Even though advertising by dentists is regulated so as to protect the public from overtly deceptive advertising information, it is still easy to be misled if you are not well informed. Unfortunately there are individuals who hold themselves out as specialists when in fact they are not recognized in the profession as being specialists. Although these persons may be careful about not directly specifying they are specialists, by implication they give the perception that they are specialists or that they perform work at a specialty level or that they have special knowledge which is unavailable anywhere else.

The most unusual aspect of this has to do with quackery. Quackery has long existed in the Medical and Dental arena. People who are chronic sufferers are particularly susceptible to practitioners of pseudo-science who make claims not supported by mainstream science or proven practice. While I am not a closed-minded person I believe in the scientific basis of the burden of proof before I will buy into a proposition and I suggest that you as member of the public be careful and prudent about persons who practice outside of the boundaries of convention. Persons who claim to have unusual or unique powers to heal, particularly those who claim to heal medical conditions or ailments by virtue of the way in which they do their dentistry should be cautiously approached.

Another area of misleading advertising has to do with professing to be a “Dental Implant Specialist” when in fact no such designation actually exists. Currently there is no existing recognized specialty program in Dental Implantology although there are hundreds of private training courses, which are offered for a fee to teach dentists basic surgical skills and basic didactic knowledge. Some of these courses are for a single day and some may last for several weeks but these courses are a far cry from a comprehensive traditional post graduate program of three to four years of specialist training. Worst of all, none of these courses have any standards of governance. Presently there are three specialties which include a component training in Dental Implantology; Oral and Maxillo-facial Surgery, Periodontics and Prosthodontics yet none of these are comprehensive enough to provide a designation as a specialty in Dental Implantology. There are a few organizations that purport to provide accreditation in Dental Implantology. Three of these are the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) , the American Board of Oral Implantology (ABOI) and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI). Credentials in these and other like organizations however are not professionally recognized and are no assurance that you, the public, will have an appropriate level of expertise provided by designates from these organizations.

Basically, to achieve an expertise in Dental Implantology, a dentist will need to undertake as much private training and mentoring as possible and develop a personal program of self-learning and experience derived from many years of practice and collaboration. For example I have been placing Dental Implants for over 25 years but I still cannot call myself a specialist in Dental Implantology. I have however gone through a career-long learning process and have to-date placed well over 3000 implants. As well, I am widely recognized in the community for teaching and providing this service. Presently the best you can do for assurance as a consumer, is to ask around and be discriminating in choosing who should provide dental implant services should you need them.