Over the past few years, dental implant centers have been cropping up at a rapid pace. Simply searching online for “dental implant center Miami” brings up dozens of options in the area for practices that specialize only in dental implants – titanium medical device that are implanted in the jaw bone to support artificial teeth.
As a dentist in Miami, I am concerned with the proliferation of these centers for a few reasons. First, the burden of dental diagnosis is shifted to the patient, rather than the dentist or prosthodontist. A specialized dental implant center only has one treatment option available – removing natural teeth and replacing them with artificial devices – so the decision is already made just by walking in the door. This is a very extreme measure that is really appropriate for only a small percentage of the patients that these centers service each year. However, the specialists have no motivation to help patients explore other options, even though those options could be less invasive, less expensive and less painful.
Secondly, approaching every patient with the same treatment entirely eliminates the diagnostic process. Patients would not go to a heart surgeon who performs only heart transplants on every patient, regardless of the real problem. What if a pacemaker could fix the patient’s heart? It wouldn’t make sense to have a heart transplant if a simpler, less invasive approach would solve the problem, and the same logic applies to dental implants. Replacing the natural teeth could be viable treatment option, but it’s not necessarily the best or only one. It’s in the best interest of the patient to consult first with a Miami dentist who can take a holistic view of the teeth and determine the best treatment option.
Finally, dental implants can be excellent options for replacing missing teeth, but they are still substitutes for the real thing. If anything goes wrong during the implantation process, it can lead to years of pain and dental problems for the patient. It’s important to remember that dental implants are placed into living tissue, which has the potential to impact the nerves, blood vessels and sinuses. If the implant is off even by a millimeter or two, it can turn the procedure from a success to a failure. In addition, fixing an improperly placed implant is expensive, time consuming, and can potentially lead to permanent damage of the jaw bone.
Dentists in Miami have helped hundreds of thousands of patients fix their smiles and look their best. Sometimes dental implants are the answer, but more often there are superior alternatives that will make patients just as happy without the added pain or cost. That is what a good Miami dentist should do – start with a diagnosis, and then work with the patient to identify and implement the best possible treatment.
For anyone looking for answers about whether dental implants are right for them, I encourage you to contact my office or another trusted dentist in Miami to schedule an appointment. Together, we can determine the best course of treatment for any dental problem.