that they are the experts in implant dentistry and that their doctors are more experienced with dental implant treatment. While theses centers do have experienced specialists providing dental implants, the treatment plans are not personalized for the unique needs of individual patients. The same treatment concept, All-on-4, is recommended for patients needing complete tooth replacement. This “team” of specialists is not focused on saving teeth or providing alternative treatment plans. Therefore, patients have more options available to them in the private practice team setting, where the specialists take the time to review all treatment alternatives, rather than promoting one treatment concept.
More general dentists are also advertising that they provide everything under one roof, without any collaboration with specialists. Unfortunately, many of theses ads promote the dentists as having expertise that they don’t have. These dentists are simply not as qualified to place dental implants as surgical specialists. However, since dental implant treatment involves surgical procedures, the quality of care, patient safety, and optimal treatment outcomes should be the most important consideration. This level of care is only possible when the doctors providing treatment have the experience and expertise necessary to perform the procedures with consistent, ideal results.
The team approach, involving a surgical specialist (Oral Surgeon or Periodontist) and a restorative dentist or Prosthodontist, collaborating to provide patients with treatment options that are personalized for their individual needs, offers patients optimal treatment outcomes. In this team concept, the doctors are providing treatment in their areas of expertise, rather than trying to be a “jack of all trades and master of none” with dental implants. This is critical, as it is nearly impossible to become an expert in all surgical and restorative procedures involved in comprehensive dental implant treatment.
Patients considering dental implant treatment should select a team of doctors in private practice that will work with them to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses their concerns and meets their unique needs.