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Understanding Dental Implants

What are dental implants?

If you or someone you know has lost teeth to an accident, disease or decay, dental implants can be an excellent solution to restore your teeth to their functional, natural-looking state without temporary fixes like bridges or dentures.

Whether you are in need of replacement for a single tooth, several teeth or a full set of teeth, San Diego Center for Dental Restorations has the dental implant solution for you. Dental implants look and feel like your own natural teeth, and they are strong and stable enough to allow you to eat most of the foods you want. Not only are they functional, but they can also restore your confidence and give you the beautiful smile you once had.

What are my options?

With so many dentists claiming to be “experts” and “leaders” in dental implant treatments, there is a lot of confusion about choosing the right dentist for this important dental procedure. Traditionally, dental implants are performed by a certified team including a surgical specialist, prosthodontist and experienced general dentist. Nowadays, with so many implant centers advertising their expertise or convenience and affordability, the process of finding the right dental implant specialist can be mind-boggling.

Understanding the benefits of the professional team approach compared to other options is important in determining the best option for you. Here are some of the dental implant options available:

The surgical and restorative team

Having an ADA-certified oral surgeon or periodontist should be an important consideration when choosing a dental team for your surgical dental procedure. These surgical specialists have the years of training and expertise to meet any potential complication head on, and they work together with prosthodontists to beautifully restore your teeth to a functional, natural-looking state. Prosthodontists are also ADA recognized and have the extensive training and experience needed to tackle complex cases like complete dental implant replacement.

By working together, the team approach offers vast advantages for dental patients. Because of the team’s multiple areas of expertise, patients are exposed to a wide spectrum of dental implant solutions to help each individual receive his or her optimal results. Through collaboration, the prosthodontist can not only provide a customized, comprehensive treatment plan for each patient, but she can also hand-select her ideal team of specialists for each personalized treatment. By choosing a collaborative surgical and restorative team, you are choosing long-term dental health, continuing care, and optimal oral health for the long haul.

The implant “supercenter”

Some dental offices house an in-house surgical specialist, restorative dentist and dental laboratory technician under one roof to make dental implant treatment more convenient for the patient. While this concept is relatively new, it is important to consider the skill and experience of each doctor at that single location, as not all implant supercenters will have the in-house expertise required to proceed with the best treatment available.

The most important consideration when it comes to dental implant treatments should be the expertise of your surgical specialists and restorative dentist. Are they educating you about your treatment options, or is there only one method offered? Will they consider all of the options for your overall dental needs, or are they focusing on implant treatment as the only solution? Will the implant center provide ongoing evaluation and maintenance, or will they simply provide dental implant treatment without continuing care? These are just a few of the questions you should ask your implant center before proceeding with treatment.

The implantologist

Implantologists are dentists who provide both the surgical and restorative functions of the dental implant procedure. An expert implantologist has extensive training in various implant treatment modalities and carries all level of control throughout the entire dental implant procedure. Even the most skilled implantologist, however, can never reach the level of expertise in all surgical and restorative dental specialties to provide the optimal comprehensive treatment for each patient.

Patients should beware of general dentists who claim to be the all-encompassing implantologist. Some general dentists assert that they have the expertise required to take on the surgical implant procedure, yet they have only taken an abbreviated 1-3-day basic surgical training course. These dentists do not have the adequate training on surgical procedures required to manage potential complications or complex cases and should be avoided at all costs.

Am I a good candidate for dental implants?

Choosing to get dental implants can be a big decision, and it is important to know if you are a suitable candidate for dental implants. At San Diego Center for Dental Restorations, Board Certified Prosthodontist Dr. Pamela MacPherson conducts a thorough full-mouth examination of patients’ teeth, gums and bite to determine whether or not you are a qualified candidate for dental implants.

If you have areas of untreated disease in your teeth, gums or bone, dental implants may not be a viable option for you, as these problems can affect the success of your tooth replacement surgery. Contact our office today to schedule an oral exam to see if dental implants are right for you.