Fear is one of the main reasons that prevents folks from even speaking with their dentist about tooth implants. Knowledge and information are the enemies of fear which is why we do our best to educate our readers and our patients and why we created this dental implant consumer guide about what to look for when choosing a dental implant provider.
In our last blog, we reviewed some of the most common reasons people don’t get dental implants based on what we’ve heard from consultations with patients. If you’re considering dental implants, we highly recommend the post “Dental Implants? Yes or No“.
How to Select the Best Dental Implant Provider
If you decided that it is time to explore your options regarding tooth replacement, and dental implants are on your list of options, here is an informative list of what to look for (and expect) from a dental implant provider.
Requires an In-Person Dental Implant Consultation
Expect your provider to schedule an in-person consultation with an exam and x-rays.
A great provider should encourage you to come in for a consultation for an implant, and will hesitate to provide specific information over the phone or online. This is because so much of the success of a dental implant depends on what can only be seen in person and through conversation. It is also a good idea to ask if there is a fee for an implant consultation. While many dentists provide implant consultations for free, some do charge fees for the appointment so be sure to ask up front.
As dentists, here are some of the key factors we consider when we’re providing an implant consult:
– Bones, bones bones. What kind of bone structure do you have in your jaw? Does it appear healthy, and does it appear to us to have the potential to fuse (osseointegrate) with the dental implant?
– How healthy are your gums? Do you have any health conditions or take medication that can affect the health of your gums? Advanced gum disease can impact the health of bone structure and surrounding teeth, and can predict the outcome of an implant.
– How healthy are the rest of your teeth and gums? Do you have existing restorations like crowns, bridges or partial dentures? Do you take care of your smile, brush and floss regularly, and see your dentist for regular checkups? Implants are extremely strong, but just like our natural teeth, an implant (and the crown that covers it) aren’t invincible. Implants require care and maintenance, too.
– Do you smoke, chew tobacco, or have any other habits that can affect the success of an implant? Smoking isn’t a deal-breaker, but it’s something we discuss this clearly with any patient who smokes regularly and also wants a dental implant. Smoking and using tobacco can (and will) affect the health of your teeth and gums.
Takes Time to Provide Information and Answer Questions
Expect your implant provider to offer in-depth information about the implant process, and ask you what questions or concerns you may have – and then address them directly.
In our last blog, one of the biggest reasons patients were reluctant to consider implants was because of fear. If you’re not sure what questions to ask at your consultation, here are a few we suggest.
Questions to Ask:
– How is dental implant surgery performed?
– How long does the implant procedure take?
– Will I require any additional procedure such as bone grafting?
– How long will the healing process last?
– If I have a bridge or denture, can I wear it during the healing process?
Has the Training, Skills, and Experience
Expect your dental implant provider to have training, skill, and experience in placing dental implants.
It is perfectly OK to ask about the skill and experience of a provider who is performing your implant consultation. There is a big difference between “sure, I do implants,” and “I’ve placed hundreds (or thousands) of implants with a great success rate.” Here are some other questions to ask a provider.
Questions to Ask:
– What brand dental implant system do you use?
– What surgical material is the implant made from?
– What is your success rate?
– Will you provide me with authentication that my implant is genuine from the manufacturer?
Clearly Defines Success for You
Expect your provider to clearly explain what a “successful” dental implant procedure entails.
A successful tooth implant will heal well and fuse with the surrounding bone, called osseointegration. Just like regular teeth, provided that you take good care of your smile, brush and floss normally, and visit your dentist for regular checkups, a successful dental implant should last for life. Here are some other questions to ask your dental implant provider.
Questions to Ask:
– Do you offer a lifetime guarantee for successful dental implants? Are there any requirements for this guarantee?
– Do you have a warranty for dental crowns?
– What level of pain or swelling might I expect following an implant placement, and how can I manage it
– What should I look for that might indicate a potential problem? Can I call you during night or weekend hours if I do have a problem?
– How can I take care of my implant while it is healing?
– How do I take care of and/or maintain my implant and crown/fixed bridge/over-denture at home? Do I have to replace anything? How often?
Explains Pricing, Budget, and Financing Options that Could Be Available
Expect your dentist to explain the full price for a dental implant, and to offer ways to make your dental implant affordable for your budget.
You can also use the same questions below to compare other tooth replacement or prosthetic options such as bridges, partials, and full dentures.
Questions to Ask:
– Will I need any additional services such as bone grafting, and what are the fees for that?
– What is the full cost of the treatment, including the implant placement, abutment, crown, or any other restoration or prosthetic like a bridge or denture?
– How often might I need to replace the crown, bridge or denture?
– Do you offer financing or installment plans?
– If my insurance covers dental implants, how will you help me to maximize my benefits?
What’s one quality you expect from your dental provider? Share in the comments below!
At 1st Family Dental, we have 11 Chicagoland Illinois dental clinics that provide free dental implant consultations. If you’re considering dental implants and want to understand all of your options, contact us for a consultation today. We have offices in Addison, Arlington Heights, Aurora, Chicago, Elgin, La Grange Park, and Roselle. Click here to find a dental clinic near you.