Considering A Dental Implant?

Are you considering a dental implant to replace a missing tooth or teeth?  According to most dental professionals, an implant is the best option to permanently restore function and aesthetics.  It is a replacement for the tooth root that supports the bone and the crown to provide a natural-looking tooth.

Where to Start?

Once you have decided on an implant, where do you begin treatment?  To start with, it is important to consult with your general dentist.  In most cases, your general dentist will confirm that a dental implant is needed, and he/she will refer you to a board-certified oral surgeon.  Your oral surgeon will consult with you and provide a treatment plan that will include your general dentist.  See below for a delineation of responsibilities:

Initial assessment                                        General Dentist

Teeth extraction (if necessary)                  Oral Surgeon

Bone grafting (if necessary)                       Oral Surgeon

Placement of Implant                                  Oral Surgeon

Restorative crown, bridge, denture          General Dentist


Why is it best to use two dental professionals? 

A general dentist is a trained in many aspects of dentistry including restorative dentistry.  He/she is extremely capable of restoring the beautiful smile or basic functions that you are seeking.  On the other hand, a board-certified oral surgeon is specifically trained to extract teeth, place dental implants, and administer anesthesia.

The failure rate of implants placed by surgeons is less than 1%; whereas, the failure rate of implants placed by other dental professionals is 18%.  The cost to use both  a general dentist and a surgeon is not more expensive as a general rule.  Each provider is uniquely qualified to successfully complete your treatment plan.

As you continue to contemplate implant dentistry, do your research.  Make sure that your general dentist and oral surgeon are qualified and trained to provide the treatment that you need.  Get second opinions if you feel that is necessary.  This is your mouth, money and time.  The results will be worth it!


Dr. M. James Clark is a board-certified oral surgeon, practicing at the Technology Forest office of Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery.  Questions for Dr. Clark can be submitted to   He will be happy to answer your dental implant questions and refer you to general dentist, if necessary.