Who's In Charge?
Q: I recently saw my dentist about several missing teeth. He doesn’t do the surgery to put implants in so he sent me to a specialist. I have enough bone to have the implants so now I am doing the research to find where I can get it done for the best price. I am on a pension and every dollar counts. I want a good job but I’m afraid I’m going to pay more than I should. How do I get the best job and the best price?
A: In your search for these services there are several ways they are performed. You’ve seen a surgeon who’s going to place the implants. When they are ready for teeth, your general dentist will place the teeth. Sometimes one specialist places the implants, and another places the teeth, and in some cases one dentist provides the whole service.
The most important part to the treatment is that one of the doctors (usually the one who places the teeth on the implants) takes charge. It is his job to analyze the esthetics, the function, the structure and the biology of the mouth before any work begins.
Last week a gentleman came into my office wanting information concerning implants. He has an appointment for implant placement in a couple of weeks and when I examined his mouth I saw teeth that were deteriorating dramatically. When I asked if these teeth were going to be restored with crowns to provide a stable bite he said he didn’t know he had other problems except three missing teeth.
In this case, a general dentist was relying on the specialist surgeon to tell the man his needs for a stable bite and the specialist was thinking that because the “generalist” was in command he would make sure the bite was strong and stable before putting in the new teeth.
This nice fellow was depending on two doctors and neither one had taken charge. Neither one had told him of his unstable bite. When implant teeth are put in the mouth all of the teeth must be carefully examined because natural teeth are in motion (micro movements) all the time. If the bite is unstable more force will be brought to bear on the implant teeth setting up a condition for possible failure.
The point I’m making is that price and cost are only the same on the day of payment; something that fails obviously costs more. If more than one doctor is involved make sure everyone is on the same page and the plan is clear – getting things right the first time will be your cheapest solution.