Making the choice to get a dental implant is a big decision. Many dentists perform these procedures, but some are better equipped with more extensive training. The prosthodontist has all the training of a general dentist, plus additional training in dental prosthetics, including dental implants. When it comes to creating a natural-looking tooth to fill that gap in your smile, the extra training can make a huge difference.
The Prosthodontic Advantage
The additional training a prosthodontist receives can make a big difference in the way your implanted tooth looks. While most dentists who have adequate training in placing dental implants can do an acceptable job, the prosthodontist has the advantage of understanding the nuances of creating a tooth that not only functions well as a replacement, but also looks more like your natural tooth.
The field of prosthodontics is a dental specialty recognized by the American Dental Association. Training in this area includes diagnosis, treatment planning, maintaining oral function and oral health. It also includes training in the appearance and comfort of various dental prosthesis, such as dentures and dental implants.
Training for the prosthodontist includes dental school with at least three additional years of advanced training and education. This extra training is done in an accredited prosthodontic graduate program. In the program, these dentists receive extensive training about dental cosmetic treatments, dental implants, crowns, bridges, removable dentures and disorders of the temporomandibular joint as well as other treatments.
They specialize in replacing missing teeth. Whether it is a single tooth, multiple teeth or a full arch of missing teeth, your prosthodontist has the expertise to make the replacement and restore your smile to one that looks authentic. Many dentists can do some of these procedures well, but the prosthodontist is the expert and provides the gold standard of tooth replacement.
Why a Prosthodontist Is Your Best Option
When it comes to tooth replacement, the prosthodontist has the specialized training that can ensure your replacement will look as natural as possible. There are many small nuances to creating an artificial tooth that looks the same as a natural tooth. Not all dentists are aware of these small factors and not all of them realize the difference each factor can make.
The education and training of the prosthodontist is advanced, so their expertise and training with cutting-edge technology is more extensive than that of an average dentist. They work with state-of-the-art techniques and equipment to produce the best results. With their expertise, they are able to treat complex dental conditions and restore your smile to its healthiest and best appearance.
The board-certified prosthodontist is your assurance that the dentist has taken and passed an examination conducted by the American Board of Prosthodontics. The examination is a rigorous test of the candidate’s knowledge and expertise in the field of prosthodontics. Passing it successfully is an indication that the person is fully qualified to be a prosthodontist. Re-certification for this specialty is required every eight years.
The Aesthetics of a Dental Implant
Replacing a tooth may seem a simple procedure. Getting the replacement to blend in with your natural teeth may not be as straightforward as it seems. There are many factors involved in creating a replacement tooth that looks like it belongs in your mouth. The one thing you do not want is a tooth that stands out from your other teeth.
The color of the replacement tooth not only needs to match your natural teeth, the tooth also needs to fit its position in your mouth. Your natural teeth, without any enhancements, are slightly lighter in the front than they are in the back. A replacement tooth that is too light or too dark may stand out more when you smile. Your prosthodontist understands this subtle difference in tooth coloring and knows how to create an artificial tooth that mimics the appearance of a real tooth in that position.
The shape of the artificial tooth is also important. While teeth are not necessarily definite mirror images of each other on either side, they are significantly similar. Your prosthodontist takes this into consideration when designing the artificial replacement for your missing tooth or teeth.
These small factors can make a substantial difference in the authenticity of the appearance of your smile. If they are not considered, your smile can still look decent, but there will be something that is “not quite right.” It could be a tooth that is too dark or too light. It could be a tooth that looks slightly out of place because it is too different from the tooth in the same position on the other side of your mouth. A prosthodontist ensures that your smile will look as authentic as it would if you had all your natural teeth.
The Ideal Dental Implant Candidate
The first thing your dentist will do is thoroughly examine your mouth to make sure you are a good candidate for a dental implant. Ideal candidates for the procedure have:
- Excellent oral health
- Good oral hygiene
- Healthy gums
- Adequate bone density
- Healthy diet
The success of the dental implant depends on both patient and dentist. Your prosthodontist will create the ideal replacement for your missing tooth or teeth; however, in order for the implant to be fully successful, there are certain criteria you must meet, and you must be willing to continue excellent oral hygiene to ensure the health of your implant.
Excellent oral health to begin with is important. A high-level of oral hygiene and oral health are indicators that you know how to maintain a good oral environment. A dental implant needs to be adequately cleaned daily and examined at regular dental checkups.
Healthy gums are required in order to place an implant. Diseased gums can indicate bone loss. An adequate amount of bone is needed for an implant to be successful. Bone loss may also occur if a tooth has been missing for several years. Bone loss does not necessarily mean that you cannot have a dental implant, but it does require more extensive treatment if one is to be placed.
Your overall health is a factor also. Eating nutritious foods that support oral health and healing are desirable. A diet loaded with healthy foods promotes good oral health as well as overall health. This is important, especially during the healing process with the dental implant.
Smoking compromises your health in many ways and it has a very detrimental affect on your oral health and your body’s ability to heal itself. For these reasons, non-smokers are better candidates for dental implants.
Questions About Dental Implants
You may have several questions about getting a dental implant. We cheerfully answer all your questions at Aesthetic & Implant Dentistry of Atlanta. Some questions you have may include:
- Am I a good candidate for a dental implant?
- How will an implant affect my oral health?
- Do I need a dental implant?
- How long can I expect the implant to last?
- Will I need to take time off from work for the procedure?
- Will placement of an implant be painful?
- What is the cost of the procedure?
- Is this covered by my insurance?
You may have more questions and we invite you to ask them. It is vital that you feel comfortable with this important decision regarding your oral health. The prosthodontists at Aesthetic & Implant Dentistry of Atlanta will work with you to produce your best smile and restore optimal oral health. Call us today to schedule a consultation appointment.