Dr. Steven H. Pratt graduated from Stephen F. Austin University in 1977. He entered dental school at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio where he was exposed to and became interested in dental implants. He graduated from dental school in 1981 and began private practice that year in Atlanta, TX, his home town. He began placing and restoring dental implants in 1988.
Today his practice offers all phases of general dentistry, including comprehensive surgical and restorative phases of implant dentistry. Dr. Pratt holds fellowships from both the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, and has been a distinguished speaker at many conferences and events across the state.
Dental1: Why did you decide to incorporate dental implants into your practice?
Dr. Pratt: I graduated from dental school in 1981. My senior year I had a patient in clinic that had a three-unit fixed bridge, and the distal abutment was a vitreous carbon implant. It intrigued me that this patient did not have to wear a free-end distal extension removable partial denture. I decided at that point I would be interested in placing and restoring implants. The carbon implants were for the most part failures, but as soon as titanium implants came onto the scene in the mid ‘80s, I began taking courses on placing and restoring them. I continue to do that to this day, as the field of implant dentistry is continuing to evolve.
Dental1: What are patients’ biggest misconceptions about implant treatment?
Dr. Pratt: I would say that patients’ biggest misconception is that implant procedures are painful. The fact is that there is very little or no pain associated with most implant treatment.
Dental1: What do you think is the best way for patients to learn about implant treatment?
Dr. Pratt: Many patients initially learn about the benefits of implant treatment from their friends and family. If they are interested in pursuing treatment or learning more they should schedule a consultation with a competent oral implantologist. In my practice, I advise and encourage patients to speak to other patients that have had similar procedures performed. These patients that have already undergone implant procedures and are now functioning with their implant supported teeth can often answer some questions better than I can.
Dental1: Are there any drawbacks to a patient scheduling a consultation if they are unsure what treatment they are interested in?
Dr. Pratt: No, a consultation should help them make an informed decision. Often there is more than one treatment option available and the pros and cons of each option will be thoroughly explained. Also, the timeline of treatment and fee for each option is explained.
Dental1: How quickly can you provide patients with teeth? Can this be accomplished in one day?
Dr. Pratt: The amount of time it takes to provide a patient with teeth varies depending on several factors. These include the patients’ existing oral and systemic condition, the treatment option chosen, and the dental provider overseeing the case. There are scenarios when a patient can have implants placed and restored with quality provisional teeth in one day. For this to be possible, several criteria must be met.
Dental1: Is there anything else you would like to share with the Dental1 community?
Dr. Pratt: Dental implants have changed my philosophy about dentistry. They can truly have a significantly positive impact on a patient’s life. My staff and I have personally witnessed the dramatic metamorphosis of several patients in my practice. Patients’ acceptance of well functioning implant-supported prostheses is the most rewarding aspect of my practice.