I lost a tooth and my dentist suggested I get a dental implant. He said he’s placed several. When I pressed him on several he admitted he’s done three and works with a good oral surgeon. I know everyone has to start somewhere, but this is a front tooth and I’m worried. Should I seek out an implant specialist?
I’m glad you wrote. Never feel bad about wanting to make sure you get the best care possible. You’re right that everyone has to start somewhere, but I’m not sure placing a dental implant on your front tooth is the place for him to practice. Unfortunately, there isn’t a recognized dental implant specialty, this means patients have to investigate to make sure the dentist has the training necessary to give you a successful and beautiful restoration.
Dental Implant Imperative One
You want a dentist with extensive post-graduate training, both surgical and aesthetic. For example, Dr. Thein received advanced dental implant surgical and prosthetic training from Misch Implant Institute at University of Pittsburgh School of Dentistry. Additionally, he is Diplomate of International Congress of Oral Implantologists.
You want a dentist who can do both the surgery and the restoration. This prevents any miscommunication between the dentist and the surgeon, which happens more often than you think. I’ve known patient’s who had the surgeon place the dental implant, then after the healing time was over, go back to their dentist to have the restoration done, only to find out the surgeon placed the implant in the wrong position.
It’s always better for the patient when they don’t have to switch back and forth between practitioners for each stage of the same procedure. Imperative number one for you would be to find a dentist who is trained in surgery as well. You want the implant for your front tooth in the perfect position to line the implant crown up precisely with the other teeth.
Dental Implant Imperative Two
It’s your front tooth, as you mentioned; the most visible of your smile. It’s important whichever dentist you go to is also skilled at cosmetic work, so you get a smile that is both beautiful and natural looking. Believe it or not, cosmetic work isn’t taught in general dental school. The dentist has to make it a serious area of study after they graduate.
Dr. Thein received his post-graduate training in cosmetic dentistry and full mouth reconstruction from the Esthetic Professional Dental Education Institute under Dr. Bruce Crispin, Professor Emeritus of the UCLA School of Dentistry.
What it boils down to is you need a dentist with two areas of expertise. Don’t hesitate to ask about their post-graduate training. If they balk about it, they’re not qualified. Also, ask (as you did with your dentist) how many cases they’ve done. Then ask how many of those were successful. Anything less than 98% is unacceptable. Look at their smile gallery, to make sure you’d be happy with the aesthetics of their work.
I’m going to mention this just in the way of long-term thinking. The color of your dental implant is permanent. If you’re even considering getting your teeth whitened, make sure you do it before you have your porcelain crown made. This way the color of your crown will fit perfectly in with your whiter smile.
If you’re in a hurry, you can have whitening done in one appointment with Zoom Whitening.
Of course, that’s just an option. You can wait and then get your whitening done later, but it will require you to re-do the implant crown afterward.
This blog is brought to you by La Crescenta Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Robert Thein.