Choosing the Best Dentist to Provide Dental Implants: Buyer Beware

Dr. Jeffrey Ganeles gives patients practical advice and questions to ask when choosing a dentist or a team of dentists to provide dental implant services.

My advice is buyer beware.  Many dentists advertise placing dental implants or being able to do dental implants, but I recently ran across a dentist who had placed three implants on a pig jaw in a course over the weekend and then he thought he was ready to do implants on patients in his office.  That dentist has a vastly different skill set and experience base than the dentist who has placed 10,000 or 15,000 implants and has undergone years of training and meticulously reviewed their results.  Just because someone says they do dental implants does not mean that they are doing things at the same level as those of us who have done thousands of cases.

The other questions patients should ask the dentist ahead of time before proceeding with dental implant treatment are:

  1. How do you manage complications?
  2. Do you provide any warranties or guarantees?
  3. Do you refer patients out when problems arise or do you deal with them yourself?
  4. Do you do all aspects of every case by yourself, or do they favor a team approach? The best surgeons, the best doctors are those who know their limitations and also function much better within their comfort zone.  If someone has no limitations, then they do not have very objective criteria for case selection.
  5. What is your success rate?
  6. How many hours of continuing dental education courses do you take each year? This question is important because states have requirements that dentist take a certain number of hours of continuing education courses each year, but these requirements are minimal.  The best dentists take many hours of continuing education annually to stay up to date.
  7. Are you using named brand implants or are you using knockoff or cheap implants? There are many different implants that are available.  When you permanently replace a missing body part, you do not want to buy cheap replacement body parts because they may not last as long.  Dental implants are not all the same and there are differences in manufacturing tolerances, quality, and the expected lifespan of the implants and the teeth that are on top of them.
  8. Do you have specialty training? Specialists are by definition dentists who have completed an accredited residency program after dental school.  There is no specialty of implant dentistry.  The specialties that are specific to dental implants are periodontics, oral surgery and prosthodontics and those are all three-year training programs if not longer.  There are many weekend courses and there are organizations that may suggest that they credential implant surgeons, but unless a dentist has been recognized as such by the American Dental Association, then they are not considered a specialist.

Dr. Jeffrey Ganeles
Periodontist
South Florida Center for Periodontics and Implant Dentistry
Boca Raton, FL
New Patients Welcome
www.flsmile.com

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