I had an e-mail exchange with a woman named Ann. I don’t want to give too many details so I don’t reveal her identity, but I thought this last back and forth would be instructive. If you sense some frustration on my part, your perception is accurate. I was frustrated because what I had said in my earlier e-mail didn’t seem to impact her at all.
She had written to me in early December for help in asking what the best implants are made of and what the best dentures are made of. In my answer, I told her that the question is not as simple as she is making it sound. The best implant fixtures aren’t distinguished by the material they are made of but the care and precision in making them. Also, most dentists leave the materials research on denture bases to the dental laboratory, and they know by experience which dental laboratories they can trust for good information and quality workmanship.
I also gave her a warning about trying to take to herself the decision about materials. I told her that the way to get the best materials was to communicate to the dentist that’s what they want, to be willing to pay a little extra, to ask some probing questions, but then to, in the end, trust the dentist’s recommendations.
Here’s how she responded to that:
I never received a response since my last e-mail. I need to know the best implant materials because after I invest thousands of dollars a dentist will state, “I didn’t know you wanted the best.” It is crucial I know the best implant materials. I can no longer afford slip shod dentistry monetarily or medically.
Trust is a great motivator but honesty & integrity are also important.
How can I be assured I am getting the best?
Money is no object.
You’re going to continue to get slip-shod dentistry unless you change your approach. If you focus on micro-managing the dentist, you will get slip-shod dentistry.
Get the best dentist and you’ll get the best treatment. But if you micro-manage the dentist’s decision, he or she will not want to see you.
The best implant dentists will be fellows and diplomates in the American Academy of Implant Dentistry and in the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. Go to the ICOI website, and I believe they have lists of the dentists with these high credentials. Not all great implant dentists will pursue these credentials, so this isn’t an exclusive list, but those on the list have proven their expertise.
But I fear that if you had one of these top dentists, you wouldn’t like him or her because they wouldn’t want to play your game where you grill them about materials and want to pick the fixtures and all those other little details that you would like to manage. So you’ll walk out. And you’ll end up with a dentist who does play your game, and he or she will be just another in the line of shoddy dentists that somehow attract you. I’ve been on the receiving end of these micro-managing patients, and I can tell you from repeated experience that this is how it works.
There are people who are able to get excellent dental care and who seem to be able to find the best dentists. But they select their dentists on the basis of the dentist’s results, not with all this research where they try to take over the decision of the choice of materials or laboratories, etc.
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