What Questions to Ask Before Getting an Implant
Dental implants have quickly become the main stream in the dentistry world. Because it has come on scene so quickly, many probably don’t know what questions they should be asking to help ensure a more positive experience. We often don’t realize the amount of importance and care we place in our smile until it is damaged. When getting it fixed, it is so important to make sure it is done right the first time. Not asking the right questions could be a very costly mistake that haunts you for the rest of your life. We are here to help make sure wherever you are, if you are looking at the possibility of oral surgery, you will be better equipped to get the end result you are looking for. Here are 10 common, but important questions everyone should ask during any consultation.
What experience does the doctor performing the surgery have?
Currently, dental implants are allowed to be placed be any type of dental physician. This is true even though they do not all have the same caliber of training. Oral surgeons are specialist that have received an additional 4-6 years of hands on training after graduating from dental school. During this time, they have performed thousands of extractions and dental implant placements. On top of that, they are trained in all level of anesthesia and can provide the most optimum level of comfort for the procedure.
General dentists are not restricted from performing extractions or placing dental implants. Many have training specifically in oral surgery that amounts to a weekend seminar. On average, the amount of dental implants a general dentist places in a year is done in one week by an oral surgeon. Oral surgeons have such extensive training and practice that placing an implant becomes common. They have seen it all and know what to do should anything unexpected come up during surgery.
What is the surgeon’s success rate in placing dental implants?
Oral surgeons are specialist with an average success rate in the mid to high 90s. Studies repeatedly show that success rates significantly drop when the procedure is performed by general dentists, sometimes as much as by 40%. This goes back to the amount of training the physician has. A specialist is placing these day-in and day-out and does it with precision.
What is the level of quality of the implant that will be used?
There are many companies out there that provide implant fixtures and components. Many of these offer their components at relatively low prices, but the trade-off is compromising the integrity of the component. Cheaper brands may lead to broken screws, fractured fixtures, or loosened abutments.
All components used here at Precision Implant and Oral Surgery come from highly reputable companies that provide quality components that most often last a lifetime. We do not compromise on the quality of the component. All of our patients can rest assured knowing they are receiving components that are the best in the business. Once placed, these are as close to natural teeth as you can get.
Is a dental implant the best long-term decision?
It is always best to know what all of your options are. Depending on the exact nature of the problem, there may be times where a tooth may be salvageable with a root canal instead of going straight to extraction and implant to replace. Ultimately, it comes down to how you feel about natural vs. fabricated teeth. A dental implant is often a lifetime solution and if cared for properly, will eliminate future issues that may arise with a problematic natural tooth. Dental implants (when done correctly) are nearly indistinguishable from natural teeth aside from seeing them on an x-ray.
What should I do to prepare for surgery?
Preparation for surgery depends on the procedure and the type of anesthetic being used. For general anesthesia, there are food and liquid intake restrictions beginning six hours before the procedure is performed. You will also want to wear comfortable clothing with a short-sleeved top. Expect to take it easy for 24 hours while the effects of the anesthesia wear off. You will be restricted from driving. Use of local anesthetic (numbing agents) have less restrictions involved. Local anesthetics are great for less intensive procedures and you can often go back to your normal routine immediately following the procedure.
What should you expect from recovery after surgery?
Planning for recovery ahead of time will help eliminate possible inconveniences. Restrictions vary depending on the type of procedure you have. You will want to be clear on food restrictions, medication usage, anesthesia side effects, physical limitations, and so forth. After having a dental implant placed, the average healing period last anywhere from 4-6 months. Following wisdom teeth removal, you will likely want to plan on having restrictions recommended for up to a week post-surgery.
At Precision Implant & Oral Surgery, you do not stop being our patient once the procedure is over. We will make sure to contact you in the days following the procedure to check up on how you are doing. If there are ever any concerns, excessive pain, or questions, you are always welcome to call our office and have these addressed.
Will my insurance cover the procedure?
There is a wide range of variation when it comes to what dental insurance will cover. Most insurances will cover up to 80% of tooth extractions and some anesthesia. Most insurances, however, will not cover any portion of a dental implant. Some will give a certain allowance each year that can be placed towards a procedure, but once that used up, options are limited. The best thing to do here is to call your insurance and find out what they will cover. Your physician will be able to provide you with the proper codes that you can use with your insurance company so they can tell you more accurately what they will cover.
Because insurance companies are so hit and miss when it comes to covering certain procedures, most oral surgery offices will require full payment of the procedure upfront. Anything that an insurance company pays over the amount you paid will be refunded to you. You will find many offices have partnered up with financial institutes to offer financing options. For example, in our office, we accept Care Credit. It is simple to apply to and they can usually tell you what you qualify for within 15 minutes. Other institutes you could look into are Lending Club and Wells Fargo.
Will I be left with an empty hole in my smile while the implant heals?
The last thing anyone needs is to be self-conscious all day long because there is a giant gaping hole when they smile. Especially when their profession involves interacting with people in person on a consistent basis. When it comes to aesthetic teeth (teeth you can see when you smile) you will receive a temporary abutment and crown as place holders the same day of surgery. You do not have to worry about walking around with missing teeth. These are temporary and only meant to last through the duration of your healing phase. There are restrictions and you will need to be careful when using it. Teeth that are set further back, such as molars, will not receive temporaries. These teeth are used most when chewing. Placing that amount of stress and force on the surgery area will slow down the healing process and could even cause damage. A healing cap is placed to prevent food from entering the surgery area.
Do I have to wait to heal after an extraction before having an implant placed?
More than 95% of the time, a tooth can be extracted and have an implant placed during the same procedure. This is best to do because it cuts the amount of healing time in half. If the implant is not placed, at the same time as the extraction, you can expect to wait 4-6 months of healing time after the extraction before an implant can be placed and another 4-6 months of healing after the implant is placed.
Certain factors could present and prevent the implant from being placed at the same time as extraction. For example, the most common reason for this is a significant amount of bone loss. Although, Dr. Bulloch can place bone graft to build up the bone, if there is not enough bone to begin with to hold the implant fixture, additional bone graft will be added and left to heal.
How much pain should I expect?
Pain levels vary from person to persona and the type of procedure being performed. With all procedures, there is a certain level of discomfort. However, across the board, patients consistently report the pain is minimal and certainly not what they expected. Medication is prescribed that will ease your comfort further.
We have an in-house nurse anesthetist that is well trained and makes sure to provide optimum comfort during your procedure. Whether choosing a local or general anesthetic, you will be well monitored and taken care of to make sure you aren’t feeling anything you should not be feeling. Your safety and comfort are our top priority.
Only the Most Common
Remember, this is a list of some of the most common questions. We encourage you to not limit your questions to just the questions in this list. If there is anything you do not understand and need more clarification on, do not hesitate to speak up. The purpose of the consultation is for understanding on both parts. For us, we want to understand the situation surrounding procedure to accurately create a treatment plan. For you, we want to make sure you understand what is going to happen, why it is going to happen, and what to expect from it.
To schedule your complimentary implant consultation with a 3D x-ray, please give our office a call today! (435) 652-1445.