I’m at a total loss for what to say here. I had a tooth extracted a while back and my dentist has been after me to have an implant placed for as long as I’ve been seeing him. I finally saved up enough to do the procedure and was assured everything would be fine. However, when I came out of surgery, he told me that my bone may be inadequate to support the implant.
He gave me some explanation about how it had been too long since I’d lost the tooth and the bone had thinned out… more or less shifting the blame on me for not starting the work sooner.
As a “courtesy to me” he went ahead and placed the implant, but he says it will probably fail because I waited too long. He wants to remove it and do a bridge. But, he says the final decision is mine.
I’m not sure what to do here. I’m already out a couple thousand dollars on this implant. I’m tempted to go ahead with it since I’ve already invested so much. At the same time, I don’t want to seem like I’m questioning his judgment. Maybe I should be doing the bridge. What’s the best course of action here?
You should be questioning his judgment. If that’s what he told you, you absolutely should be questioning everything coming out of his mouth.
The Lack of Bone is Not Your Fault
What he said about how bone diminishes the longer a tooth is missing—that much is true. It’s referred to as resorption. When the bone isn’t needed to hold a tooth in, the body breaks it down and reroutes it to places that need the nutrients being held in the bone. The thing is, assessing the bone level before surgery is his job. If he couldn’t tell whether there was adequate bone from an x-ray, he should have been ordering additional scans. For him to put it on you like it’s your fault that he did a procedure without visibility—that’s simply wrong. He didn’t do his job.
He Shouldn’t Have Placed the Implant
When he realized the procedure couldn’t be completed properly, he should have stopped and gone over the options with you. It sounds like you might have been sedated, so he just went ahead with it anyway. That was not the appropriate course of action.
You Have Options Beyond a Bridge
If there isn’t adequate bone to hold this dental implant, sadly, it will have to go. However, that doesn’t mean you’re not a candidate for an implant. It usually just means that you’ll need additional procedures, such as bone grafting, to build the area up enough to be able to support the implant.
Visit a Different Dentist
Have a consultation with a new local dentist to see what your options are. It may go without saying, but if the new dentist feels the implant you have is not going to be stable as well, it would be unreasonable for the dentist to keep the fee for it. Best of luck to you.
This blog is sponsored by Dr. Raymond Bolt, an Auburn, Alabama dentist dedicated to quality care.