Burgeoning consumer demand for dental implants has prompted dentists nationwide to add implants to their practices, and some have mounted aggressive advertising campaigns to promote implants to consumers. But how can patients objectively evaluate the qualifications of a dentist to perform implant surgery
Today, the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID, www.aaid.com), the leading professional society for dental-implant practitioners, advised consumers interested in implants that in-depth practitioner training and experience are critical for successful outcomes, and prospective patients should inquire about a dentist's implant qualifications.
"It can be a difficult decision to undergo surgery to insert dental implants to replace one or more missing teeth," said AAID President Joel Rosenlicht, DMD. "Many practitioners, including general dentists, are well qualified to provide implant treatment, based on their extensive experience and in-depth training. However, beware of those who simply attend a weekend implant seminar."
Rosenlicht further explained it is impossible for a dentist to become proficient at implant surgery over the course of a single weekend. "Regardless of whether a dentist is a specialist or a general practitioner, attending a weekend session isn't enough. There is a higher level of risk with the procedure if the dentist hasn't had extensive, specific training and experience in placing and restoring dental implants."
He added that implant surgery is precise and very predictable, but it is an invasive procedure that requires excellent surgical skills. "In most cases, the surgery won't be successful unless patients have sufficient bone mass in the jaw to secure the implant. So rigorous training and extensive experience are critical factors when judging if a patient would be a good candidate for implants."
The AAID recommends that consumers research qualifications carefully when selecting an implant dentist. Key questions that should be asked are:
Have you had comprehensive post-doctoral or continuing education in implant dentistry
Do you have credentials awarded by a recognized implant dentistry organization
Rosenlicht noted AAID is a bona fide dental implant credentialing group and more than 700 dentists worldwide have earned credentials from the Academy. "AAID doesn't give credentials, dentists must earn them," said Rosenlicht. "Associate Fellows must prove they have obtained at least 300 hours of post-doctoral continuing education in implant dentistry and must pass comprehensive oral and written examinations that include cases they have treated. Fellows must demonstrate even more," he added. Earlier this year, a Florida court ruled the AAID credentialing program provides substantial training that enhances proficiency and competency and benefits consumers as well.
AAID can help consumers find a local credentialed implant dentist at www.aaid.com. It is the first organization dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of implant dentistry by supporting research and education to advance comprehensive implant knowledge.