There are many dentists who are performing dental implants on patients without first having the proper training or experience. In fact, many dental offices are now offering discount fees for dental implants to try to lure new patients into their practices. Unfortunately, many patients are paying the price of this lack of experience including: poor placement of the implants, mouth infections, damage to nerves, and other failures and complications.
As a patient looking for dental implants, the last thing you want is an inexperienced dentist who has only performed this procedure a few times before. So how can you make sure that you aren’t the victim of this risk? How do you avoid getting suckered in to a dental office by eye-catching self-promotions and aggressive marketing?
Ask these 6 questions to your dentist before choosing to use them:
1) What do you specialize in?
The best type of dentist for this procedure is an oral surgeon or a periodontist. They are more likely to perform a successful surgery. This is not to say that a general dentist or an endodontist won’t be able to do a good job – however it is more likely that a better job will be performed by someone who specializes in dental implants. An “Implantologist” is a dentist who specializes in implants – however this title is not a recognized specialty and does not indicate proper training – so be sure to ask the other questions listed for your own comfort.
2) How much training have you had in implant procedures?
Ask the doctor to give you names of any specific completed courses, as well as the dates they took the course, and who sponsored them. Afterwards, search for the courses online to see if they are legitimate and credible programs given by professional associations. Specialists who have completed courses in dental implant surgery should be a huge factor in your decision.
3) How many times have you performed this surgery?
A good specialist who you can trust should be placing hundreds of implants per year. Question their experience to get an idea of how frequent they perform this surgery. Also be sure to ask them the last time they have performed this surgery. You don’t want a dentist who’s rusty with this particular procedure.
4) Can you give me any references of past patients who have undergone this procedure?
Speaking to past patients will be a huge comfort factor. You can either ask your dentist for a few personal references, or you can search his or her name on the Internet. Any decent practice will have online reviews found on their Google+ page, Yelp page, or other online directories such as Merchant Circle, CitySearch, Superpages, etc.
5) Ask general dental implant questions to make sure they know what they are talking about.
Give your dentist a quick test. Ask them how dental implants work, how long the procedure takes, what steps are involved in the surgery, etc. They should be able to answer any of these questions quickly, clearly, and with great detail. If they hesitate or are unclear, you can be safe to assume that they are inexperienced with the procedure.
6) Ask for before & after photos, brochures, and other relevant information.
A dental office which specializes in this procedure, or which has at least done this procedure many times should have these documents readily available either in their office or on their website. They should be detailed with photos and information and answer many of the questions you may have.
Be sure to ask these questions to help choose the right team of dentist to perform the dental implants procedure. These extra steps of caution may mean the difference between a beautiful smile and a mouth full of complications.