Deceptive Dentists

Raise your hands if you’ve seen any of these descriptions before: implantologist, dental implant specialist or cosmetic dentist…Guess what?  There is no such thing.  No such specialty as dental implants or implantology is recognized by the American Dental Association.  There are residency programs that teach dental implants, some of which take years to complete. Then there are weekend courses that offer a limited educational experience.  The levels of training for dental implants vary significantly from excellent to useless, leaving the consumer further unsure.  As for cosmetic dentists, all dentists are cosmetic – is there a non-cosmetic dentist?  Some may be better than others but sometimes it sounds as if it is a special title with special training involved, which is not accurate.

Another way that dentists confuse consumers is by making claims such as “we offer a full range of x services” when they are not.  These statements may put dentists in danger of offering a standard of care that is not justifiable.  Offering free exams is another gray area, as it unfairly puts pressure on a competing practice.  The FTC is the regulatory body involved but many of the guidelines are vague.

Grade 5 Titanium for Dental Implants???

For years Grade 4 commercially pure titanium has been the material of choice for dental implants.  There is plenty of long term data demonstrating safety and success.

More recently some manufacturers have been switching over to Grade 5 titanium.  Titanium Grade 5 is alloyed with 6% Aluminum and 4% Vanadium and is commonly known as Ti 6Al-4V.  For dentistry, there is another version called “ELI”, extra low interstitials, which further reduces surface impurities.  Grade 5 titanium is said to be stronger than Grade 4.  However there is evidence that Vanadium is released into the host tissues and can be cytotoxic.

A recent literature review concluded that there is not enough evidence indicating superiority of one vs the other, noting specifically that good clinical comparison studies do not exist.

I have made inquiries to implant manufacturers asking for long term safety data in humans, and so far I have received nothing decisive.  Hmmm…