I have a missing front tooth. When I was at my last exam, my dentist told me that a dental implant would be the best treatment to replace my missing tooth. I have been thinking about it for awhile and agree when I heard about the alternatives. When I asked him for a referral, he said that he can do it himself.
I thought I would need to go to a specialist like I have for a root canal. So, I was surprised to hear that he can do it. So, I asked him more questions to see if he could show me some examples of other dental implant cases. He said he didn’t have any.
His response makes me a little nervous. Don’t get me wrong. I’d rather not have to go to another practice. But, I’m not convinced I’m in the best hands. The implant process sounds more complex than routine care. He even offered me a discount to schedule with him. Am I overthinking all this or should I be skeptical
-Sam in Texas
Thank you for your question. Dental implants are the best way to replace a missing tooth. But, you are correct to be somewhat skeptical because dental implants are quite complex and require the surgical component, as well as the restoration phase. So, you are wise to do your research.
The fact of the matter is that there is no recognized specialty area within dentistry for implants. So, any dentist can literally make the claim that they can do them. The experience level is wide-ranging and can come from a short, weekend dental implant course or an extensive implant training program. So, you need to do your homework.
However, to be an excellent implant dentist requires extensive training and experience beyond dental school. Any skilled implant dentist would be able to confidently show you cases similar to yours and answer all your questions. The American Academy of Implant Dentistry is a very well-respected organization in the field. So, if you find a dentist that is affiliated with them, it would be worth having a consultation.
At this time, it sounds like you need to explore your options. Offering a discount on dental implants also sounds like a red flag. If you need to travel to another city to find a dentist that can show you an extensive portfolio of work, has advanced implant dentistry training and credentials, it would be worth it.
Unfortunately, if an implant isn’t placed correctly, you can end up with all kinds of problems down the road. Get a second or third opinion before you make your decision.
Thank you for your question. James T. Gavrilos, DDS is an implant and cosmetic dentist located in Barrington, IL.