Will my implant procedure be performed by one dentist or a team?
Many implant dentists will work individually, but you’re almost always better working with a team. Why? Dental implants are a complex procedure that requires a lot of knowledge to handle optimally. It’s too much knowledge for one person, really. A team of dentists is much better equipped to handle the procedure than an individual dentist is.
What training do you have as an implant dentist?
You should know what kind of treatment each of your implant dentists have. The level of training implant dentists have can range widely, from a weekend course to years of specialized training. Be aware that there is no recognized specialty in implant dentistry, so if a dentist says they are one, you should ask what they mean and find out what training they have received.
How much experience do you have as an implant dentist?
Training is essential for an implant dentist, but so is experience. Make sure you hear both parts of the answer about experience: how long a dentist has been performing implant procedures, and how many implant procedures a dentist performs each year.
If you are going to be working with a team of implant dentists, make sure you get information for every member of the team, as well as for the team as a whole.
Can I see before and after pictures and talk to previous patients?
What really matters for implant dentists is how well they can get results for their patients. Part of this can be seen if you look at before and after images. The other part, though, you need to talk to patients about. You need to know how patients feel about their experience, and any dentist who gives quality results should have patients who will speak to the quality of their results.
You can—and should—talk to a dentist about their success rate. Many dentists won’t have this number handy, but others will. Some dentists know this figure but don’t want to discuss it. If a dentist squirms uncomfortably when you ask this question, it might be best to consider someone else.
In Addition to These Questions . . .
These questions are just for your implant dentist, but that’s not all you should consider in making your decision. Look for reviews of the dentist, hopefully related to dental implants, but it could be other procedures, too. Remember that people are more likely to report negative experiences than positive ones, but take the reviews you read seriously.
Also talk to other members of the dentist’s staff, including the dental assistants, hygienists, and receptionists. In a dental office that handles a lot of dental implants, people who’ve been there for any length of time will pick up a lot of knowledge about dental implants just by contact with patients and the implant dentists. In really well-functioning offices, the dentist will want to make sure that everyone understands the procedures the office performs, so everyone will be prepared to answer at least some of your questions.
Once you’ve evaluated your implant dentist or dentists and the practice as a whole, you’ll know whether this is the best implant dentist for you. Make sure you talk to at least three before considering a decision. You will get better at evaluating their responses, and you will be more qualified to make a decision after talking to a few dentists.
If you would like to learn more about our Orange County implant dentists, please call (949) 551-5902 or email Rice Dentistry in Irvine for an appointment.