Questions To Ask Your Dental Implant Dentist

Questions to ask your dental implant dentist

If you are choosing a dental team to perform your dental implant treatment you want to be sure that they can offer you the levels of experience, skill and patient care that will ensure both your safety and the beautiful new smile that you are hoping for – especially for more advanced treatments such as Smile in a Day same-day implants.

We recommend asking the following questions to help you decide on the right dental implant team for you.

1. What qualifications and training does your dentist have to place dental implants?

The benefits of dental implants are well documented – they offer a long-lasting, fixed-tooth solution to people who want to replace loose and missing teeth.

In the hands of an experienced and skilled surgeon, dental implant placement is a very safe and predictable procedure. Replacing single, multiple or full arches (upper or lower jaws) of teeth, implants can restore your ability to bite and chew normally, and to smile with confidence.

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks, so it is important to select an implant dentist with the right levels of experience to deliver consistently successful outcomes – both short and long-term.

Periodontists are dentists who specialise in the area of dentistry to do with the gums, jawbone and dental implant placement. This involves three years of additional full-time specific training, and only then can they register as a specialist periodontist with the General Dental Council, the body that governs UK dentists.

So, whilst any dentist can legally place implants after a two or three day module as part of their general dental training, a periodontist is essentially an expert in this field, with a proven track record of actual dental implant surgery.

Bear in mind that more advanced techniques such as same-day implants require a high level of skill and a more advanced knowledge, so it’s a good idea to check how often your dentist has performed the procedure before agreeing to surgery.

2. How current is your dentist’s specific dental implant training?

Dental implant techniques have advanced significantly in recent years, for example with the same-day dental implant technique, known variously as Smile in a Day, Teeth in a Day, All on 4 and same-day smiles. We advise asking your dentist what specific dental implant learning they have undertaken in the past year to ensure they are knowledgeable and confident in the latest techniques.

All UK registered dental clinical professionals must undertake continuous training and learning, known as Continual Professional Development (CPD). This ensures that their skills and knowledge are continually refreshed and that they are up to date with the latest advances in dental technology and techniques. However, this training will not include implantology training unless specifically sought out.

At Total Dentalcare (TDC), our clinical staff all attend on-going training that is directly relevant to implant dentistry, as well as wider dental developments and techniques.

3. How often does your dentist place dental implants?

General dentists may not routinely perform dental implant procedures, whereas surgeons at dedicated clinics such as TDC Implant Centres focus on implant patients on a daily and current basis.

A dental implant surgeon with the experience of placing many hundreds or thousands of implants over many years, and who regularly and currently places implants, is more likely to be able to competently handle all levels of surgery –  especially important for more advanced procedures and complex cases.

4. How many implants does your dentist stock?

Dedicated implant centres will routinely hold much higher levels of stock of implants in multiple sizes than general dentists. If a dentist orders only a pre-planned number and size of implants for individual treatment cases, they may not use the ideally sized implants if unforeseen circumstances occur during surgery.

“Restoring full sets of fixed teeth in a single day, then seeing someone smile again is always emotional. But don’t be fooled, it takes years of experience, meticulous planning and attention to the very smallest detail to safely deliver consistently outstanding results.”

Dr Anthony Zybutz – Advanced Aesthetic Dentist

5. How does your dentist assess a patient’s suitability for dental implant treatment?

Dental implants can be an ideal fixed tooth solution for most adults, but rigorous screening is vital to safeguard patient safety and deliver successful results.

There are two key areas that should be assessed by your dentist before dental implants can be confirmed as a suitable treatment option:

  • Your dental and medical history. Your dentist should have a full understanding of your dental issues, past treatments and how your dental issues are impacting on your well-being. They should do an oral examination, and talk to you in detail about your requirements and the solution you are ideally looking for.

Your dentist should also have a detailed understanding of your wider medical history, including medications, as these can sometimes affect the viability and success of dental implant treatment.

Your implant dentist will then be able to discuss the various treatment options, and which are likely to be safe and most suitable for you.

  • The quantity and quality of bone in your jaw. Detailed x rays from a CT scan enables your surgeon to see beneath the surface of your teeth and gums and to assess if there is enough bone for dental implants.

Whilst procedures such as TDC Smile in a Day are suitable even for patients with extreme gum disease and bone loss, careful analysis of the bone is vital in confirming a patient is suitable for treatment.

Some patients may need additional treatment such as zygomatic (cheekbone) or pterygoid implants.

If we believe that dental implants are not the right solution for you, our experienced dentists will discuss other options with you.

6. What technology does your dentist use to assess and treat their dental implant patients?

Use of the latest technology enables your dental implant team to fully assess and analyse your suitability for treatment and to plan your surgery, thereby optimising the likelihood of a successful outcome. At TDC Implant Centres we use state-of-the-art technology including:

  • Cone beam 3D CT scanner – these give detailed 3D x-rays of the bone, enabling us to confirm there is enough bone of the right quality and to plan the actual placement of the implants during surgery
  • Implant planning software
  • 3D printed jaw image. We often produce a 3D printed model of your jaws to help prepare for your surgery. Our team do a run-through before your surgery date to ensure that everyone is fully briefed and that every eventuality is planned for.

7. What dental implant system does your dentist use?

It is a misperception that all dental implants are the same.

Along with the skill and experience of your implant surgeon, the type and quality of implants used is one of the key factors that affects the success of dental implant treatment.

Low cost treatment can be an indicator of poorer quality of implants and components being used, and this could increase the risk of implant failure short and long term.

Dental implants are surgically inserted to replace your natural tooth roots, so it is important to use the safest and most proven materials that comply with the highest specifications.

At TDC we use one of the highest quality, clinically-proven implant systems available.

The implants are made from Grade 1V Titanium, an unalloyed titanium grade used for surgical implant application. Our manufacturers have been researching, manufacturing and supplying implants to high-end specialist practitioners for over 30 years.

The implants have been clinically tested to the highest industry standards and having long-term proven stability and bio-compatibility.

We use a “co-axis” precision-milled implant that has increased strength and stability to support the prosthetic teeth – especially important for full jaw same-day implant treatments.

“My advice is to research your options very carefully and be clear about your priorities. It’s an important decision that can make a huge difference to your life, so take time to find a dental implant team that has a proven track record, that can answer all your questions, and that you feel you can trust.”

Dr Michael Zybutz – Specialist Periodontist / Lead Surgeon

8. What are your dentist’s success rates and what guarantees do they offer?

Implant success rates vary according to multiple factors, including:

  • The skill and experience of the surgeon and their team
  • The quality of the implants and materials used
  • The dental and medical suitability of the individual patient
  • The long-term oral hygiene routine of the patient.

It takes 2-3 months for the bone to integrate (osseointegrate) with the dental implants. Failure is therefore apparent at your three-month check-up.

It is advisable to carefully check the terms and conditions relating to the guarantee if anything goes wrong.

At TDC, where we offer the most advanced same-day dental implant treatment and place thousands of dental implants every year, we have a success rate of over 99% at the point of osseointegration (the most common time for failure), and will replace any failed implant at this point free of charge.

After osseointegration, the responsibility for long-term success lies with the patient who must commit to an on-going dental care routine, just as you would with natural teeth.

If this is done, along with regular check-ups, your dental implants can last a lifetime.

9. Can I choose how my new teeth look?

Your implant dentist should make sure that your new teeth fit perfectly, that your ability to bite and chew is fully and comfortably restored and that you finish treatment with a beautiful new smile that you are proud of.

They should work with you to perfect the size and colour of your new teeth.

With single teeth, this may mean colour-matching to your existing teeth, with full arches (full upper or lower jaws of teeth)  it means creating a whole bespoke new smile – just how you want it to be.

Appropriate time should be taken to get both the fit and the aesthetics of your new teeth exactly right, with no detail spared.

10. What is your dentist’s patient care policy?

Patient dental implant care comes in two stages:

During treatment: Along with a high standard of clinical care, good communication is at the heart of a positive patient experience, so make sure your dentist has procedures in place to keep in regular contact with you, so you know what to expect at every stage.

Will you have a dedicated Patient Co-ordinator to care for you from start to finish? If you’re considering treatment abroad, will you have a contact who speaks English? Who should you contact if you have any questions or concerns during treatment?

Aftercare: Once your treatment is complete, it is important to care for your teeth with a good at-home dental routine.

Your dentist should provide you with all the necessary information so you can look after your new teeth with confidence.

Regular check-ups with your implant team are strongly advised so that any issues can be identified before they become more serious.

At TDC we enrol all patients onto our Maintenance Programme, helping you to keep your teeth in the best possible condition and giving you peace of mind.

11. What infection control procedures does your dentist follow?

Any surgical procedure carries the risk of infection so, for peace of mind, you should ask your dentist what procedures and safeguards are in place during your dental implant surgery and the course of your treatment.

The team should be trained in optimal infection control processes beyond those used during general dental treatment.

Here is a checklist that we adhere to at TDC Implant Centres:

  • Rigorous patient screening
  • Use of appropriate written checklists
  • Creating a sterile surgical environment – includes sterilisation of all equipment, wearing disposable gown, mask and gloves
  • Surgical scrubbing up – failure to do this properly can be a key source of spreading bacteria
  • Fully draping patients during surgery
  • Using appropriate antibiotics appropriately.

“We encourage our patients to ask lots of questions about the procedure, the materials we use, our experience, and our results – anything at all. Being well-informed helps people make the best decisions for them, and re-assures them that they are in the best possible hands.”

Dr Eial Makori – Dental Implant Dentist

12. What do past patients say?

Check website and social media reviews – nothing tells you as much about the patient experience as genuine reviews from actual patients who have undergone the treatment at a specific dental clinic. Online platforms such as TrustPilot and Feefo verify reviews to ensure they are genuine.

At TDC, not only can you see all our verified reviews, you can also see our team actually performing the Smile in a Day procedure to restore teeth and smiles on Channel 5’s Botched Up Bodies

13. What processes does your dentist have in place for nervous patients?

If you are nervous, knowing that your implant team has the relevant qualifications and experience of placing dental implants will help to give you peace of mind, as will positive patient reviews.

Visiting the practice for your initial consultation will give you a good indication of how the team approach patient care, and the environment where you will be treated.

Did you feel welcomed by both the dentist and the support team? Did they take time to put you at ease? Did you feel rushed or did they take time to listen?

As well as discussing your treatment options, your dentist should talk to you about your personal anxieties, including how they will make the procedure pain-free through pain relief and sedation.

14. What are your costs and what do they include?

Dental procedures such as dental implants are a significant investment, so you want to get it right first time.

Costs for dental implant treatment can vary for many reasons, so make sure you know exactly what is included in your treatment quote before you commit.

Ask your dentist if all dental implant costs are included. Unexpected extras incurred once treatment has begun can add up, resulting in a higher final charge than originally anticipated.

At TDC, our prices are transparent and clearly outlined before treatment begins. Our full arch dental implant cost (ie full top / bottom sets of teeth) is all-inclusive so that our patients can be confident they will not incur any additional costs.