Today’s dental patient has more options than ever before for restoring both health and beauty to even the most compromised teeth. In the offices of prosthodontists, all ceramic crowns and ultra-thin veneers provide some of the most natural-looking restorations possible; however dental implants are rapidly becoming among the most cutting edge dental solutions. A computer generated prostheses built upon an implant system that is scientifically and statistically successful is potentially the most customized smile available, and in addition to excellent esthetics, will also have extraordinary longevity.
The internet has become the primary resource for patients to “shop” for dental care; however like any form of advertising, one must peruse beyond the creative genius of the web designer to find the real qualifications of the doctor. These are not always apparent in photos of a slick environment or in the stage presence of a strong and authoritative personality.
While dental implants are not new, many practices have been slow to invest in the education, equipment and materials necessary to comprehensively provide this care. As a result, some doctors who advertise implant care are very new to these protocols. Seek experience. Ask for implant practice statistics. How many implants has the doctor placed? What is his published success rate?
Demand implant products that have been thoroughly scientifically researched and proven successful for the long term. New implant companies have popped up around the globe, mimicking the classics at lower price points. Do not forget the maxim, “we get what we pay for.” Fringe applications do not usually come with guarantees and once failed, may be both physically and financially difficult to reverse.
Don’t overlook the importance of the laboratory. The dentist will place the implants, engineer the design of your teeth, and eventually connect the teeth to the implants, but the actual fabrication of your smile will be in the hands of technicians whose level of skill is directly proportional to the strength, the shapeliness and the sparkling esthetics of the final result. Ask whether the lab is “in house.” Patients have the greatest input to the appearance of their smile when the master technician can actually see the patient’s face.
Ask for a treatment timeline. Time is very precious. You don’t want to spend too much of it in a dental chair. Current technology provides for high quality care with minimal visits.
Look for patient testimonials. Word of mouth is the best reference. A reliable implant practice will have a roster of patients who will be pleased to share their experiences and
who will offer many perspectives on how positively life-changing a smile can be.
Finally, test the team. Converse with the person who answers the phone. In a good practice the entire staff is integrated for the purpose of serving their patients’ needs. This person should provide a wealth of information about the flavor of the practice. Look for a kind listener who also provides clear, complete, direct answers to your questions.
Dental implant treatment is a significant investment because the materials themselves are costly and the expertise of many professionals is required to achieve superlative results.
Shop carefully and invest wisely. A perfect smile yields lifelong rewards.