When you realize you need implant dentistry, you encounter many claims of dentists who are “tops” or “the best” or even the “clear choice” for implant dentistry. Friends and family or newspapers, radio or internet ads don’t really explain how dentists earn that status. Yet, there are discreet things to look for when you are trying to discern the clear choice for meeting your dental implant needs.
1. Wide Range of Services and Experience
Some dentists only do implant dentistry, while for others implant dentistry is only a rare occurrence. If you believe you are candidate for implant dentistry, consult with a dentist who performs a wide range of dentistry, including a large number of implant cases. Such a dentist will carefully consider your implant dentistry needs, offer you options, and be completely comfortable with performing the dentistry you desire to achieve the smile of your dreams. While it is true that implant dentistry technology has progressed to the point that most cases do not involve several different dentists or specialists and months to complete, some patients’ needs are complex. If your situation requires the services of an oral surgeon or other specialist (whether it is because of excessive bone loss or jaw issues), a top implant dentist with a wide range of experience will refer you to an appropriate specialist with whom the implant dentist has a mature professional relationship. If your dental implant needs are simple, top implant dentists will have the experience, technology and tools to meet your needs in as little as one appointment. Don’t ever be afraid to ask to see examples of cases similar to what the dentist proposes to do for you, and ask to see at least ten similar cases. If the dentist has only a few examples, you probably will want to keep looking for a top implant dentist.
2. Exceptional Communication and Planning
Just as you would carefully choose a surgeon or financial planner, you should dedicate time to getting to know your implant dentist. Top implant dentists desire a relationship with each patient to clearly understand their expectations. The best implant dentists know that it doesn’t matter how technically correct the dentistry is if it’s not what the patient wants. Relationships that thoroughly explore a patient’s desires and the options for fulfilling them rarely happen in one visit. You and your dentist will most likely have to invest time in each other to ensure that your expectations are understood. Any dentist who is not willing to spend time with his patients to understand their needs and desires is unlikely to come near meeting their expectations and is even less likely to exceed those expectations. The best implant dentists know and realize that for a patient’s implant dentistry to last and perform well, careful planning must occur both before and after the procedure. Top implant dentists engage in comprehensive staging and planning and discuss not only the approach to your restoration but also the steps necessary to protect and ensure the longevity of your dental implants. If the implant dentist with whom you consult is more interested in what he or she can do for you than in what you want, or does not explain the process for realizing and maintaining your dental dreams, you are not talking to a top implant dentist.
3. Exceptional Environment
The secrets to finding a top implant dentist explained above relate to qualities of the dentist himself or herself. This final secret relates to the environment surrounding the dentist. Chances are great that if the office is designed for the comfort of those who spend time there, you will feel relaxed and peaceful. If you are greeted by people who are competent and genuinely interested in your well-being and comfort, you might reflect that the dentist who has surrounded himself with such exceptionally caring people is of like mind. Environments which reflect indifference to the comfort of the implant dentist’s patients or team are not likely to be the home of the best implant dentist for you.