Many patients ask if it is necessary for the doctor to have special credentials before performing implant surgery. In order for a doctor to be licensed to performed general dentistry he or she must have a dental degree from an accredited university or graduate school. That allows the dentist to perform routine general dentistry. Implant surgery is a specialized area of dental care and requires a substantial amount of extra training above and beyond that of a general dentist. A quality, highly trained implant surgeon needs to have specific credentials from a reputable implant organization. It is very important that the organization that confers that certification is a legitimate implant group. There are a number of “Mail Order” organizations that will “sell” a credentialing status to a dentist. These are generally bogus credentials and do not mean the dentist is a properly trained or credentialed. The only legitimate implant organization that credentials trained doctors in implant surgery and treatment is the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID). A doctor needs to pass both written tests, as well as oral examinations, in order to be given implant credentials from the AAID. These are rigorous and legitimate examinations that test the knowledge and skills of the implant surgeon. In addition to having to pass these difficult tests a credentialed doctor must prove his or her competency by submitting a number of finished implant cases to the AAID. The AAID review board will decide, based on the examinations and submitted cases, if the doctor’s skills and knowledge are at a level that allows credentials to be conferred. These credentials are referred to as “fellowships.” There are many organizations that are created with the intention of conferring bogus credentials. Many of these organizations have no testing processes at all and do not require a doctor to submit any prior cases. They have only one requirement.. the doctor must submit a check. Money can buy a credential but can not buy competency, skills or quality care.

Dr. Stephen Schwarcz is credentialed by the American Academy of Implant Dentistry and has passed the rigorous examination process that was required of him. Dr. Schwarcz has been credentialed since 1993 and has been in the implant field doing both implant surgery and tooth replacement treatments since 1981.

Be sure to look for, and ask, about the credentials that the implant surgeon has that you select to treat you or your loved ones. It may make the difference between success and failure.