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So you finally made the decision to replace some missing teeth with dental implants. If you’re current dentist does not place dental implants then what should you do? You can always go to a specialist that your general dentist may refer you. There is a good chance that you’ll get some good results. But if you’re replacing a tooth in the front or if you know that your situation is complex then it may require some more complex treatments. Dental implant options vary widely in complexity and some solutions require more training and equipment.

Here is a list of things I’d recommend you look at:

  1. To maximize the chance of superior results you should make sure your dentist has advanced training in dental implants. There are weekend courses that try to train dentists to begin their dental implant career but I’d be careful if your dentist has limited training. We all need to start somewhere and there are some cases that may be more suitable for beginning implantologists but if you want best results, more experience usually helps. Periodontists and oral surgeons usually have training in their dental schools and have more experience because other general dentists usually refer their dental implant surgery cases to them. However, there is a growing number of general dentists who have advanced training. In fact, many of the pioneers of dental implant surgeries were general dentists.
  2. Make sure the dentist has experience in the type of procedure that you’ll need. For example, if you’re missing all your teeth and are looking for a dentist to replace the entire arch with some dental implants, find one who is experienced in that procedure. As mentioned before, dental implantology is a very large field with very different techniques for different solutions.
  3. Some before and after photos of cases involving dental implants could be very helpful to see how nicely the doctors cases turned out. Sometimes there can be success in the dental implant surgical phase but if the final teeth on top of the implants look horrible, that can still be considered a cosmetic failure.
  4. If you’re looking for the best possible results then you want an implant dentist who will be working with superior dental labs. There is a huge range of quality in dental labs. Just like any other field, there are poor dental technicians, good ones, and then a few true artists. To get results that closest match your implant to your natural teeth requires proper planning from start to finish. An excellent lab is a critical part of getting you the best results.
  5. Be careful of the budget dental implant prices. Successful dental implants requires planning. Especially in the more difficult cases where planning is critical to success. Dentists advertising the lowest prices may not be spending the time to review scans closely, collaborating with the lab and/or specialists involved, and may be using inferior labs. There is a wide range of prices of dental implants. The major implant companies most often will have the special equipment and training available for difficult cases. They will also be around in business for many years. There are hundreds of implant companies now and many may not be around in 10 years. If you have a problem later but the implant manufacturer is out of business then you may be in a very difficult situation then. I’ve seen it happen when patients come in with implants from bankrupt companies.
  6. Make sure the dentist is using special scans. If the dentist is using a panographic xray then using special markers during the scan is ideal. It helps the dentist measure the distortion between the xray and the real life bone. This is especially important when the nerves are involved, a mistake here can lead to permanent numbness or even worse permanent pain! A cone beam CT scan (CBCT) is another useful scan with much less radiation than medical CT scans and minimal distortion. These scans can clearly show the positions of all the major landmarks and can make 3D preplanning of your case possible.

I’ve attached a video about choosing the right implant dentist for your review:

If you would like a free consultation on dental implants at our Honolulu office then contact Dr. Kim. He has many years of additional implant training as well as cosmetic dentistry training to help maximize beautiful and long lasting results.