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What dental professionals do dental implant procedures?

Nicholas M. Dellorusso, DMD
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
Any properly trained dental professional can place and restore a dental implant. Since placing a dental implant is a surgical procedure you want to be sure you go to someone who is experienced in oral surgical procedures and who can handle any complications.
Oral surgeons and periodontists frequently perform dental implants. While both of these specialists are trained to place implants, oral surgeons may be used for more complex cases that need special attention. Less commonly, general dentists and prosthodontists have been known to place implants. More commonly, periodontists, dentists, and prosthodontists place the crowns, and oral surgeons place the implants.
In most all cases the patient should begin by consulting with the restoring dentist, either a general dentist or prosthodontist who has had training in implant procedures. They will work with the patient to determine the most appropriate treatment to best achieve the patients desired result. After a course of treatment has been determined then referrals may be made for some procedures such as bone grafting, tissue grafting, sinus lifts, and actual placement of the implant, depending on the training and experience of the restoring dentist.

In many cases, the surgical phase of the implant procedure is done by periodontists and oral surgeons (who place the implant in the jawbone). The crown over the implant can be restored by a general dentist or specialist called a prosthodontist. What is most important is that there is communication between the surgeon and the restoring dentist prior to the start of treatment so that the completed case functions properly.

Generally speaking, a general dentist, oral surgeon, periodontist, or prosthodontist can place implants. Endodontists (root canal specialists) are acquiring knowledge and experience in implant therapy. The key here is understanding that there is a surgical (or placement) phase and restorative phase of implant therapy. General dentists and prosthodontists deal with both aspects in placement and restorative. However, some cases will need the expertise of oral surgeons and periodontists. It is imperative there is communication between the placement and restorative practitioner. Furthermore, do your due diligence in asking the proper questions of the practitioners' experience and results in implant therapy.

Technically, any dentist is licensed to both place dental implants into the jaw and restore (attach the tooth) to the implant. However, in practice, usually dental specialists called oral surgeons or periodontists usually place the implants and general dentists or dental specialists called prosthodontists usually attach the tooth.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.