You Are Considering Dental Implants. Now What?
The decision to invest in your smile is one that is pondered for months if not years. Dental implants can recreate a smile, enhance bone structure, and give the look of a facelift by replacing dental bone. However there is quite a bit to consider; the investment of time and money, and more.
With that in mind, once you have decided that dental implants are right for you, there are questions to ask of your doctor and to know personally prior to your consultation.
Your relationship with your doctor/s:
There are two phases to dental implant treatment: surgical and restorative. In many cases two specialists work together. An oral surgeon or periodontist completes the surgical procedure, and the restorative or prosthetic phase is created by a prosthodontist and in some cases, a general dentist.
In select areas, prosthodontists have the education,training, and experience to surgically place as well as restore the implant. In these cases, you are working with one specialist from the planning stage through to the completion. Ask your prosthodontist if this is the case.
When working with either one or two specialist(s), find out:
Does the surgical specialist use one type of implant in all cases or do they have training to select from a variety of systems based upon your physiological
indications? Every implant case is different: from the bone structure, location of where the implant will be placed, what surrounds the implant site, and more.
It is important to have the experience, ability, and flexibility with different systems to make immediate changes if necessary.
What is the cost of the treatment plan and what is included in the cost? The financial agreement should include three parts: the surgical aspect (which may include the removal of teeth, bone regeneration and implant placement), the temporary phase (the type of prosthesis to be used during the healing process), and the prosthetic treatment (crowns, bridges, dentures, etc.). Are x-rays, models, surgical
guides, etc., included?
How will your implant treatments be planned? Are you expecting teeth in a day or is waiting 3-6 months an option? Will the implant be placed in one stage or two, and will the tooth or teeth be placed immediately? Discuss with your doctor what type of system is best for you.
What type of sedation is available for any and all stages of treatment? There are a variety of sedation options available. Nitrous oxide, Valium, conscious oral sedation, IV sedation, and general anesthesia are all options.
When working with two specialists, find out:
- Which specialist is planning the treatment? The recommendation is to have the prosthodontist plan the treatment and coordinate with the surgical doctor for specific placement of the implant/s.
- How are the specialists coordinating your case? Do they communicate personally via phone or written communication? Do they share x-rays and other records? How much experience do they have working together?
- Does your restorative specialist have experience restoring the type of implant being placed? There are many companies that create dental implants. Each brand or manufacturer has different properties. It is important to make sure that your
restorative dentist has experience with the specific implant being placed by the surgeon in order obtain the restorative results you desire.
When working with your restorative specialist, discuss:
- The type of prosthetic treatment to be planned. Have the end result in mind when starting; are you interested in having your prostheses fixed or removable? Do you want a single crown, a bridge or denture? Do you want to plan your treatment in phases for financial purposes? What are the options available?
- The financial guidelines of your treatment. Dental implants are expensive and a long-term investment in your overall health as well as your dental health. Having an idea of your financial parameters will guide both you and your dentist in planning the treatment you desire.
- The type of temporary treatment to be used during the healing phase. While your implant is healing, you will want to have some type of temporary prosthesis in place of the missing teeth. There are a variety of options available, each with various benefits and costs. This is important to discuss before the surgical phase of your treatment so that if you are working with two specialists, you can arrange to have the temporaries at the surgical office before your appointment
Dental implants are one of the most favorably predictable procedures in dentistry today with concrete evidence supporting the fact that they are safe and can advance an individual’s health whether living with dentures or without teeth. With the right information and a little extra insight to your treatment your results, as well as your experience, can be fantastic.
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