Evaluating Your Professional Options for Care
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Where should I go to start the process of considering dental implants?
The time-honored starting point is your general dentist, the professional on the front lines who is in the best position to preliminarily assess all your dental needs. It is then his/her responsibility to refer you to the appropriate specialists who, in the context of a team, can help you make the right choice for your health, appearance and well-being.
- What is the responsibility of a dentist when you visit his/her office?
Every licensed dentist is responsible for a complete examination of your oral and dental condition even outside the confines of his/her specialty if they are dental specialists. They are also responsible for communicating their findings and your treatment needs to you. Any dentist, whether a general dentist or specialist, has to first examine your overall oral and dental condition, even if they only want to place implants. It is their medical and legal responsibility.
- How do I know if my general dentist is qualified to do dental implants?
Your general dentist is responsible for diagnosing and maintaining your overall oral health. With so much new knowledge and science to keep up with he/she may have varying levels of knowledge in specialty areas like implants. You have to do your due diligence. Trust is the most important aspect of the doctor/patient relationship. If you're not comfortable you must ask the necessary questions to assure you are.
- What should I know and be told before I undertake dental implant surgery?
Your dentist or specialist is required to review an informed consent procedure. This is to establish that you have been told and are comfortable with all the risks, benefits and alternatives of the procedure(s) being recommended. You will be asked to sign an informed consent form, a copy of which becomes part of your medical record together with a copy for you.
- Implant “Super Centers” have been opening in my area advertising that they are the experts in dental implant treatment. What about them?
This new concept is based on the premise that if the surgical specialist, the restorative dentist and the dental laboratory technician are under the same roof, implant treatment is more “convenient” for patients. While it is more convenient to have treatment completed in one location, the most important consideration should be whether or not the implant center has doctors with the experience and skill to provide the best possible aesthetic and functional results for each individual patient. When considering a procedure that involves surgery and impacts overall health, appearance and well-being, expertise should outweigh convenience. Avoid the traps of advertising hype by asking the right questions.
- Can you tell me more about “teeth in a day” advertisements?
Some implant centers advertise “teeth in a day,” implying that anyone can get their replacement teeth in one day, or even in just an hour. Unfortunately, relatively few patients are candidates and the advertising creates false expectations for the typical dental implant patient. The fact is that even the patients who qualify for this procedure do not actually receive their replacement teeth in one day. There is preliminary diagnostic work that is necessary prior to the “day” that they have treatment. And it's a very long day, for those that do qualify.
- There are general dentists and prosthodontists who promote that they provide both the surgical and restorative aspects of dental implant treatment themselves. Is this OK?
It is important for you to determine — and for them to tell you — whether they are dental implant specialists or not. If they do decide to do implants, they must have taken extra training to be proficient in implant treatment as required by law to treat to the same standard as specialists. It is their responsibility to tell you that you have the right to see a surgical specialist if you prefer.