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Who is the best implant dentist: a periodontist, an oral surgeon, or a general dentist?

A dental implant dentist sits alone next to an empty treatment chair in a dental practice.Can you clear something up for me?

I’m confused about who I should see to get a dental implant because I originally thought that there was just one implant specialist who does this kind of treatment. But wherever I look, I see periodontists, dentists, and oral surgeons all advertising implants. I’m trying to get a straight answer before I schedule a consultation, but no matter which practice I call, they all tell me they are the best choice for dental implant treatment. I don’t know who to believe.

— Stephen from Albany, NY

Dear Stephen,

The simple reason for your confusion is that there’s no dental implant specialty recognized by the American Dental Association. Here in the United States, you’ll find qualified specialists in nine areas of dental treatment, but dental implant treatment isn’t on the list.

This means that any dentist, periodontist, or oral surgeon who has learned how to place implants can offer the treatment, but there’s no such thing as a dental implant “specialist.”

Naturally, each doctor will explain why his or her unique training or qualifications make them the best candidate for placing your implants, but the choice is ultimately yours to make.

Depending on your individual case, you may even need to visit more than one doctor to complete your treatment from start to finish. For example, a periodontist might do an excellent job placing your implant, but they will refer you to a restorative dentist who will design and place your implant restoration.

Do your research on the training, qualifications, and patient testimonials and reviews of each dental implant provider you are considering. If you still can’t choose between them based on your research, try asking each of them these questions:

  • How many patients have you treated with dental implants?
  • How many dental implants have you placed?
  • How many of them have failed? (Note: dental implants are highly predictable and successful, so failures are rare, and a provider will recall the few, if any, cases of implant failure they’ve observed in their career.)
  • How long have you been placing dental implants?
  • How much time have you logged studying the dental implant procedure?

A doctor’s answers to these questions can help you find out if he or she is the right provider for your dental implant treatment.

This post has been published on behalf of Owasso dental implant dentist Dr. Heng Lim.