Did you know that despite all the specialties in dentistry, anyone can place a dental implant? It’s a surgical procedure that could have long term effects on hour health and your smile. Yet any dentist — any — can place one in your mouth and you would NEVER know if it was their first or one hundred and first surgery done. You would also never know if every implant they placed was successful or if they all failed. It’s a flaw in the dental system. But it’s a flaw you can avoid by asking the right questions.
First of all, ask your dentist how many implants he or she has placed. If they haven’t placed at least a few dozen, I would find another dentist. You don’t want to be “practiced” on. Don’t be shy: it’s your health and your life. Ask the question.
Second, ask about the failure rate. Most dentists won’t actually tell you how many of their implants have failed. Instead, they will tell you about overall rates across the industry. Push and persist: find out how many implants he or she has placed that have failed. Then add toy that number. Why? Not because the dentist is lying, but because many patients don’t go back to their original dentist when an implant fails, they find a new dentist. If your dentist won’t answer that question, find a new dentist.
Third, don’t buy into the hype that periodontists are implant experts. Periodontists have tried to adopt implants as part of their specialty, but in reality, you can see any dentist you feel comfortable with. If that’s a periodontist, great! If not, that’s fine too. Just expand your search and find a good, reputable dentist you trust.
Fourth, find out how many different implant systems your dentist uses. A dentist that only works with one system may not be as experienced as he or she claims. They may use that one system because it’s the best, or they may use it because they got a good deal. You want someone who cares about your health more than they care about their deal. Ask about titanium AND ceramic implants. If your dentist doesn’t know what a ceramic implant is, he or she is behind the times and needs to take more CE classes and read more dental literature (ceramic implants have been FDA approved in the US for more than 7 years, but too many doctors still haven’t heard of them).
Bottom line: like your dentist, but also make sure your dentist is the RIGHT dentist to be placing your dental implants. If you’re in the Sarasota area, give us a call. We have patients fly in from all over the world to see us, but we love locals and always welcome new patients!