Dental Implants Should Not Be a Specialty, Say Dentists

Post comments about dental implant dentists to our blog.

Dental implants as a dentist specialtyThe clear majority of dentists (77%) don’t think that
dental implants should be an ADA-recognized specialty.

In this survey, 85% of general dentists and 67% of specialists oppose making dental implantology a formal specialty.

“Implantology involves both surgical and restorative phases, so it is unlike the true specialties, in that all of its essential procedures cross the lines between disciplines," opined one dentist. "Since implants involve dental implant surgery, prosthodontics, occlusion and esthetics, the general practitioner is best positioned to provide implant services, as no ‘specialist’ in any of those fields can provide all the services needed for completion of a dental implant case. By definition, then, dental implants properly fall under the definition of general ractice."

Should implant dentistry be a recognized specialty?

Specialists and GPs should work together

  • “The oral surgeons or periodontists should be placing the implants in the bone – a good restorative dentist can place the implant crowns or over-dentures.” (Florida dentist)

Dental implants demand expertise

  • “I do not believe dentists should be placing implants unless they are certified specialists in implantology.” (Alabama dentist)
  • “It IS a specialty when done at the highest levels.” (Dental implantologist)
  • "It should be a specialty via credentials post grad. There are enough periodontist and oral surgeons who do a poor job but even more dentists who don't understand implant dentistry. Let's give credit to those specialists and generalists who really know implant dentistry!"
  • “Implant dentistry should become a subspecialty recognizing those doctors (specialists and non specialists alike) that have received additional training to perform implant dentistry proficiently.” (Periodontist)

Everybody places tooth implants

  • “I don't think it is necessary to make this a specialty since oral surgeons, periodontists, prosthodontists and general dentists like me all place implants, and many restore. I do think fellowship training is good, and credentialing like I did with the AAID and ABOI are valuable, i.e., to test one's knowledge."
  • “Implants are a part of my General Practice, and have been since 1986. I would hate to see certain fractions in dentistry fight over this….i.e., Oral Surgeons, Periodontist, dentists, etc. It WILL be ugly.” (Massachusetts dentist)
  • “Dentistry is a specialty of medicine. Dentists should make sure they are qualified to treat conditions of the oral cavity without creating any more subspecialties than we have now…. Implants should be dental school course just as endodontics, periodontics, etc.” (General dentist)

GPs should be doing implants

  • “Implantology involves both surgical and restorative phases, so it is unlike the true specialties, in that all of its essential procedurescross the lines between disciplines. When any dentist practices two or more services that are already covered by dental specialties, that dentist is called a ‘general practitioner.’ Since implants involve dental implant surgery, prosthodontics, occlusion and esthetics, the general practitioner is best positioned to provide implant services, as no ‘specialist’ in any of those fields can provide all the services needed for completion of a dental implant case. By definition, then, dental implants properly fall under the definition of general practice.” (California dentist)

Yuck

  • “More education for doctors, staff and patients.” (Indiana dentist)
  • “It's the new specialty for periodontists.” (Michigan dentist)
  • “The last thing dentistry needs.” (New Jersey dentist)

It would just make things worse

  • “There are enough turf wars about implants as it is. Even endodontists are getting into the act now. No need to have a separate specialty.” (General dentist)
  • “The politics of delineating who the 'specialists' are is an impossible task. Is it the surgeons, the prosthodontists, the periodontists, the G.P.? Who trains them? Most G.P.'s have no concept of graduate dentistry. They have only recently 'discovered' evidence-based dentistry. Ask any specialist about how we were trained! What do you do with the likes of me who have done restorative implant dentistry for 25 years? Leave as is. It will only muddy the waters.” (New York prosthodontist)

If it’s needed, it will happen

  • “There are already a number of ADA recognized specialties that encompass the field of dental implants, i.e., Oral Surgery, Periodontics, Prosthodontics. There is a formal process to add a new specialty to dentistry through the American Dental Association including the entire accreditation protocol. If there is enough interest in the dental community, and a true value for patients in creating a specialty of 'Implantology' then it should happen in the same manner as all the other specialties. Until then, the good news is that if a dentist desires to be considered an 'implant specialist,' he/she can. Apply to and complete one of the many existing university based residency programs throughout the United States.” (Prosthodontist)

The cost of dental implants
is high enough already

  • “There are so many degrees of implant dentistry. I do all aspects from block bone grafting, sinus elevation, periodontal cosmetic dentistry work, free hand implants and computer guides. I am a dentist. In my region, we don't have specialists. If this was a specialty, then the persons I service would not have been able to receive this level of care. Also the specialist prices would have affected their choice of treatment. At this time, Dentists placing implants should display the advanced schooling they have in the area and give the client the option to make their choice.” (General dentist)

Specialists are not royalty

  • “Things are good as they are. We should not elevate individuals to royalty status. I believe that Drs take on responsibility as their education allows. Implants are becoming a common area of practice for both the oral surgery/ periodontist and dentist. In my experience, the dentist is going to place the tooth implant to make it restorable without doing acrobatics in the lab. I do see a trend where some implant Co's are encouraging the perio/oral surgery specialists to place the implant as well as the abutment. These folks could be the driving force behind your survey.” (Texas dentist)

What's the right educational path?

  • “I was going to do Pros as a specialty because it involve implants. Whoever, I changed my mind since it doesn't involve surgery. There were implantology programs, but the idea that you spend 3+ years to become an implantologist and not being recognized for it discouraged me. I think it should either be a specialty or have the pros people do more surgery or have the perio people do more pros(have dual specialties). If you look at the implantology programs they are all filled with international students who look to become competent in this aspect to go back to their countries with it. If it becomes a specialty, more national dentists will try to do it as they will see it worth being invested in and that will raise the level of our profession.” (General dentist)

 

Note: Survey sample included 98 respondents.

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