The application and process of treatment. Frequently, patients do not understand how and when a dental implant may be used and the treatment sequence and time involved accomplishing this treatment. Concern about placement of a “foreign” material in their body. This concern may be dismissed by an explanation of the historical discovery and development of today’s dental implant. Cost and benefit of implants versus other treatment. This can be addressed by a comparative explanation of treatment options.
Dental1: What do you think is the best way for patients to learn about implant treatment?
Dr. Walsh: The best methods for patients to educate themselves regarding dental implant treatment are as follows:
a. Discuss implant treatment with their dentist.
b. Research the subject on the Internet or the library.
c. View brochures and pictures
d. View actual case before and after
e. Speak with an actual implant patient
Dental1: Are there any drawbacks to a patient scheduling a consultation if they are unsure what treatment they are interested in?
Dr. Walsh: None! I strongly encourage patients to schedule a consultation if there are any questions regarding their treatment. This applies to any treatment, not just dental implants. In my opinion, as a doctor, we are teachers. The word doctor derives from the Latin verb docere meaning to teach. Our duty is to educate our patients, and as a teacher to be a perpetual student ourselves.
Dental1: How quickly can you provide patients with teeth? Can this be accomplished in one day?
Dr. Walsh: Normally, it takes six to 12 weeks for a dental implant to integrate with the bone before a final prosthesis may be placed. In some instances, it is possible to place provisional teeth on the implants on the same day as surgery. Many factors affect this time sequence such as bone density, number of implants, and quality of bone or whether a bone graft was necessary. It is best for the surgeon and restorative dentist to collaborate on this. There are some new technologies that do allow for implant and restorative placement to occur on the same day; however, being conservative, I am waiting to see the progress prior to recommending them.
Dental1: Is there anything else you would like to share with the Dental1 community?
Dr. Walsh: I believe dentistry is at the beginning of a very exciting journey where we will be able to offer patients outstanding treatment options. We have dental implants that allow us to add back dentition that was lost. Additionally, we have cone beam CT and CAD-CAM technologies that allow us to visualize a patient’s skeletal and neuromuscular anatomy and plan surgical and restorative cases with unparalleled precision. Furthermore, we have cosmetic materials and adhesives that allow more esthetic and conservative treatments. Also, we have specialties working together and research programs making new products and technologies available. Is this an exciting time in dentistry? You bet! Do I love it? Yes! For patients, ask questions, make educated decisions.
See Dr. Walsh's office information.