It seems to be prevalent these days that many general dentists are calling themselves ‘implantologists’ without there being an implant specialty in dentistry. While there are multiple disciplines of dentistry involved in the placement of implants and the general dentist is at the bottom end of the scale for expertise, training and experience. The majority of dentists are general dentists, but press the envelope of ethics by calling themselves ‘implantologists’ or implant specialists. Granted they all have undergraduate degrees with either a BA or BS and at least four years of dental school with either a DDS or a DMD as the result and by law are allowed to place and/or restore implants. But not one of them has an American Dental Association recognized ‘implant specialty’ in dentistry. Those dentists who choose to make the claim do so by virtue of deciding to focus on implants in their general practices. The American Dental Association (ADA) only has nine recognized post dental degree specialties and implant dentistry is not one of them. These specialties range in one to six years of advanced training beyond dental school. At the end of their post doctorate dental degree, these dentists receive additional certifications in their respective specialties, thus becoming what should be considered experts within their fields of dentistry. Some are either board eligible or board certified. Of the ADA specialties only three truly have special post doctorate training in implants and they are:
Oral Surgeons, Periodontists, and the least known, Prosthodontists (who generally orchestrate the placement and final restoration of the implant).
Prosthodontics: (derived from the word prosthesis, ergo crown, bridge, and implants) A Prosthodontist has a dental specialty license pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes. Most dentists are not trained prosthodontic graduates of a dental school – rather they take short continuing education and utilize trial and error experience to be able to understand how size, shape, color and symmetry all work together to create what a prosthodontist is trained in their post graduate work. Contrary to this hit or miss self-anointment, the prosthodontist is trained at an ADA approved university to create the smile that implements the use of veneers, crowns, bridges and the increasingly more common procedure of dental implants to ensure that the right smile is achieved, both functionally and aesthetically. If anyone has a specialty in implant dentistry or the right to call themselves an ‘implantologist’, it would be the ADA sanctioned prosthodontist. Of the 170 thousand dentists in the U.S., less than two (2%) percent are trained prosthodontists. So when you are seriously looking for a cosmetic dentist to provide you with the best implant result, look for a prosthodontist.
Dr. Scheinfeld received her prosthodontics degree from Emory University School of Dentistry in 1988. Her prosthodontics’ instructor Dr. E. Neal Kopp practiced with her for 14 years until his death in 2008. In addition, Dr. Sidney Tourial, an adjunct Emory Prosthodontic professor and next year’s GDA President has been in the practice for over 19 years.
Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC
290 Carpenter Drive, 200A
Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328
- Dentist in Sandy Springs – A Prosthodontist is your ADA cosmetic dentist. (therightsmile.wordpress.com)
- Dentist Sandy Springs – ADA Accredited Prosthodontist is Your Cosmetic Dentist (therightsmile.wordpress.com)
The future of Implant Dentistry is here now. (therightsmile.wordpress.com)