A 67-year-old UK resident is left wondering whether having cosmetic dental implant surgery was such a good idea.
Trevor Peak, a company director from Hull, experienced dental implant failure within just a few years of his surgery. One crown fell out after Peak bit into a plum, another worked free and was swallowed while he slept, and his entire bridgework flew out during an especially emphatic talk at a business meeting.
With so many cosmetic dental implant specialists citing high success rates (often times 95% or greater), how common is Peak’s story? More importantly, how can it be prevented?
Implant training might be at the core of the issue. As full dental implants procedures become a more desired choice for many, dentists are understandably eager to step up and provide patients with what they want. While the sentiment may be a good one, proper training is still essential to provide the best care.
“This procedure used to be carried out only by specialists, practicing to high standards and being particular about which patients were suitable,” says David Corless-Smith of the UK’s Dental Law Partnership.
However, in Peak’s case, the dentist who installed the cosmetic implants may have known there would be complications before they even started.
After Peak’s extractions, his dentists informed him that there wasn’t enough viable bone in his jaw to hold the required implants, and that he would need a bone graft to continue. When Peak declined the bone graft, the dentists decided to proceed with procedure anyway.
“I now know that at that point they should have cancelled the whole plan,” says Peak. “They must have known then it wouldn’t work.”
Proper patient selection is crucial to the success of any dental implant procedure. Lifestyle habits of the prospective patient must be assessed and addressed, since some things (like smoking, for instance) can inhibit the healing process, which is so crucial to proper implant placement.
Peak was indeed a smoker before and during his procedure — a fact which may have contributed to the failure of his implants but was never addressed by his dentists. “Neither dentist asked me about smoking or advised me to stop,” says Peak.
This lack of proper pre-procedure questioning worries many in the industry. Dr. Michael Zybutz, a UK dentist specializing in implants and gum disease, asserts that some patients may be encountering dentists who have received only a weekend’s worth of training in implant dentistry and cosmetic dental surgery.
Never be afraid to ask your cosmetic dental specialist about their qualifications. You’re investing money in your appearance, your confidence, and your health. You deserve to know that the dentist you’ve chosen to help you has the skills and experience necessary to get the job done right, the first time.