Fit & Forget Dental Implants – Part 2

So here’s the follow up to my last blog about fit and forget implants:

If you thinkmissing-teeth that you might benefit from dental implants..

here’s a few questions to put to the dentist before you choose to go ahead:

Q. What guarantees do you offer on your dental implants?

Q. Will you replace an implant if it doesn’t take – free of charge?

Q. And in the long term – how will you ensure that I still have my implants in 10 years?

Q. What are the ongoing maintenance requirements for dental implants, and how much does that maintenance cost?

Q. Can I see some before and after photos of your work?

Q. Can I speak to any of your patients who have had implants placed by you? (Ask for testimonials)

Q. How long have you been placing dental implants?

Q. How many implants have you placed?

Q. How many of those implants have failed?

Q. Talk to me about peri-implantitis!

Q. I’m a smoker – am I still suitable for dental implants?

Q. I have had gum disease, this is how I lost my teeth (they got wobbly and fell out), will the same thing happen to my dental implants?

Its important to know everything before you choose, and of course, we’ll answer all these questions for you in the Free Consultation.  

Fit and Forget Dental Implants?

dental-implant

A happy dental implant (last tooth on the right)

I love talking my patients. They are my lifeline to the real world out there – (you know the one where most people don’t spend all day every day thinking about teeth!)
This lady is one of my long standing dental implant patients – a few years ago we completely rebuilt her upper  teeth using custom porcelain bridges supported on titanium implants

The thing is, they look as good today as the day we fitted them all that time ago. But this is no accident. This lady follows Laura’s (one of our lovely hygienists – yes they’re out there, honest!) advice to the letter. She cleans the bridges and implants twice a day, and visits us every 6 months for her Healthy Mouth Review to allow us to monitor the health of her mouth and implants, to clean those areas even she can’t get to, and to carry out our Oral Cancer Check.

This is routine at Winning Smiles.

Implants need as much – possibly more – upkeep than natural teeth…they are a great copy of the real thing (better than a chinese rolex) but even I don’t claim to have beaten mother nature at her own game!

So when Gill told me yesterday that she is coming across more and more people who are benefiting from this sort of dental treatment – but some of them can’t understand why she has to keep coming back to see us for what they see as ‘unnecessary maintenance’,  I had to press her for further clarification! ‘Why?,’ I said.  And Gill went onto explain that these patients are popping into dental practices (yes in the UK) and having implants placed ‘as if they are just expensive fillings’!

This is a worrying trend. Problems with dental implants rarely cause pain, so for a patient who has been advised in this way the first time they realise there is a problem with their dental implants might be the day they fall out! The fact that this may take 5-10 years is what is protecting both these dentists (and their patients – ignorance is bliss) for the time-being. But it’s a ticking time-bomb. These cheap ‘quick-fit’ (and forget) implants have been placed in the last couple of years as more and more of the profession learn about them – in response to greater and greater demand from patients….alas it is only a matter of time before the chickens come home to roost. And when they do, the only winners (as usual) will be the lawyers.

Leaving the cost issue aside, once implants fail it is not nearly as easy to do them a 2nd time. The bone around them disappears – which is why they fall out – so if they fall out, by definition there is often no bone left to put another one in….and this puts us right back to the 1970s: dentures for all.

Happy Easter. Lay off the eggs 😉

Dentistry is about connecting with people

A wise old dentist once told me ‘dentistry is 85% communication and 15% manual dexterity’ (I’d like to think some of that 15% includes a level of artistry as well!)

What my dad meant was that without a high level of communication – in his opinion – good dentistry can’t happen.

What do we mean

  • make the patient feel at home – on the first visit!
  • explain all the options and their pros and cons
  • talk about fear and pain upfront and how to minimise both
  • be honest about the fees
  • take time to explain all the issues that can and do occur for a given treatment
  • discuss honestly how long the treatment will last and the necessary maintenance

The more we know about a new situation, the less frightened we are by our ‘imagining’ about what may occur. If the patient feels able to approach the dentist and the team at any time with any concern, or question, no matter what it is,  then it often happens that 90% of the previous nervousness, phobia or plain fear disappears.

Communicating gets the right results

With the right level of understanding, there need be no second thoughts or surprises, and we are given the proper permission to carry through with our high level dentistry. Building a level of confidence that the results will always match the expectations agreed between dentist and patient, means that patients feel right about things the whole way through

  • they know the dentistry looks good and will last
  • they are happy and comfortable and devoid of fear
  • they get to know how passionate we are about our work!

In the end. It’s all about connecting with people for me too. And that’s what gets me to work every day. That’s what inspires me.

That’s why I do it.

Why the implant market is growing

AF it is my belief that implants should be made available to the majority of our patients who would benefit from them and that this will only happen when they are introduced as routine treatment available at every high street dental practice. In the US even the lowest level of dental insurance covers patients for a lower full denture supported by 2 implants: they no longer recognise unsupported full lower dentures as ‘appropriate treatment’.

AF it is my belief that implants should be made available to the majority of our patients who would benefit from them and that this will only happen when they are introduced as routine treatment available at every high street dental practice. In the US even the lowest level of dental insurance covers patients for a lower full denture supported by 2 implants: they no longer recognise unsupported full lower dentures as ‘appropriate treatment’.

Sadly here in the UK, due to patients’ expectation that ‘it should all be available on the nhs’ and some dentists’ telling all their patients that implants are unaffordable (to who?) and excruciatingly painful, the number of implants in the general population has been kept artificially low. Demand is accelerating however as more patients become aware of this life changing treatment and less people become less and less tolerant of unsuccessful treatment like failed bridges and dentures…

The result of this is that there is now a staggering number of patients out there who would really benefit from this treatment but haven’t yet decided to take advantage of it. The confusion among patients (and some dentists) is made worse by the sheer number of websites/implant companies and – yes – implant dentists like me out there touting for business.

a

Pent up demand

Old people are getting younger

The reputation for dentures is such that you are now designated as old if your teeth are in a glass =

instant old age

Implants are better

Implant dentists are better

Implants are affordable

Skills are around to teach younger dentists ñ apply for the mentor program

The perception is that implants are painful and horrible, are changing

Digital Planning and modern techniques, especially immediate loading

Immediate loading is now accepted ñ most people are doing it wrong, poor quality acrylic only,

prosthetics

The failure rate of implants is highly affected by the prosthetics you choose ñ the durablity is massively

important

Donít give your implant a chance to fail ñ choose wisely,


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