Some services do not require expertise. If you hire an amateur landscaper, for instance, it’s not the end of the world if they don’t do a great job. The results of hiring a newbie hair stylist can be a little more devastating, but hair grows out.
But then, on the other hand, there are certain things in life for which you should only ever seek the help of a bonafide expert. And anything regarding your teeth should be near the very top of that list.
At Dental Implant Experts in San Diego, patients receive the very best of the best in dental care by highly skilled and trained experts. But what exactly does that mean? What is a dental implant expert and what exactly do they do?
Periodontal surgeon Dr. Eric Driver explains:
Q: Let’s start with your expertise. What makes you a dental implant expert?
Dr. D: What makes me a dental implant expert is the fact that I’ve completed a residency in periodontics, which is a surgical based residency where we get three years of intensive training in dental implants exclusively. And then beyond that, I applied for Diplomate* status with the American Board of Periodontology, which is the next level of expertise in the field. So between the two, I’m really kind of at the top of the field in terms of a knowledge base and clinical ability when it comes to dental implants.
I’ve also been practicing since 2004, so in terms of the numbers of cases that I’ve done, the number of implants and surgeries, it would be in the thousands at this point. I have enough experience under my belt where I’ve seen the complications, I’ve managed them, and I know how to handle them.
*The American Board of Periodontology defines a Diplomate as “a periodontist who has made significant achievements beyond the mandatory educational requirements of the specialty and who is certified by the American Board of Periodontology.”
Q: How does your military background add to your expertise?
Dr. D: My military background does help out tremendously everyday in my expertise with what we do here. I was exposed to a lot of surgical based training in the military and the skills that I picked up there, I use every single day here. What that translates into is a more efficient, better experience for the patient.
Q: Would you mind explaining more about what you do?
Dr. D: The scope of the practice that I’m involved with is the area where if you come in and maybe you’ve broken a tooth in a car accident or a bike accident, or you lost a tooth due to periodontal disease, my main job is finding the best way to replace your broken down and missing teeth using dental implants in a safe and predictable way.
As a periodontist, one area of my field of training and practice is in saving teeth from periodontal disease, saving teeth that are missing gum tissue in areas you need to have it to maintain a healthy support for the teeth long term. So a good part of the work that I do is in rebuilding the bone and the gum tissue around your natural teeth to preserve their health and maintain them for life.
The other cases where maybe a tooth was neglected for too long and it cannot be saved, those are the cases where we look at dental implants as an option to replace those teeth. But truthfully, we try to save teeth whenever we can with either bone grafting or tissue grafting.
Q: Are there different types of dental implants?
Dr. D: In terms of the types of dental implants we do, there are really mainly two types of techniques. You either do an implant immediately, the same day the tooth is removed, or you do it in two stages where you take the tooth out, let the area heal, and then you do the implant. There are pros and cons to each approach. There are circumstances and cases where one would be better than the other. Those are all things I take into account when I look at a case and I’m putting together a treatment plan to figure out what’s best for the patient.
Q: What is the success rate with dental implants?
Dr. D: Success rate with implants in patients is in the 99.6% range. Success with dental implants these days is extremely high because of all the technology that’s been built into it, all the research that’s been built into it, and the level of training that goes into it. It’s very predictable, and if you follow the appropriate steps and you’re working with someone who knows the appropriate steps and has the background and training, then it’s within the 99% range.
Q: What can you tell us about the Hybrid4 Fixed Bridge Solution?
Dr. D: For patients that have maybe already been told they need to have their teeth removed and they need to transition into dentures, that can be an emotionally overpowering time of their life, and they may get very confused with the options out there.
One of the options is permanent teeth that are anchored onto dental implants. With the combination of dental implants and teeth that are fabricated in a lab, which look fantastic and completely function like natural teeth, we now have the ability in dentistry to reproduce somebody’s smile and their bite in total so all their teeth can be replaced.
Gone are the days when you’re just forced into using a denture that you take in and out, and that are very hard to wear. So now we have much better options, and a lot of patients are unaware of that. Here we have the knowledge, the ability, the materials, and techniques to make that possible.
Q: Do you have any special way of helping anxious patients through the implant procedure?
Dr. D: Here in our practice, we do cater to patients who have a lot of dental fears. We have different levels of sedations that we can offer to help with that. We do offer IV sedation as one of the techniques to make them very comfortable and make it an experience that could not be easier. They come in. We do a sedation where they’re very relaxed, and they go home and the work is done.
Q: Do you offer follow-up care?
Dr. D: With the cases that we manage here regarding dental implants, we do follow the cases closely. Patients are appointed for follow-ups in a timely manner to make sure we are monitoring the healing. And not only the healing before the implant is restored with a crown, but also the follow-up after that to make sure that the implant is receiving proper maintenance so that there are no issues once the case is completed.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
Dr. D: My favorite part in performing the dental implants and the surgeries that we do here is seeing the transformation in the patient. Where you take a patient who is mentally unhappy with the state of their mouth and they lack confidence, and being able to completely turn them around and give them a new smile and the confidence to go out in life and do great things. For me, that’s where I get the most satisfaction.