It is important for the public to understand that there is no such thing as a Dental Implant Specialist. The American Dental Association recognizes nine specialties and none are for dental implant specialist. There are many dentists who have special interests in dental implants and elect to continue their post graduate educations with special interests in these areas. Technically speaking, there are two aspects to implant dentistry that need to be considered and neither is a recognized specialty:
1) Dental Implant Surgery and Placement of the actual implants
2) Prosthetic or Restorative Aspect: this is the plan of how the teeth will be placed on the dental implants
These photos show a properly planned dental implant case from a surgical and restorative perspective:
Whereas all dentists can place and restore implants, not all surgical or prosthetic skills are the same. Some dentists, including myself, elect to focus on the restorative aspect of dental implants and collaborate with other dentist or oral surgeons and periodontists for the surgical placement. Proper planning is essential and there should be a complete “blueprint” completed prior to surgical placement. If the implants are placed in the wrong area, or at an incorrect angle, it can affect the long term prognosis and the function of the implants as well as the cosmetic results of the whole case. A lot more consideration and planning goes into a dental implant case than most people recgonize.
In retrospect, if you are considering dental implants, ask questions about ones experience and training in dental implants as well as to see photos of completed cases close up. Both the surgical phase and restorative phase should be planned at the same time. Additionally, todays standard is to use a 3D scan so that no guesswork will be involved.