If your general dentist has told you that you need your teeth straightened, you probably will be referred to an orthodontist. That is because orthodontists have received education in helping them learn the best outcomes to achieve straighter teeth. They are experts in this area of this practice.
Have you ever considered how much education your implant dentist has? Or how many areas of dentistry they must learn to become proficient? Implant dentistry is considered a specialty area because it requires education in many different disciplines, which include oral surgery, periodontology, prosthodontics, and restorative dentistry.
An implant dentist needs to have knowledge of oral surgery because there are a lot of landmarks in the oral cavity and it’s important to know what to look for. Since there is work with soft tissue or gums, the dentist needs to act like a periodontist. Once the implant has healed and the artificial tooth needs to be placed, the implant dentist acts like a prosthodontist to properly restore the site. All of these steps, including patient care, help the implant stay healthy over its life and in many cases, over the life of the patient.
Choosing an Implant Dentist
If your general practitioner does not also place implants, you might be referred to multiple practices until the procedure is complete. But sometimes your general practitioner may be your implant dentist—a person who will complete all of the work in one office, eliminating the need to see multiple practitioners. Your implant dentist will surgically place the implant and prosthodontically restore the implant in one office.
The key to being a qualified implant dentist is education and credentials.
When choosing an implant dentist, consider their education level and whether they have worked to earn credentials (which require many hours of continuing education). These are either earned from the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) or the American Board of Oral Implantology (ABOI).
The AAID offers educational programs to help dentists become proficient in planning for and placing implants. For example, to become a fellow of the AAID, 400 hours of continuing education are required along with 5 years in the practice of implant dentistry. Also, the practitioner must be fully knowledgeable in both the surgical and prosthetic (restorative) phases of implant dentistry.
To become board certified or a diplomate, even more education is needed, including 670 hours of continuing education and passing written and oral examinations.
What to expect
Patient education is also an important part of the implant procedure. Patients should know how long it takes from start to finish. Implant surgery may be comparable to hip or knee surgery because it takes time for the body to heal just as it will for your implant to be placed. Discussing this helps patients understand what is needed for a successful procedure.
Your dentist may explain the different types of options available to replace your missing teeth and why one might be better than another, such as a bridge, a partial denture, or an implant-supported restoration. In the case of an implant, patients need enough bone to sustain the implant (screw). If there is not enough, there are ways to improve outcomes.
Because of the complex process of implant surgery, it's important to take time to learn about all of the education that your implant dentist has received and ask questions about the procedure.
Dr. Allen Ghorashi has practiced dentistry for 25 years, including 15 years specific to surgery and restorations. He believes that his patients benefit from his vast education and that he is able to help them through the entire process.
Dr. Ghorashi received his dental degree from Northwestern University’s School of Dentistry and is a devotee of continuing education. He has achieved numerous awards and certifications, including an AAID Fellow and a Diplomate in Implant Dentistry with the American Board of Oral Implantology. He practices in Ramsy, NJ, with his wife who is an orthodontist, in a family-based practice.