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Who is Better For Dental Implants: Oral Surgeon or Periodontist?

When it comes to dental implants, several specialists may be involved in the process. Two of the most common are oral surgeons and periodontists. While both of these professionals have extensive training in their respective fields, they also have unique areas of expertise that set them apart from one another.

Oral surgeons focus on the surgical aspects of the mouth, jaw, and facial areas, while periodontists specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. Both play crucial roles in the implantation process, but depending on your overall oral health and specific needs, one may be recommended over the other.

This guide will go over the differences between oral surgeons and periodontists regarding dental implants, and why you need oral surgeons more if you undergo this procedure.

The Key Differences Between Periodontists and Oral Surgeons

1. Educational Background and Training

Both oral surgeons and periodontists start their journey with a degree in dentistry. However, their paths differ when it comes to specialization.

Oral surgeons undertake 4-6 years of surgical residency in a hospital setting, focusing on oral and maxillofacial surgery and gaining exposure to related specialties like anesthesia and general surgery. On the other hand, periodontists specialize in preventing, diagnosing, and treating gum-related diseases and placing dental implants within a 3-year periodontics residency program.

2. Scope of Practice

An oral surgeon’s practice revolves around treating conditions that require surgical intervention, such as removing wisdom teeth, facial trauma, corrective jaw surgery, insertion of dental implants, or treating oral cancer. They are skilled at performing complex surgeries involving the hard and soft tissues of the mouth, face, and jaws.

Periodontists focus on the health of gums and the structures that support teeth. Their work includes treating periodontal diseases, carrying out gum surgeries, grafting, and carrying out non-surgical or minimally invasive procedures like scaling and root planing for gum diseases. Furthermore, they are particularly trained in dental implant placement and maintenance.

3. Anesthesia Proficiency

Due to their residency training, oral surgeons have higher proficiency in administering all forms of sedation and anesthesia, including general anesthesia. They are licensed to perform all levels of sedation, making them capable of handling more complex and invasive surgical procedures.

While some periodontists may also be licensed to administer sedation beyond local anesthesia, their spectrum usually revolves around local anesthesia and mild sedation for procedures like dental implant placement and treatment of gum diseases.

4. Approach to Dental Implants

Both oral surgeons and periodontists are trained in dental implant procedures. However, oral surgeons often take on more complex implant cases that require additional procedures, such as bone grafts. Periodontists focus more on preserving gum health in conjunction with implant placement.

In dental implant treatment, a collaborative approach involving an oral surgeon and a periodontist may be taken to ensure optimal bone structure and gum health.


Why Are Oral Surgeons Preferred for Dental Implant Procedures?

  • Specialized and Advanced Training. As mentioned, oral surgeons undergo an additional 4-6 years of schooling beyond dental school, focusing intensely on surgical training. This rigorous academic pursuit combined with clinical training acquaints them with advanced dental procedures, notably dental implant placement, making them specialists.
  • Experience With Complex Cases. Practical experience is invaluable for any profession, more so in healthcare. Through their training, oral surgeons gain much-needed hands-on experience in dealing with complex cases, such as missing teeth, bone grafting for better bone formation, and managing soft tissue injuries. This leads to improved surgical techniques and potentially better patient outcomes.
  • Holistic Management Approach. Oral surgeons not only focus on the surgical placement of the dental implant; they handle the entire process from start to finish. This would include patient evaluation, formulating the treatment plan, performing the surgery, managing potential complications, and overseeing post-operative care and recovery. This comprehensive approach ensures seamless care through the treatment journey.
  • High Success Rate. Dental implant procedures executed by oral surgeons typically have high success rates. This is due to their extensive training, practical experience, and the ability to handle any complication that might arise during or after surgery. As a result, the risk of implant failure, infections, or other severe contingencies is significantly reduced.
  • Anesthesia Expertise. A significant advantage of choosing an oral surgeon for dental implant procedures is their expertise in anesthesia. Oral surgeons have extensive knowledge and experience in administering various types of anesthesia, including local, general, and intravenous (IV) sedation. This allows them to tailor the type of anesthesia based on a patient’s needs and preferences. This is especially beneficial for those who suffer from dental anxiety or need to undergo extensive procedures. 

The Benefits of Choosing an Oral Surgeon for Dental Implants

Oral surgeons are arguably the most advanced dental care providers when it comes to implant surgery, and here’s why:

  • Expert Knowledge. Oral surgeons are highly trained in the complexities of the mouth’s bone, skin, muscles, and nerves, making them extremely qualified for dental implantation.
  • Mastery of Anesthesia Options. Oral surgeons are highly skilled in administering all levels of sedation and anesthesia. This ensures the implant surgery is as comfortable and pain-free as possible.
  • More Experience. Oral surgeons often have more experience with complex cases, such as bone grafts or sinus lifts, that may be required before dental implant placement.
  • Extensive Training. Compared to general dentists, oral surgeons have undergone an additional 4-6 years of training in a hospital-based surgical residency program, focusing on head and neck procedures, including dental implants.
  • Superior Technology Access. Oral Surgeons often have access to a wider array of surgical tools and technology that can improve the success of dental implant placements.
  • Enhanced Outcome. With their specialized skills and knowledge, oral surgeons can dramatically improve the success rate and enhance the aesthetic outcome of dental implant procedures.
  • Management of Complications. In case of any unexpected complications that may arise during or after the procedure, oral surgeons are better equipped to handle and resolve them.
  • Comprehensive Care. Oral surgeons can manage the entire implantation process, from extraction to bone grafting to placement and follow-up care. This ensures consistency through the treatment phase.
  • Accurate Placement. Due to their in-depth training and knowledge of facial anatomy, oral surgeons can ensure accurate placement of dental implants for optimal functionality and aesthetics.
  • Comfortable Environment. Many oral surgeons operate within a hospital setting, providing patients with a safe, comfortable, and professional environment for their dental implant procedure.
  • Up-to-Date Knowledge. Oral surgeons regularly update their skills and knowledge and stay abreast of the latest treatment techniques and technologies in dental implantation.
  • Interdisciplinary Approach. Oral surgeons often collaborate closely with other specialists to provide comprehensive treatment plans tailored to individual patient needs. This holistic approach often leads to better outcomes.

Transform Your Smile With Expert Oral Surgeons: Your Go-To Professionals for Superior Dental Implants

Regarding “Who is better for dental implants, an oral surgeon or periodontist?” the answer isn’t a simple one-size-fits-all but practically leans towards the oral surgeon. While periodontists can provide implant services, oral surgeons are specialized experts in dental implant surgery with more extensive training and practical experience.

If you are considering implants, count on the expertise of our board-certified diplomate oral surgeons from Strull Oral Surgery. Turn that missing tooth or those broken teeth into a beautifully restored smile with their skills and advanced dental technology. They will create a customized plan for you and make sure your implants are installed safely, efficiently, and with minimal discomfort.

Contact us today to schedule your initial appointment, and we will determine if you’re eligible for dental implants!