Dental Implants are a fantastic treatment for patients that are missing one or more teeth or who are going to lose their teeth. The look, feel, and functionality of dental implants are the closest thing you can get to your natural teeth. However, having dental implants placed is a surgery that you should take very seriously.
Since dental implants involve the removal of a tooth and replacing it with an artificial tooth, it’s assumed that an oral surgeon is best qualified to do it. This can be a wrong assumption. Periodontists, who specialize in gum disease, may be a better option. Periodontists have special advanced training in preserving gum tissue and regenerating the underlying bone in the mouth, which are significant factors in dental implants.
Whether you are considering using your general dentist, a periodontist or an oral surgeon, you should ask these ten questions:
1-What is your training? Specialists have an additional 2-4 years of dental school university training. Some general dentists learn in a weekend course.
2-What is your success rate with implants? It should be at least 95 percent.
3-How long have you been doing this procedure? Some dentists take weekend courses to expand the services they offer. Be very careful, there is no substitute for experience.
4-How long does the procedure take? It should be no more than thirty to sixty minutes.
5-How many months will it take start to finish? Some doctors will load the implants the same day, some load them progressively, and some load them after 4-6 months… There are reasons for each of these and each can be appropriate depending on your situation.
6-Do you use a CT scan and 3-D imaging software? This technology assesses bone structure and identifies the best sites for dental implant placement while avoiding vital structures like the sinus and nerves.
7-Do you use a surgical guide? A surgical guide directs the implant drilling system and provides for accurate placement according to the computer generated surgical treatment plan. It is important to confirm that the dentist doing your implant uses a surgical guide.
8-How many implants have you placed? You want to hear the word “thousands” in this answer.
9-How many surgeries will this take? You should know ahead of time how many individual surgeries this will require and in many cases it may be advantageous to get a second opinion.
10-Who is restoring the implants? Restorative dentists have their own success ratios. The experience of the doctor doing the restoration is critical. Have they attended any advanced courses? What is their success ratio?
Many dentists hold themselves out as implant specialists. You need to screen them very carefully before entrusting them with this surgical procedure.