The first dental implant, an artificial tooth root that holds a replacement tooth, bridge or denture, was introduced to the United States back in the 1970’s. At the time, there was only one dental implant, the Branemark Implant System. It remains the model for today’s modern implant. The idea was conceived by a Swedish orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark, while working with titanium metal chamber to study bone healing. He found that titanium could fuse to bone, also known as osseointegration, which makes a titanium dental implant successful.
Upon introduction to the marketplace, Branemark only sold dental implants to the best oral surgeons. The company did not allow other dental professionals to place their implants. Unfortunately, today there are no restrictions, implied or otherwise, regarding who can buy and place dental implants. And, today there are hundreds of companies manufacturing dental implants and thousands of dental providers who place them. As with most products and providers, the quality of each will vary. Placing dental implants is a surgical procedure and should be handled by a board-certified surgeon, specifically an oral surgeon or periodontist. Specialists have the proper surgical training and understanding of implants that lead to a successful completion of a treatment plan. The success rate of dental implants placed by board-certified oral surgeons is 98%.
Your dentist is uniquely qualified to restore your tooth with a crown, bridge or a denture; and, while working cooperatively with your oral surgeon, a patient can expect a seamless treatment plan. Unfortunately, many general dentists are opting to place implants these days. The failure rate for these implants is approximately 20%. There is too much time and money involved with dental implants to run the risk of failure. Consider the reasons that your dentist may offer to place your implant.
I encourage each patient to consider the unique specialties, training, and experience of each dental provider involved in your case. As a general rule, there are very few doctors that can successfully provide all of the services needed. The interdisciplinary approach is clearly the best way to ensure a quality and long-lasting result.
Dr. M. James Clark is a board-certified oral surgeon specializing in wisdom teeth extractions, implant dentistry and the treatment of other conditions of the mouth, face and jaw. Dr. Clark practices at the Technology Forest office of Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. For questions about oral surgery, feel free to email Dr. Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.