Implant Warning

The Five Secrets about Dental Implants that Your Dentist Does Not Want You to Know

by Dr. Alvarez-Carrera, assistant professor, Center for Prosthodontics and Implant Dentistry at Loma Linda University. California.

1. Most dental insurance policies do not cover dental implants.  This is beginning to change but what this means for most people is that they end up paying for the procedures out of their own pocket. You will find that the level of education, training and experience varies among dentists who perform dental implants. Even if you need a basic dental implant treatment, you need to do your research and find a competent Implant Dentist. Be aware that you get what you pay for. The cheapest work is often not the best. You should find a dental professional who specializes in dental implants.

2. Dentists do not need special training or certification to do dental implants. You may have noticed the sudden plethora of ads in your newspaper and on the radio touting all kinds of deals on dental implants. However, in order to do dental implants, a dental professional is not required to complete much training. In fact, many dentists (in the US as well as in Mexico and other countries) may have only completed a one-day seminar offered by an implant product manufacturer. That’s ALL they need to do implants. They do not need any serious training, additional certification or professional education.  In fact, many may have only completed a weekend seminar offered by an implant product manufacturer.

3. Experience is very important! Not everyone can do implants well.  If you are considering dental implants, you need to find someone with surgical and prosthetic implant experience – especially if you have severe periodontal disease or if you need multiple implants.  Inserting Dental Implants is a highly technical and sensitive surgical and prosthetic treatment which requires a high level of expertise.  There are risks for dental implants if not done correctly the first time.  These include local and systemic infection, failure, bone loss, nerve injury and the possibly that there might be “inadvertent perforation of the nasal sinus.”  Some can be serious life threatening complications. Dr. Alvarez-Carrera from  highlighted the importance of formal education, training and experience. He quoted the recent article in OsseoNews by Dr. John P. Schmitz at the Academy of Osseointegration in which he agrees with the advanced educational requirement for dentists performing implant dentistry, saying there is no simple dental implant and bone graft case. Most cases need to refer to the highly trained implant dentist, he quotes.

4. You don’t have to wait six to eight months to get teeth after your initial implant surgery. Most inexperienced dentists will want you to wait six to eight months after they insert the implants before you come back for your “permanent” teeth. While you wait for the implants to heal, you will have to wear dentures. Not only are temporary dentures are often very uncomfortable, awkward and expensive, it is often much healthier for your mouth to get what is known as “immediate loading.”

“Immediate loading” or “Same Day Dental Implants” is the process by which your dental implant specialist creates a “temporary” bridge and locks it in onto your new implants.  The same day you get the implants inserted, you can walk out of the office with a temporary bridge that not only looks like a set of regular teeth, but after a few weeks of healing, enables you to eat and chew.  (You may not be able to eat corn on the cob or chew hard food, but it is much better than dentures! You have fixed teeth!) Not everyone is a candidate, so you need to be examined.

Using a temporary fixed bridge enables your implants to heal without the discomfort of dentures. Dentures often have to be refitted several times to correct sore spots that develop. Also, by maintaining controlled stress on the bone via the “temporary fixed bridge”, it encourages bone growth. Your jawbones need the “exercise” from chewing and eating to maintain their health and consistency.

5. You can save a lot of money by going to a foreign country like Mexico in order to save money on your implant procedure. Because of lower overhead and labor costs in Mexico, you can save between 40 to 60 per cent of what the procedure would cost in the US.  Some Mexico Dental implant specialists and Dentists in Mexico have been doing implants and other procedures for much longer and more successfully than many of the dentists in the US who have recently added this procedure to the list of what they can do in their office. You want to check Dr. Alvarez-Carrera from LLU at

What do you need to ask before you get dental implants?

– What type of training did you get? Formal 3-year specialty, or just weekend seminars?
– How long have you been doing implants?
– How many implants have you done?
– How often do you place or restore implants?
– What is your success rate?

To prevent something going wrong or to avoid experiencing serious complications, patients should only use a dental implant specialist with years of experience and extensive training and certification. Also, if possible, check their credentials and talk to a few happy patients.

For more information about dental work and dental implants, you can contact the Dental Implants Center.

Call (619) 202-0233 or toll free at 1(888)287-9169, or E-mail:

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