1: When was the last time you made a tooth on an implant?
Implant dentistry involves surgically placing an implant into your jaw to replace the missing root of your tooth and making a tooth on the implant. Some dentists only know how to place an implant into your jaw but do not know how to make a tooth on the implant. This might mean that they won’t know where to correctly place the implant. Unfortunately if your implant is placed incorrectly in your jawbone, the tooth over the implant will neither look nor function correctly.
2: What kind of connection (abutment) are you making on my implant?
There are two kinds of connecting elements between the implant and the tooth, the first is a custom abutment, and the second is a generic, off-the-shelf abutment. Always demand that a custom abutment be made.
Everyone’s gums are shaped differently and so most of the time, a generic abutment wont fit properly. This leaves space for cement to settle where it shouldn’t and often it’s too deep in the gum to remove. This is the leading cause of implant failure.
Custom abutments are made to measure, which makes removing and cleaning any excess cement easy and predictable. If someone quotes a cheap price, it is likely that they are using a generic and less expensive abutment.
3: How long has the implant model you are going to give me been in use?
In implant dentistry, the newest treatment option is not necessary the best. Would you take blood pressure medication that just came on the market or one that has been in use and proven to work for decades?
With dental implants, a good outcome has to be proven over a long period of time, as the implant must function in your mouth for decades.
Ask that the company, brand and particular implant model have been in clinical use at least 15 years. Why so long? Companies will discontinue implants if they are proven to not work according to recognized standards. That being said, it takes many years for all the flaws of a particular model to be recognized. If a brand or implant model has been in use over 15 years, it is likely a safe option.
4: How long has the implant manufacturing company been in business?
We expect the implant to be functional for decades. Over this period of time, the tooth/abutment on the implant may need to be changed. Is the manufacturing company going to be around to get the parts needed for repairs?
Are you going to be stuck with an implant that no one knows how to service and that has discontinued parts? It is best to use an implant made by a company that has been in business for at least 20 years.
Fortunately, the top 5 dental implant companies have been around for at least that long. If someone quotes a cheap price it is likely that they are using an implant from a newer company. It is also possible that they are using a “clone” implant, made to look similar to one of the top implant brands but without the years of research to support its longevity.
5: How many years did you study dental implants in a formal setting?
There is no official American Dental Association specialty in implant dentistry. All licensed dentists are allowed to place and restore implants.
The most efficient and comprehensive way to study implant dentistry is within the confines of a dental school or hospital based “Implant Program”. Training implant dentists spend at least two years performing implant procedures under the direct supervision of experienced implant dentists. The same supervision concept is used when student dentists are taught how to make fillings, caps, etc.
Fortunately, this learning format has been used for many years to train general dentists and specialists alike in implant dentistry. A note of caution, however, some specialist dentists claim an expertise in implant dentistry without having had any formal training in the field.
Over the past decades, we have gotten accustomed to a standard one-hour visit to the dentist. X-rays are taken, an exam is done by the dentist and teeth are cleaned by the hygienist. A routine dental visit may be appropriate for established patients, but today, a full dental exam consists of a lot more.
Has the world of dentistry really changed that much? Yes!
The past ten years have seen many positive changes in the world of dentistry thanks to breakthroughs in research, modern technology and more efficient practices. This could effectively change the future of dental disease for patients.
Let’s go over the components of a comprehensive exam and understand the different aspects:
X-rays of the entire mouth:
X-rays can identify many aspects of oral disease, including cavities between the teeth, bone loss or periodontal disease, infections, bone lesions, unusual dental growth and unerupted teeth
Diagnostic Imaging of entire mouth:
Pictures allow for the magnifications of dental conditions and the evaluation of existing restoration and potential new cavities under filling
Caries risk assessment:
This is the evaluation of snacking habits, oral hygiene habits and the existence of current cavities among other items to make an assessment of the likely hood of future cavities.
Gums risk assessment:
This is the measurement of the gums in millimeters, and evaluation of the color, aspect, and bleeding propensity of the gums to form an assessment for future gum problems.
Oral cancer screening and head & neck examination:
This is the examination of the cheeks and gum to identify early lesions that may need follow up to detect and prevent oral cancer.
Comprehensive oral evaluation:
This is the evaluation of all the above information to put together a plan to fix current issue and most importantly, to put together a customized prevention plan. This ensures that caries, gum disease and oral cancer are prevented in the future. This may include antibacterial mouth rinse, fluoride applications, diet/snacking recommendation and advice of a healthy balanced diet where fruits and vegetable are represented. Also this may include and awareness of risk factors for oral cancer such as smoking and frequent alcohol intake.
Oral hygiene instructions
Same day treatment plan and cost estimate (except in large cases requiring another appointment at no charge)
In total, we spend 1 h 40 minutes on your appointment. (50 minutes with the doctor and 50 minutes with the hygienist)
At Making You Smile we believe in prevention and we will spend a lot of time with every new and existing patients to customize a prevention plan to fit their oral health needs.
Screening for oral cancer is conducted every six months during your teeth cleaning appointment at our office. We look at the lips, cheeks, gums, tongue, under the tongue, and at the back of the mouth for any white or red changes. This routine examination is done regularly and at no charge when paired with your regular dental exam. If something unusual is detected visually, it will prompt further examination.
Early detection and treatment may well be the key to a complete recovery. If you have any questions, please let us know, Dr. Jalbout will provide you with the best possible care.
For further reading, please refer to:
Dental implants are the long-term replacement of missing teeth without the destruction of the adjacent natural teeth.
Why choose Dental Implants?
They restore your smile and chewing capacity to that of your natural teeth.
Dental implants are a replacement of the root: the part of the natural tooth that lies beneath the gums. They are similar to the natural root in that the implant is anchored directly into our jaw bone. This provides the foundation to attach a natural-looking ceramic replacement of your tooth.
Dental implants will allow you to restore your smile and chewing capacity to that of your natural teeth. A dental implant is the most functional, most long lasting, and most cost-effective replacement of missing teeth.
At Making You Smile, we'll provide you with the entire range of options and procedure related to replacing your missing teeth with dental implants. We have the experience and expertise to walk you through our comprehensive cosmetic analysis of your entire mouth.
"What is a Dental Implant?" is the first article in a series that answers your questions about dental implants as a permanent solution for replacing severely damaged and missing teeth.