In today’s society, dental implants have become the best option to replace a missing tooth or multiple teeth. If you are thinking of getting a dental implant or several, you need to know what questions to ask your doctor before the procedure. After all, would you want a heart surgeon to perform open heart surgery on you or a loved one if he or she was inexperienced? Here are a set of seven questions that you would need to ask your doctor before receiving your dental implants. 

Doctor, how many implants a month do you place ? 

If he or she replies three to four implants a month, that is not a lot. Just as you want an airline pilot to have thousands of hours of flight time experience, it is beneficial to have an implant doctor that does many implants. In our office, we sometimes will place five to seven implants in a day. Experience counts in both heart surgery and in implant placement. 

Do I have enough bone for an implant?
This is information is very important, as insufficient bone around an implant can lead to implant failure. An analysis of how much height and width of bone for the implant site is critical to ensure success. If your doctor does not make sure you have enough bone, the long-term success of the implant can be compromised. So, if you don’t have enough bone, what is the remedy? A bone graft is a procedure that can be done to established proper bone mass. Both vertical and horizontal bone grafting can be completed. Again, this is a procedure where experience and technique are critical. Typically, in our office we do bone grafting on about 60% of our cases, both vertically and horizontally.

Doctor, do you have a cone beam x-ray unit in your office?

Cone beam technology is a 3D radiograph of the implant site and allows the doctor to map out the bone anatomy of your implant site. Pinpoint locations of nerves, sinus cavities, width, and height of the implant site is possible. Cone beam units are a very expensive item, and most doctors do not have one. We have had a cone beam unit in our office for many years now, and we always get a cone beam image before we do an implant. It gives us the most accurate and concise image possible to map out the implant placement. 

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Glenn Schmidt, DDS, MS
Family Dentistry & Implants