How to Choose a Dental Implant Team

Dr. Bahat’s Guide to Getting it Right the First Time

The decision to replace your missing teeth will affect your looks, your lifestyle and your health for years to come. Make your decision carefully. Dental implant techniques and practices vary radically, from full-service, individualized programs and ‘smile makeovers’ to teeth-in-a-day and quick-fix jobs. Every dental implant team is different, so before you undergo treatment take the time to set your goals. Is your top priority esthetics, functionality or time? We advise making esthetics and functionality your priorities—the fastest treatment isn’t always the best option for your long-term health.

Here are sample guidelines to help you make a plan before you talk with your specialist. You can find a lot more information about implants online, but please check your sources, do your homework and take your time.

1. Understand your goals.

  • Consider your goals carefully. Are you more concerned about esthetics or function? How important is time for you? What is best for your long-term health?
  • Focus on the health of your whole mouth, jaw and face—not just on what’s missing.
  • Study your face and your profile, your smile, how you look with your mouth open and closed. If there’s been significant tissue loss, for instance, replacement without reconstruction can leave you with inadequate lip and lower-third face support (which can make one look older).
  • Balance costs versus benefits. Over time, properly executed dental implants may be your most cost-effective option. In the vast majority of cases you’ll never have to replace them. They don’t have a negative impact on surrounding teeth and tissues, and they improve your appearance, function and oral health for years longer than other solutions.

2. Seek more than one opinion.

We know you know this, but surprisingly few people follow this advice.

3. During the initial visit find out about the doctor’s approach.

  • Write down your goals and collect previous pictures of yourself. Bring both to your initial meeting.
  • Engage in a clear discussion about achieving your goals.
  • What exactly does the comprehensive evaluation of your teeth, bones, and soft tissues entail?
  • Has the doctor completed any kind of specialized training (i.e., post-graduate courses—weekend seminars are NOT good enough) in implant surgery, periodontics or prosthetic specialties?

4. After your evaluation, talk about the treatment process.

  • What do they recommend for you and why?
  • How many times has the doctor performed this procedure? What is his or her success rate?
  • What complications could you encounter and what are their consequences?
  • Can you see anonymous before-and-after photos of actual patients with similar conditions?
  • What’s the status of all of your teeth, including the healthy ones?
  • What will replace your teeth during treatment? (You should NEVER be without teeth.)
  • What’s the timeline: what are the steps, what does each step cost and how long will it take to complete the treatment?
  • When can you start? What can you expect before, during and after treatment?
  • If you need to enhance your appearance due to bone or tissue loss, how will that be achieved?
  • If you have other health concerns, such as diabetes or heart disease, talk to the doctor about getting medical clearances.

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