Periodontists have advanced training in placing dental implants and they use the latest 3D CT technology to help ensure high success rates for dental implants.
We have an approximately 98 percent success rate for dental implants in our Boca Raton periodontal and dental implant practice. Worldwide, that number is probably closer to 94 percent. We bat ahead of the curve. The success rate on dental implants worldwide is actually dropping right now, primarily because there are so many general dentists that are getting into the mix. Right now about 50 percent of all implants in the world are being placed by general dentists, which means that they just do not have as much training or experience in placing implants and doing bone grafts.
As a specialist in periodontics, a critical part of my formal training was learning to diagnose, treatment plan, and then place dental implants along with bone grafts. That is not something that is formally taught in dental school. With regard to dentists who have decided to go back and learn how to place dental implants, most of them have done some type of very brief training, whether that means a few weekend courses or, perhaps, what they call mini residences, which are sometimes a week or ten days long.
With this type of limited training, dentists do not have opportunity to experience formal training with instructors over a period of years and years. My training was a one-year hospital residency, followed by a three-year specialty residency, always under the tutelage of mentors who had many years, if not decades, of experience.
I have been personally placing implants for about 19 years and would estimate that I have placed around 13,000 implants at this point. In my opinion, there are a number of very important factors that lead to successful outcomes with implant dentistry. One of them is adequate diagnosis and treatment planning. That requires a thorough examination with the patient, often with a 3D image like a CT scan. Many dentists do not have CT scan technology in their office and they may not be as comfortable or familiar reading a 3D image. It is important to remember that 2-dimensional images like a panorex or a regular dental X-ray, called a periapical radiograph, often has 20 to 25 percent distortion, which means that they are not accurate for determining the optimal placement of a dental implant. 3D technology like a CT scan does not have that distortion.
Patients should ask questions about training, experience, and equipment when they seek dental implant treatment.
Dr. Frederic J. Norkin
South Florida Center for Periodontics & Implant Dentistry