Today’s topic is going to be, “The speed at which we perform dental implant reconstructive treatment.” And it’s interesting that on my way over here today I saw three billboards advertising for dental implant practices that will give you teeth in a day. Teeth in a day? Teeth in a day! Won’t be long before we can give your teeth yesterday! (Haha) But in all seriousness, that topic of “teeth in a day” is an important one that patients don’t completely understand.
So, we live in this society of immediate gratification, where we press a button and we see a movie on demand.
We place an Amazon order and we get it the same day.
We drive through fast food and we can eat our meal within minutes.
So, I understand the idea of people wanting speed: wanting immediate gratification, wanting teeth in a day. But what if I told you that during every implant surgery, especially the big ones, what if I told you that the doctor that places your implants, at some time during that procedure, has to choose between speed and quality? Nobody ever talks about that. But that temporary that you are going to get on the day of surgery, many times, we are making that really, really important decision: speed or quality.
So let me explain a little bit further. To give you immediate, fixed temporaries on your implants, on the day of surgery, you have to have good bone VOLUME and good bone DENSITY. We can measure bone volume on the x-rays. So, going into the surgery, we know how much bone you have. What I don’t know and what nobody ever knows going into the surgery, because there’s no test for it, is your specific bone density. No two patients are alike, so we can’t promise people teeth in a day. How do we come to that decision? So, first, let me clarify that you are never going to leave this practice without teeth. So, don’t worry about that. You’re going to leave here with a beautiful smile, no matter what type of temporary you get. We’ll be prepared for both. The entire day will be scheduled for you and you alone and we will be prepared for all scenarios. But when it comes to the teeth in a day that you see on the billboards or the commercials or that you hear about on TV, that “Teeth in a day” is what I want to address when it comes to bone DENSITY.
So, the way we do it here in this practice, is we leave our options open. I’ll take out strategic teeth, I’ll place the first two implants and I’ll measure the implant stability, which is a reflection of the bone density.
If the first two implants are stable, and your bone density is good, then we will continue on with the treatment, I’ll place the rest of the implants, and you’ll get a fixed temporary on your implants that day.
IF either one of those first two implants has low stability- or poor bone density, we will not give you that fixed temporary on the implants that day. What we can do is leave other teeth in, take some other teeth out, we will be strategic about how we plan the rest of the surgery so that you’ll leave here with the temporary that we’ve talked about at your initial treatment planning visit.
That temporary that’s delivered on the day of your first surgery, can make or break the outcome of the treatment. So, I’ll just reiterate: that many times in these treatments, we’re choosing between speed and quality. And I hope you’re like me: I hope that you’ll always choose quality over speed. So, if that means you have to go up to eight weeks with a different kind of temporary, then, by all means, that’s what we should do.
So, I will always tell patients going into the surgery: “I will make that decision for you if you’re sedated. If you’re not sedated, we can talk about it.” But my goal is to always choose quality over speed. I hope you agree.
I hope this information has piqued your interest, but I’ve only touched on the surface of this whole idea of speed versus quality, as it relates to your temporary on the day of surgery.