Sometimes people start working with a dentist and find they can’t finish. This might be because of a failing on the dentist’s part, or the dentist may retire or go out of business unexpectedly. Or it might be because a patient just decided they couldn’t work with that dentist anymore. Or maybe the patient’s circumstances changes and, for example, they can’t afford to finish their treatment plan.
Most dental treatments can be completed relatively quickly, making this kind of situation less likely. But dental implants can take a year to complete, which is a lot of time for life to intervene. The good news is, we can typically pick up where your last dentist left off.
Now Where Shall We Begin?
The dental implant process isn’t just long, it has several steps, and it’s important to figure out where you are in the process so we know what needs to happen next. We will definitely do x-rays to assess the state of your implants. If the x-rays don’t tell us everything we need to know, we may recommend that you get a CT scan.
Dental implants that are below the gums will be revealed and we’ll place abutments on them if they’re in good shape. Depending on the condition of your implants, bones, and gums, we may need to wait a little while for your gums to heal before placing implants.
If you have healing abutments–small metal caps that screw into your dental implants and prepare the tissue around the implant–we will remove them and assess the state of your implants. If they’re in good shape, we can usually place an abutment and attach a dental crown to your dental implant relatively quickly. In some situations, we may need to order parts, especially if you have an unusual brand or style of implant.
There are some concerns that may prevent us from going ahead with treatment right away. First, your implants may have poor placement. We may not be able to place attractive restorations on top of them or they may require special abutments to put the crowns in the right configuration. In rare cases, we might have to consider removal of one or more implants whose placement prevents good results from a neuromuscular or cosmetic perspective.
The other potential concern is that there may be gum disease around the implant, what is known as peri-implantitis. We will have to treat this to make sure your implants are healthy before we can begin placing dental crowns.
You Don’t Have to Explain
Once people break from their treatment plan or break from their first dentist, they may be reluctant to start treatment again because they don’t want to reopen the can of worms about why they left their last dentist. You don’t have to tell us why. We only want to know details that are relevant to completing your procedure.
And if you had personality conflicts with your previous dentist, it’s important to know that every dentist is different. A different dentist might be much easier to work with so you can finally finish what you started.