I’m reading online about dental implants and getting nervous about them failing. I’ve had consultations with five different dentists. I’ve reduced the list to two dentists, and I have two questions before I make my final selection:
- In Dr. Thomas’s opinion, is a CT scan necessary before I get the implant? I prefer not to have another x-ray because I’ve had so many of them for other health reasons.
- One of the dentists I’m choosing between said she uses Southern Venturi dental implants. I don’t know anything about implant parts, so I don’t know if that’s a quality brand or not. My online search for an implant comparison isn’t getting good results. Should I be concerned about this brand?
Thanks. Janya from Silver Spring, MD
You’ve asked two thoughtful questions. Several factors can help prevent dental implant failure. Two of them you’ve already referred to, and we’ll discuss a third.
Preventing Dental Implant Failure
1. 3-D CT Scan
It’s easy to find a dentist who will place an implant without a CT scan. And in those situations, it’s not uncommon for patients to have the artificial tooth root puncture their nasal sinus when the implant is replacing a front tooth. Some dentists try to avoid piercing the sinuses by using a short implant fixture, but shorter fixtures don’t have longevity.
Yes, you need a 3-D CT scan—there is no substitute. It’s what your dentist needs to have a precise view of your sinus cavities, nerves, and blood vessels and prevent damaging them during implant placement—regardless of the location of the missing tooth. And it applies whether you’re receiving a single implant, multiple implants, or implant-supported dentures.
2. Dental Implant Brand
There are more than 100 dental implant manufacturers, but they vary in standards for quality control. We don’t have information about the Southern Venturi brand and its quality, but Dr. Thomas doesn’t use it. And we don’t know any skilled implant dentists who use that brand. Cheaper manufacturers often sacrifice quality. The result: implants that can loosen, cause irritation, and fail.
Straumann and Nobel Biocare are two of the top dental implant manufacturers. 3i, BioHorizons, Zimmer, and Astrotech also produce high-quality implant components. We recommend that you avoid a dentist who uses cheaper implant fixtures. Although less expensive fixtures can mean lower fees for patients, any problems that result will cost you more time and money to correct. And you’ll have a lot of pain and discomfort.
3. Your Dentist’s Qualifications
Although U.S. dentists can provide dental implants without specialized training, exercise caution when selecting your dentist. Visit his or her website to look for advanced education in implantology or oral surgery. Many implants dentists are members of—and have received training from—the American Academy of Implant Dentistry or the International Association of Oral Implantologists. These organizations have high standards for implant care.
Ask dentists how many implant cases they complete in a month or year. Also, ask to see before-and-after photos of patient implant cases. Although there is no guarantee that patients of the best implant dentists won’t experience issues, the risk of dental implant failure increases without 3-D diagnostic studies, high-quality implant fixtures, and a skilled dentist. If neither of the dentists you’re considering meets the criteria for a successful implant procedure, continue your search for an experienced provider.
David Finley, DDS, a fellow of the American Academy of General Dentistry who practices in Monroe, LA, sponsors this post. Dr. Finley completes the entire dental implant process in his office. Contact us to request a consultation, an appointment for an exam, or a second opinion on dental implants.