A beautiful smile speaks louder than words, and that’s why dental implants are so important; they can provide attractive stability so that you can move through your day with confidence. Before you get your dental implant procedure, these are Important Questions To Ask Your Dental Implant Provider to ensure a safe surgery with lifelong success.
1. What Kind of Formal Education in Dental Implantology Does your Dental Provider Have?
Knowing more about your dental provider’s training and education is an important part of selecting a dental professional. Ask them how long they spent in training and what kind of continuing education they’ve received, recommends Dr. Amanda Sheehan of Oakland Family Dental in Waterford, Michigan. She is a diplomate in the International Congress of Oral Implantology, which is one of the only board certification programs in the U.S., and she has completed more than 2,000 hours of continuing education that includes dental implants.
If you’re concerned that your dental provider doesn’t have extensive education and training, Dr. Sheehan advises that this is not the time to be shy. “Ask them what kind of guarantee they offer, how many of these implants have they done before, and what’s their success rate. You need to make sure that you have confidence in your provider,” she says.
2. Does your Dentist have a CBCT Scan in their Office?
While the term CBCT or cone-beam computed tomography may be unfamiliar, this is just a 3-dimensional imaging machine that allows the dental provider to get a more detailed look at all of the features of your mouth. A typical X-ray offers a 2-dimensional look that highlights bone structures but a 3-D image includes the thickness of your jaw bone and the location of your nerves, artery, and more.
Dr. Sheehan says this advanced view is necessary for dental implant work because it allows the dental provider to have a better road map for the procedure, identify areas of greater risk, and appropriately plan to reduce those risks. “We have a CBCT right here in the office and I use it every day to make sure that my patients are safe.
I would never place an implant on somebody without one, and I would never let somebody in my family have one without one. It’s just too risky. The technology is here to help us make this very easy for you,” Dr. Sheehan says.
3. Will the Dental Implant and the Crown be Placed in the Same Office?
In some cases, getting dental implants requires the work of two doctors. There’s the oral surgeon who places the implant, and a dentist who puts on the crown. There’s nothing wrong with this arrangement as long as those doctors work closely together to ensure you have great results with your dental implants. Doing things this way can take a little more time and add a little more expense because there are two doctors involved in the process, but some oral surgeons and dentists make great teams and have worked in collaboration for the benefit of their patients for years.
Dr. Sheehan suggests finding a team with a proven track record of success in placing dental implants or finding a single dental care provider who can complete both the implant and crown procedures.
4. How is your Dentist going to take into Account your Specific Medical Conditions?
In Dr. Sheehan’s experience, the success of your dental implant procedure rests heavily on your personal medical history and conditions. In Dr. Sheehan’s practice, she may work with a patient’s primary care physician if the patient has low Vitamin D levels; achieving optimal Vitamin D levels can improve the outcomes of dental implant surgery. Being a smoker is a common health concern that can affect the success of dental implant surgery and healing, too. When talking to your dental surgeon, be sure to inform them of your full medical history and any medications you’re taking so your treatment plans can be customized to your personal needs.
5. How Accessible is your Surgeon after Surgery?
Being able to contact your dental implant surgeon after your procedure is critical. If you have a question about healing, a suture comes loose, or you’re wondering whether you can eat a particular food, you’ll want the comfort and reassurance of being able to talk to your doctor. If you have to travel a long distance for care, as happens when people choose to have implant surgery internationally, you may not be able to return to your doctor’s office easily if there’s a concern. Dr. Sheehan reminds patients that having a surgeon who communicates well helps ensure a great dental implant experience.
Keep these questions in mind when evaluating oral surgeons to increase your chances of positive outcomes with dental implants. Everyone wants a beautiful smile with secure and healthy teeth. Qualified dental professionals will be happy to answer these and any other questions you may have about the dental procedures best suited for your oral health goals.