Are you thinking of having Dental Implants? Stop and Read This First.
Posted Jul 01 2009 6:41pm
Dental Implants: So you are thinking about having dental implants huh? We are here to make your job easy in this process. There is quite that you and your dentist need to know about this procedure. And if everyone involved is well informed and prepared, the process is very simple and you will enjoy your brand new teeth for a very long time.
I am going to throw in a monkey in the wrench for you first however. Imagine Dr. Average. He has never done or placed any implants. The last time he had taken a course in anatomy was way back in the first year of dental school, and he has been out of school for a good 20 years. Let’s make him one of the doctors who has never done any surgery, meaning, he has never cut the gums, nor has he ever had to put any stitches on anyone. Dr. Average decides that he wants to start doing implants. So he finds an online course for dental implants, or a one day course if he is slightly more motivated, and Monday morning, he is an implantologist and unbeknownst to you, you are his first patient!
So what are the things you must know and learn before you have dental implants. The first thing is are you a good candidate for dental implants? People who suffer from medical conditions that has an effect on the immune system of the body, or inflammatory system, would need to be further evaluated. This is why a thorough, updated medical history is needed. At time, blood lab work up need to be done prior to having dental implants done. Anti inflammatory medications, steroids, pain medications and antibiotics are some of the medications that maybe prescribed to you before and after this procedure.
What else? Well, the big question is why do you need dental implants? Is it because you have broken your tooth? Then the cause of this needs to be evaluated. If not, you can do the same damage to the implants. What if you lost your tooth or teeth due to periodontal or gum disease? Did you know that you could lose the implants due to the same reason as well? Your diet, the PH of your mouth, your stress level, how you eat, chew, how the muscles of your head and neck function, all play a role in determining if you are a good candidate for dental implants or not. And if not, what are some alternatives, and or things that you can do to make you a good candidate for it now?
So what else does your dentist need to evaluate? Your dentist must evaluate the quality of your bone. Some implant companies even provide different types of implants for different types of bone. I will give you an example. Let’s say, you just bought a 2 beautiful 42 inch flat screen TV’s to be mounted on the wall in your house. One, you would like it to go on your living room wall (dry wall). The other, you would like it to go on a thick, old Oak entertainment center. Do you use the same screws or even number of screws for mounting these TVs? The same concept applies to dentistry. There are different types of quality and denseness of bone in the mouth. First of all, without taking CT scans, the only other way that a dentist can evaluate the quality of the bone is when they start to place the implant in your mouth, purely by the way the bone feels. Is this really scientific? You be the judge of that. CT scans today are an important piece of the puzzle to evaluate patients and also to treatment plan dental implants. The next thing is planning the implants. Where should it go and at what angle? These are the questions that the dentist who is going to be placing the crown over the implant (or the denture) will determine. If there are two dentists, a surgeon and a restorative, they must collaborate. Who is the quarter back? The restorative or the dentist who places the crown, not the surgeon.
Unfortunately, this does not happen often. Many times, the surgeons are the ones who determine where they would like the implant to go and then the restorative dentist ends up having to restore a positionally and esthetically compromised implant.
Why do you have to know these things? Because these steps are not followed properly most often. So where do you start? 1. Have your medical history be checked thoroughly by your dentist or dentists. Make sure no lab works are needed. Make sure you are a good candidate for dental implants, get rid of all existing causes of damage and pathology, correct bite issues, get gum disease and bite disease and dietary issues under control. 2. Consult the Restorative Dentist first. They must take models of your mouth, determine where they want the crowns to go, have special stents made by the lab. 3. You will wear these stents and have a CT scan of your jaw done. 4. The restorative dentist determines, the position and angulation of the crown that needs to be positioned in your mouth. 5. The surgeon determines if there is adequate bone to position the implant in the proper position and angulation that the restorative dentist had requested. If not, then bone grafting, sinus grafting or other procedures will be needed. The surgeon will evaluate the thickness of your gums as well. 6. The number of implants, type (based on the preference of both dentists and also based on your bone quality), the size and length of implant are all determined by both dentists. 7. The procedure is performed on the CT scan once virtually to make sure not complications in terms of positioning and anatomical structure (such as nerve damage) will happen. The CT scan will be sent to special labs to have a surgical stent fabricated so that the surgeon will duplicate with much accuracy the placement of the implant in your mouth in comparison to the CT scan or virtual version. 8. Once the surgical stent is available, then, you will be scheduled to have your implant(s) placed.
Follow the post op instructions, ice your face and take the proper medications. Very simple….. or is it?
How do you now determine who has the experience? And what does their training mean? I would recommend going to www.top3dentists.com to evaluate the dentists’ training, to evaluate the courses they have taken, their accolades and educating yourself as to what each course means to you. I would start with a Full Mouth Rejuvenation Dentist first and then you can look for an IMPLANT DENTIST if the first dentist did not place their own implants. Again, make sure they have the same level of expertise in the surgical aspect as they have in the restorative aspect of dental implantology. A thorough examination, treatment planning is the key to success. Do not underestimate the power of preparation.