Imagine not being able to chew a steak for years and years and then going to your favorite restaurant and ordering a thick, juicy filet? Or biting into a caramel apple for the first time since you were a kid? These are real examples of the life-changing (not to mention the confidence-boosting, smile-enhancing) results experienced by patients of Scott G. Lamming, DDS of San Juan Capistrano.
Dental implants are now considered to be the single most successful procedure in dentistry today.
“Dental implants are very predictable, they do not decay, and they can last you a lifetime with proper care,” says Scott G. Lamming, DDS. “They are so successful that it is now possible to avoid root canals and bridges completely simply by placing an implant instead.”
Since implant dentistry is a relatively new option for restoring teeth, it has not yet been formally recognized as a specialty in the dental industry. Because of this the only current requirement is that a practitioner must have a dental license.
For my part (particularly when it comes to considering any procedure for myself or a family member), I look for experienced, highly reputable professionals. But while experience and reputation are a good starting point, they are not nearly enough when it comes to having a practitioner surgically implant anything permanently into my body.
Credentials are crucial. They reveal a practitioner’s level of expertise through a proven and scientific format. Would you want your family care practitioner performing heart surgery on you or a loved one? Absolutely not! You would want to put your care in the hands of the most highly qualified cardiologist. Likewise, there are renowned implant associations that provide such credentialing.
South County residents searching for the right dentist to perform their implant surgery are lucky to have to look no further than Dr. Lamming’s San Juan Capistrano-based practice.
Having completed a full residency in implantology, Dr. Lamming holds the highest certification of Diplomate in The American Board of Implantology/Implant Dentistry (A.B.O.I.), as well as Fellow in American Association Of Implant Dentists (A.A.I.D.) – a distinction he holds with only 499 of his peers in all of the United States.
A.A.I.D. has three levels of membership - Affiliate Associate Fellow, Associate Fellow and Fellow. In order to reach the highest level, Dr. Lamming passed a written test and performed 10 specified cases. To achieve his Diplomate in A.B.O.I., he had to have at least five years of experience with implants, log over 300 hours of continuing education hours specifically in implants and pass an all-day written examination – all this in addition to successfully defending his cases before a board of your peers (the same process by which specialists become board-certified).
Credentials such as these have a very low pass rate and are validated, objective proof that Dr. Lamming has achieved expert-level competence in implant surgery and restoration.
In the following interview, we asked Dr. Lamming to share his thoughts on common questions patients might ask when considering dental implants.
South County Magazine: What are dental implants?
Dr. Scott G. Lamming: A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or a bridge or even a full arch of teeth.
Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason.
SCM: Why would I need a dental implant?
Dr. Lamming: If you have a missing tooth or several teeth you need dental implants. The ideal candidate for a dental implant is in good general and oral health. Adequate bone in your jaw is needed to support the implant, and the best candidates have healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease.
SCM: When is the ideal time to place implants?
Dr. Lamming: The ideal time to place dental implants is at the time of tooth loss. This is when you have the maximum bone support available. Without a tooth or dental implant in place the bone will resorb away. Sometimes this bone resorption is severe enough to necessitate replacement of lost bone via bone grafting.
SCM: Why should I get a dental implant rather than just dentures?
Dr. Lamming: This is a very good question. From purely a chewing efficiency perspective, natural teeth and implants are equal but dentures drop down to about 40% efficiency at best. This is due to the lack of support and stability of dentures. This is very important due to the nutritional needs of the elderly. Without the ability to chew very well it is very difficult to maintain good nutrition and overall health.
Dental implants are the most successful dental procedure that we do today. They have a very high success rate in the range of 94% or better. They also last longer than any other dental restoration.
The best answer to this question lies in the life-changing denture-conversion patients that I have treated. These are people that were given dentures as their only treatment option before implants were available. These individuals have suffered with poor nutrition and ill-fitting dentures for decades. Now we are able to convert their dentures to implant-supported teeth with 4 to 6 implants. They can eat properly, smile with confidence and not endure the pain of wearing dentures. It is truly life-changing!
SCM: What is involved in dental implant surgery?
Dr. Lamming: Placing dental implants is a very straightforward procedure given the proper training and preparation of the implant site. Proper sterilization techniques are paramount to the success of every implant surgery.
Dental implant procedures can be accomplished under local anesthesia or some patients request to be sedated for the appointment. A single implant can be placed as quickly as 30 minutes or a full arch with adjunctive procedures can take several hours. After years of experience a good practitioner knows exactly what procedures can be combined to accelerate treatment and what procedures require more healing time to be successful.
SCM: Is the procedure for the placement of implants painful?
All of my patients comment saying, “That was easier than I thought.” Placing of implants is a very simple procedure. With skilled hands and proper equipment, implants and all of the adjunct procedures can be accomplished very comfortably. All patients are numbed at the site of treatment and upon request some patients are sedated. There is no pain during treatment. One can expect some post-operative soreness with a short recovery.
SCM: How long does it take to place dental implants?
Dr. Lamming: We schedule one hour for a single implant surgery. However we recently placed a single lower implant in 20 minutes after the patient was numb. On more complex cases we might schedule only one patient for the entire morning.
SCM: How long will implants last?
Dr. Lamming: Dental implants should last you a lifetime. This is based on the assumption that you are in good general health and you are maintaining great oral health. Implants do not decay and with current manufacturing materials and methods they are very strong.
SCM: Are there any risks of the body rejecting dental implants?
Dr. Lamming: Dental implants are the most successful dental procedure that we do today. They have a very high success rate in the range of 94% or better. They also last longer than any other dental restoration.
Occasionally there is an implant that does not fully integrate into the bone. When this happens it is a simple procedure to place a new one in its place and it is generally successful. Once an implant has osseointegrated there is very little chance of any type of rejection. Implants are made of titanium which is a very biocompatible material.
SCM: What about eating after implant surgery?
Dr. Lamming: We give each patient very precise instructions verbally and written as to what they can eat and how to take care of their new implants. Since there are many variations to each individual case this is a very important step in the success of treatment. Patients that receive a single implant are asked to chew on “the other side” of their mouth. Patients who receive a full arch of implants a.k.a. “Teeth-in-a- Day” obviously will need to chew on their new implants and we give a whole protocol for them to follow.
SCM: How long does healing and construction of the replacement teeth take?
Dr. Lamming: The basic healing stage for implants is 4 months for the lower teeth and 6 months for the upper teeth. However this does not mean you have to go without a tooth! We can bond in temporary teeth or place an immediate temporary to avoid the “dreaded gap.” There are many options available to solve all situations. Again this is where experience is invaluable and can make your implant experience a breeze. Come in and see what we can do for you, I think you’ll be amazed how far dentistry has come in the last five years!
Why Choose Us?
- Warm, friendly and knowledgeable staff
- Expert insurance processing to maximize benefits
- State-of-the-Art technology and equipment
- Voted “Best Dentist” in Orange County
- Same day appointments / emergencies
- Patient financing available
- Certified Invisalign Dentist
- Highest credentials for implant therapy
- Sedation, pain-free dentistry
- Voted “America’s Top Dentists”
- We want to be your dentist for life
As a special for South County Magazine readers, Dr. Lamming is offering a FREE Child’s cleaning with every Adult new patient and Cone Beam 3D X-ray for all implant case consultations.