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Dental1 Hero: Dr. Lane K. Walsh

Dr. Lane K. Walsh: Expert in Restorative Dentistry


September 25, 2007



Dr. Lane Walsh spent most of his youth in the Boston, MA and Washington, D.C., areas. He graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1974 and relocated to San Antonio, TX, to attend the number one ranked dental school in the country. He graduated in 1979 with his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Texas Health Science Dental School in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Walsh served the Texas Academy of General Dentistry as Director in 1983 and 1984. He served as President of the San Antonio Academy of General Dentistry in 1984. He received his certification for the completion of the Mid-America Orthodontic Society Post Graduate Course in Orthodontics-TMJ. Dr. Walsh has maintained a private practice in San Antonio since 1979. His practice is general family dentistry offering specialized treatment for full-mouth, cosmetic, and implant restorations.


Dental1: Why did you decide to incorporate dental implants into your practice?


Dr. Walsh: I incorporated dental implants into my practice to provide patients with a method to replace missing teeth through an addition treatment versus a subtraction treatment. Historically, dentists would irreversibly reduce teeth adjacent to missing tooth spaces in order to fabricate a crown as part of a cemented bridge. Now we do not need to touch adjacent teeth but instead add a missing root form – implant – and fabricate the replacement tooth – crown – to cement on top of it. Additionally, for patients who lost all their teeth, we can place multiple root forms – implants – and fabricate a stable snap on removable denture or cement a non-removable bridge. This is truly a huge step forward in our ability to rehabilitate a patient’s dentition.


Dental1: What are patients’ biggest misconceptions about implant treatment?


Dr. Walsh: I believe patients’ biggest misconceptions regarding implant treatment are:



  • The application and process of treatment. Frequently, patients do not understand how and when a dental implant may be used and the treatment sequence and time involved accomplishing this treatment.

  • Concern about placement of a “foreign” material in their body. This concern may be dismissed by an explanation of the historical discovery and development of today’s dental implant.

  • Cost and benefit of implants versus other treatment. This can be addressed by a comparative explanation of treatment options.

    Dental1: What do you think is the best way for patients to learn about implant treatment?


    Dr. Walsh: The best methods for patients to educate themselves regarding dental implant treatment are as follows:
    a. Discuss implant treatment with their dentist.
    b. Research the subject on the Internet or the library.
    c. View brochures and pictures
    d. View actual case before and after
    e. Speak with an actual implant patient


    Dental1: Are there any drawbacks to a patient scheduling a consultation if they are unsure what treatment they are interested in?


    Dr. Walsh: None! I strongly encourage patients to schedule a consultation if there are any questions regarding their treatment. This applies to any treatment, not just dental implants. In my opinion, as a doctor, we are teachers. The word doctor derives from the Latin verb docere meaning to teach. Our duty is to educate our patients, and as a teacher to be a perpetual student ourselves.


    Dental1: How quickly can you provide patients with teeth? Can this be accomplished in one day?


    Dr. Walsh: Normally, it takes six to 12 weeks for a dental implant to integrate with the bone before a final prosthesis may be placed. In some instances, it is possible to place provisional teeth on the implants on the same day as surgery. Many factors affect this time sequence such as bone density, number of implants, and quality of bone or whether a bone graft was necessary. It is best for the surgeon and restorative dentist to collaborate on this. There are some new technologies that do allow for implant and restorative placement to occur on the same day; however, being conservative, I am waiting to see the progress prior to recommending them.


    Dental1: Is there anything else you would like to share with the Dental1 community?


    Dr. Walsh: I believe dentistry is at the beginning of a very exciting journey where we will be able to offer patients outstanding treatment options. We have dental implants that allow us to add back dentition that was lost. Additionally, we have cone beam CT and CAD-CAM technologies that allow us to visualize a patient’s skeletal and neuromuscular anatomy and plan surgical and restorative cases with unparalleled precision. Furthermore, we have cosmetic materials and adhesives that allow more esthetic and conservative treatments. Also, we have specialties working together and research programs making new products and technologies available. Is this an exciting time in dentistry? You bet! Do I love it? Yes! For patients, ask questions, make educated decisions.


    See Dr. Walsh's office information.



  • Last updated: 25-Sep-07

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