We live in a world that sometimes devises ‘ologist’ labels to both infer, and deride credibility. A gizmologist is an expert in gizmos and gadgets; a sleazologist investigates the sordid and corrupt; and a dissectologist is a lover of jigsaws.
Any dentist – periodontist, oral surgeon, orthodontist, prosthodontics – can become a qualified implantologist, and the term is use exclusively by dentists certified and accredited by the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID).
General dentistry focuses on repairing teeth, and ensuring they remain healthy. Training is in routine dental care and minor dental procedures. Often general dentists will also choose to specialise in particular procedures for which they will additionally study and train.
Implantology is the dental discipline of bone and soft tissue preparation for the placement of implants. Although implantology is not a registrable specialty in some places, specific training is still undertaken because the placement and restoration of implants is a delicate business.
Even with the similarities between an implantologist and a prosthodontist, they’re not exactly the same. A prosthologist is a highly trained dental specialist with expertise in tooth replacement and the restoration of oral health and function throughout the entire mouth.
Up to three years of additional accredited training is required to become a prosthodontist because of the complexities of the dental cases under this specialty. Along with jaw surgery, implants and dentures, prosthodontists can make veneers, crowns, and bridges in the restoration and replacement of teeth.
Prosthodontics is the discipline of diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of oral function. It encompasses the comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with deficient or missing teeth with the use of biocompatible materials. Because of their broad knowledge of restorative dentistry methods, prosthodontists are called upon by orthodontists, periodontists, endodontists and oral maxillofacial surgeons when a complex reconstruction or rehabilitation is required.
There are many types of implants available, and for an implantologist, they must have completed least 400 hours of continuing education, with at least five years implant dentistry experience.
The highest honour in implantology in countries recognising its accreditation is an AAID Diplomate. This ensures at least seven years of implant dentistry, have treated a minimum of 75 patients and passed a rigorous two-part exam.
Essentially, a prosthodontists is the ultimate expert for any replacement to do with the mouth: a single tooth, multiple teeth, or all teeth and gums. While other dentists can do some of these treatments, prosthodontists are dedicated to this type of specialist care.
An expert in anything is someone with broad and deep competence in terms of knowledge, skill and experience. Practice and education in a particular field of dentistry, whether it be considered implantology or prosthology offers great benefit to a patient in terms of complex treatment plans and minimised risk.
Always, a level of trust is involved with any practitioner we choose. Aside from specific situations of having implicit faith and evidence in the skill of your long-term general dentist should a dental implant be required, the blatant line of logic suggests the preference is to always choose the expert.
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