A proven track record in delivering service matters. Senior professionals who have spent years labouring at their craft are likely to command higher fees. What you’re paying for is not only their service but their experience and ability to manage all sorts of treatments from straightforward to the most complex with confidence.
Some clinicians dedicate their lifetime keeping up with advancements in dental implants, one of the most skilled areas of dentistry. There’s an enormous amount of skill involved in dental implants to achieve natural looking results that will stand the test of time and in diagnosing and planning for an individual’s unique needs.
It’s important to know how well trained your dentist is at performing surgery and how well trained they are at replacing teeth. Replacing an entire set of teeth requires a strong knowledge base to re-create the ‘bite’.
What’s a ‘bite’? Simply this is how the teeth fit together against the opposing teeth.
A common complication of implants occurs when the ‘bite’ is not adjusted correctly. This can lead to pressure on the implants holding the teeth, sore jaws, headaches and even teeth popping off due to uncontrolled biting pressure.
Make no mistake this takes years to master and is one of the most challenging aspects of providing fixed teeth on implants.
Implants can have a success rate of up to 98% making it one of the most successful treatments but these studies are based on treatment performed by the most experienced of operators. There are studies to suggest that experience is a factor in the success rate of implants.
Here are some key questions to ask:
1. How many All on 4 procedures has the clinician performed?
All on 4 is a treatment that falls under the category of all fixed teeth on implants. Whilst All on 4 has only been around for 10 years, all fixed teeth on implants have been around for over 50 years. You’ll want to work with someone committed to this procedure and who has regularly performed it with years of experience to give you the best results.
2. What training have they done for this treatment?
Most patients are surprised to learn that there is no ‘official’ qualification for dental implants. The degree of training varies from a weekend course to someone who’s invested years to learn.
3. What is the longest patient follow-up they have?
This is more important than how many implants they’ve placed. You’ll want to see a proven track record and long-lasting results. Many All on 4 problems may not show up until years later. A good rule of thumb is to ask to see examples of work completed 5-10 years ago.
4. Ask to see lots of before and after All on 4 photos:
Most dentists will be more than happy to show you what to expect after treatment and the results they have been able to provide patients. The most experienced will be able to show you examples similar to yours so the cases are relevant to you.
5. Ask about the experience of the prosthetist that will work on your teeth:
Prosthetists are the professionals who work with making denture teeth, but not all of them have experience with dental implants. The level of experience makes a big difference to the quality of the teeth provided in how they look cosmetically and how long they last.
6. Has the doctor’s work ever been assessed by his colleagues?
Initially, before a dentist could do dental implants they would need to undergo training and submit at least 10 cases to be reviewed and critiqued by colleagues.
7. Does the doctor lecture or teach official courses and conferences?
Any dentist can set up a teaching facility or ‘Institute’ and say that they “teach” dental implants. Few are selected by independent committees to speak on these topics at official conferences based on the outcomes of their work.
Choosing the right doctor is a critical decision in your journey. Asking the right questions and “interviewing” prospective doctors will provide you with the information and confidence to help you make the right choice for you.
In the third and final instalment, we cover an important part of All on 4, your beautiful new teeth. Read on to learn all about your final teeth and everything you need to know to make the right decision for you.