Dental Implant Team
It takes a village to raise a child, they say. But we all know it takes a team to provide excellent dental implants and maintain pristine dental health. When you are considering an implant for your missing or decayed teeth you may consult, throughout the process, with your Dentist, Dental Hygienist, Restorative Dentist, Dental Surgeon, Dental assistant, and potentially even an orthodontist or endodontist. It takes a lot of “tists” to protect your smile and ensure you have an optimum comfort for your jaw.
When your dentist decides you will need a dental implant, they will consult multiple parties, like your oral and maxillofacial surgeons, hygienists, and dental and lab assistants. The team will coordinate and plan your options. During a consultation you will be able to learn about these options and autonomously select the best ones for you. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or consult with Insurance coverage before your proceed.
Your Dental surgeon will perform the procedure of your implant. This person is often also the Restorative Dentist. Your surgeon will insert the implant, and once the implant is set, your dentist will adhere the prosthetics. Your Dental surgeon is a great person to bounce questions to about medication used, intensity of recovery, percentage of success post surgery, and general surgical questions.
Think of this person as the manager of the team. The Restorative Dentist will coordinate the care plan for the implant. They will refer and select the other team members, and plan the care for the implant. They will consider the complexities of the surgical placement, direct referrals, plan surgical placement and coordinate team members, and develop the prosthetic treatment plan. This is your franchise player.
The Dental hygienist is learning from each procedure. The Dental hygienist has a career which demands constant updating and learning of ne technologies and standards. The Dental hygienist will assist with patient selection and care plans. They will also discuss maintenance assessment as well as hygiene consultations with the patient. They are hoping to ensure once the implant is placed and surgery is successful, that the patient is successful in caring for the implant. They are also aware of issues like infection and allergic reactions, and are advising on that. Your dental hygienist may also be in patient selection, wherein they will build relationships with patients and advocate for their selection for implant procedures.
After the implant
After the implant is successfully set, the Dentist will bond the prosthetic. At this point the maintenance team will step in, typically your primary dentist, dental hygienist and restorative dentist. The act of monitoring maintenance involves
- Clinical Evaluations- Clinical evaluations should involve mobility checks, to make sure the implant is not wiggling or loose. If looseness is noted early, it is probably a very easy solve.
- Digital Palpation- Pressing with the finger to look for signs of softness, infection, inflammation, or other problems with the gum or implant
- Radiographs and X rays- The implant and area should have an image recording from the day of surgery, 6 months after, and one year after. If after one year there are no pathology changes, one image every 3 years is acceptable
The longer lasting aspect of the maintenance stage is the continued use of strong dental hygiene for the life of the implant. The Dental hygienist and your primary Dentist will help to advise you on proper care and maintenance for the life of your implant. While having your teeth and smile back provides an amazing feeling, do not lose sight of the responsibility of caring for it. Certain products may be suggested, like specialized floss or electric toothbrushes, water flossers, or a tongue scrape. Just as a team helps to align your dental implant, a team helps you maintain the life of your teeth. On that team, your the star.
When you have the opportunity to work with a talented team of dental all-stars to get a new implant, take advantage of their expertise and ask questions. An informed consumer is a satisfied one. You might be wearing this new dental implant for the rest of your life, you want to be 100% satisfied that you made the right call. You will probably have a choice of materials to choose from, so be sure to research them in terms of durability, appearance, and price. Implant options will vary according to price, how many teeth will be replaced, the health of your gums and jaw, and whether or not both rows have teeth decay. Ask your team what options are the best fit for your jaw and gum health.