submitted by Dr. Michael Spadafora, D.D.S., Bucks County Dental Design
Replacing missing teeth using implant technology has been available to patients for well over 25 years. It has been in the last decade, however, that dental implants have become more mainstream, with much of the general public having at least a basic understanding of implants.
Currently, dental implants are the standard of care for the treatment of missing teeth. That means that when your general dentist recommends an implant, he is suggesting treatment that is widely regarded throughout the professional dental community as the “gold” standard.
Certainly, there are other solutions for the problem of missing teeth, but they are inferior solutions. After you and your dentist have decided on a dental implant, he will usually refer you to a specialist (either an oral surgeon or a periodontist) for the first stage of treatment.
The general dentist and the specialist will work in tandem to ensure that the implant is placed in the optimal position for the restoration work that follows. The two dentists will communicate regularly about the treatment, outcome, and healing.
After a number of months, when it is determined that the implant has integrated, or bonded, with the bone, the specialist will direct you back to the general dentist for completion of the case.
There are a few exceptions to the scenario describe above. Some dentists are completing continuing education programs to become capable of placing the implants in the general dental office.
The best courses are time consuming and expensive and illustrate a desire, on the part of the dentist, to become competent and able to offer the full product to the patient.
Finally, some national and regional dental implant offices are opening and advertising. Approach them with caution and knowledge.
Regardless of where you decide to have your implant done, remember that you are your own best dental health advocate.
Ask questions, do your research, and get a little excited – you are making a commitment and investment in your own health.