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Shopping around for a Dental Implant

27 June 2017 Categories: Dental implant Tagged with: ,

tim-editBy Dr. Tim Doswell (BChD Dip.Imp.Dent.RCS(Eng) (Adv.Cert))

There is little doubt that the “gold standard” way to replace a missing tooth is with a dental implant. They are very durable and completely independent of the adjacent teeth, which makes them by far the healthiest option, especially when compared to more conventional tooth supported bridges. As a way of securing dentures, they come into their own; loose dentures which can barely bite through soft bread can be transformed into teeth which can bite into an apple! No more fixative!

So it is little surprise that the demand for dental implants in the UK is growing rapidly and in response to this growth, there are more and more dentists offering dental implants as a solution.

Implants SMLSo how do you choose which implant surgeon to trust when there is so much choice? Do you just go for the cheapest provider or the most local to where you live? After all, at it’s most basic level, an implant is just like a screw or a rawl plug – isn’t it? Is it not just a bit like choosing which hardware store to go to?

The reality is that choosing a dental implant surgeon or practice is complicated by several factors:

The quality of the components

There are now hundreds of different implant manufacturers across the world and they all market their hardware, which is of varying quality, to the dental profession.  So how do you know you are getting a “quality” implant and not a “budget” implant. The fee you pay may hold the answer, although we frequently see implant work carried out where a high fee has been paid, but the low quality components have been used. The problem for the patient is that it’s impossible to know. Implants are regarded as a long term solution, so it may be worth investing a little more rather than just going to the cheapest provider. If something is cheap, there’s usually a reason.

The expertise and experience of the implant surgeon

Good implant dentistry is very technique sensitive. The jaw bones have important structures in them such as nerves and blood vessels. If these were to get damaged during surgery, it could lead to a significant bleed or a permanently numb lip and chin. It is therefore essential that you choose an implant surgeon with the appropriate level of experience so that these complications do not arise. The correct positioning of the implant in the jaw bone is also critical for the delivery of a good final aesthetic result and takes a high level of surgeon training and experience to deliver.

So how do you know a dentist is sufficiently qualified to carry out implant surgery? Most dentists who hold a post graduate qualification such as a Diploma or MSc in Implant Dentistry would have had to complete a lot of training to earn that qualification, so that should be a reassuring start. Like all surgical procedures, a depth of knowledge and experience only comes with regularly carrying out a lot of procedures.

So ask yourself, is it safer to see a dentist who places implants once in a blue moon or an implant surgeon whose practice is dedicated to implant dentistry and related work?

The aesthetics  

Single front implant

Single front implant

After all, it’s not just about the implant itself, but also the tooth that is fitted to it. It’s advisable try to find out about the technician who would make your new teeth and, if you can, view some of their previous work. There is an almost endless variety of materials and manufacturing methods in making teeth, all which influence the fit, strength, durability and aesthetics.

Poorly fitting implant teeth are one the main causes of implant problems in the long term, so it is essential that your dentist uses a reputable and experienced technician.

A relationship you can trust

Fundamentally, the most important factor influencing your choice of dental implant is an implant surgeon you can trust. They must be someone you can communicate and feel comfortable with.

Many implant problems arise because there has been a lack of information or communication from the outset. Dental implant procedures involve elective surgery and can be complicated, so a good surgeon should have a robust consent procedure. You should never embark on any dental surgical procedure unless you feel you have been very well informed and fully understand the treatment they you about to embark on.

Delivering great results

There is little doubt that dental implants are a wonderful treatment option for patients, particularly denture wearers. However, they only deliver great results if they are appropriately planned, delivered safely and restored with the final teeth correctly and with a good aesthetic result. Any reputable implant surgeon should have photographs and examples of previous work.

It is entirely appropriate to shop around for an implant surgeon, but it should be for the right reasons, not just to get the cheapest price.

Tim Doswell.

Dr. Tim Doswell works exclusively in the field of implant dentistry at The Raglan Suite and is one of only a few implant surgeons in the north of England who has been awarded an Advanced Diploma in Implant Dentistry by the Royal College of Surgeons of England in London. Call 01423 565432 to book your free consultation with Dr. Doswell or contact us through our online enquiry form

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