Dental Implant Q & A

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Dr. Cohen's video: Questions and Answers about considering Dental Implants

Is my doctor well trained to do this procedure?

Implant dentistry is not a recognized specialty amongst the various areas of dentistry.  All doctors who are placing implants should have extensive training in both the surgical and prosthetic phases .  Ask your doctor what his training is.  Ask to see photos of the treatment your doctor has completed.  If your doctor has studied implantology in an organized fashion, he should have some documented cases. 

Will my new implant tooth look like a natural tooth?

While dental implants and the teeth that dentists make on top of them can function and look like real teeth in the majority of situations, there are many times when a perfectly natural result is very hard to achieve.  Getting this result many not be possible or will be limited by the doctor’s skills, or the patient’s own lack of desire to pursue what it takes to get a natural looking smile.  Demanding implant cases that involve a patient’s front teeth can require multiple treatments that have long healing intervals and cost a lot of money.  Many patients are happy to compromise and are still more than satisfied with the results.  However, this is something you want to know ahead of time.

Have I been adequately diagnosed and what is my treatment plan?

Implant dentistry requires the doctor to first diagnose your problem.  This means that he looks beyond the simple fact that you are missing a tooth and need it replaced.  Your doctor should require diagnostic tests and make the respective records.  These may include:  models of your mouth, photos of your face and mouth, various types of x-rays and often a CAT scan.  After the doctor has collected this data, there needs to be a plan of how the treatment will be done and the time frame it will be done in.  Your doctor should be able to communicate this to you, no matter how simple, to demonstrate that this process has been done.  

If I will be having an extraction, what type of temporary replacement will I get?

There are many options available to give a patient a temporary tooth or teeth.  There is often no one best way, but just the way that the doctor and patient decide is best.  The important thing to know here is that there are generally a number of choices and a patient does not have to accept any one option.  Keep in mind, though, that some of the options become increasingly complex and will add considerable cost to the treatment.

I have heard about “Teeth In An Hour”, am I a candidate for this?

As a general rule in life, if anything sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  While there are indications for “Teeth In An Hour”, they are most likely far fewer than advertising suggests.  Implant dentistry often takes a long time because the doctor allows for ample healing time between phases.  One advantage of this is that it allows the patients gums to heal completely.  That means that in the end the patient’s new teeth and gums will fit together well.  Fast-tracked treatment regimens, while sometimes appropriate, do have disadvantages and have not been completely perfected yet.  Ask yourself why the treatment needs to be rushed so quickly, and decide if the increased risk is worth it.

Do I have enough bone and do I have enough room to place an implant? 

These are good questions to ask because it allows the doctor to explain to you how he is thinking about your treatment.  It is a fundamental question that your doctor will have worked out in his own mind and should be able to communicate to you.

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