Personalized Dental Treatment Plans as Unique as Fingerprints

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AGD encourages patients to talk and work with their dentist to find the best solution for their dental care and treatment.

To protect the public’s oral health, the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) issues an opinion to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry’s (AAID) advice that a patient should elect not to save a tooth, but rather, extract and replace the tooth with a dental implant.

“It is important to note extracting a tooth and replacing it with a dental implant, while best for some, may not always be the best type of treatment for all patients,” said AGD President David Halpern, DMD, FAGD. “The state of oral health and the needs of each patient are unique as his or her fingerprint.”

“In my practice, I encourage patients to save the natural tooth when possible,” says Dr. Halpern. “Doing so can many times preserve the supporting bone, maintain the proper contacts to the adjacent and opposing teeth, and allow the patient to use the tooth for as many years as their other teeth. It used to be common practice to remove injured or diseased teeth. Maintaining a tooth through a root canal treatment can help people keep their natural teeth for life. Depending on your area that you live in, restoring and saving a tooth may cost less than replacing a tooth with a dental implant supported replacement.”

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General dentists, as primary oral healthcare providers, recognize the treatment needs and balance the patient’s desires in developing individualized treatment plans that address those needs and wants.

“We want to remind patients that they need to dialogue with their dentists to determine what is best for them. Please talk with your dentist to determine whether you are a root canal or a dental implant candidate, and what is best for you based on your particular circumstances,” says Dr. Halpern. “A patient must be in good health and have the proper bone structure and healthy gums. If you smoke or drink, suffer from chronic problems, such as periodontal disease, teeth clenching or bruxism, or systemic diseases such as diabetes, your dentist will determine the best treatment options.”

In 2008, the AGD’s House of Delegates (HOD) issued a policy that supported that dental implants are an accepted mode of treatment to replace a lost tooth. In 2009, the AGD’s HOD passed guidelines for educational providers to use toward the development of curricula that will prepare dentists, regardless of generalization or specialization, to provide safe and appropriate dental implant treatment planning, placement and restoration.

The AGD is a professional association of more than 35,000 general dentists dedicated to staying up-to-date in the profession through continuing education in order to better serve the public. Founded in 1952, the AGD has grown to become the world’s second largest dental association in the U.S. that speaks exclusively as the voice of the general dentist.

Written by Susan Urbanczyk
AGD.org

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