Frequently Asked Questions
Do you provide second opinions?
Yes. Because of our experience and reputation, we are frequently asked to help patients weigh the information they’ve received elsewhere. It is helpful for you to bring (and preferably e-mail in advance) any x-rays, CT scan images or other information you were provided when you come to your appointment so that we have all of the information from which to make an assessment. If you don’t have those records, we can take them in our office. There is a charge for any additional records taken in our office.
Will it hurt?
We will be as gentle as possible. Our exams are completed with little or no discomfort.
Will I need x-rays?
We will need current periodontal x-rays in order to see disease not otherwise visible. If your referring dentist has taken x-rays, you may request that they be forwarded to us. When evaluating patients for tooth extractions and dental implants, we do require a current Dental CT Scan, which is taken right here in our office.
What will it cost?
Since all patients are different, our specialists must complete your examination before establishing your treatment plan and the fee for care. The fee for treatment can vary considerably depending on the type of problems and the complexity and length of treatment. An approximate fee can usually be determined at the initial visit; but on occasion, some initial treatment or further diagnostics must be completed before the final treatment plan can be established. Our philosophy of practice is to treat as conservatively as possible to attain treatment goals.
Will my insurance cover the cost?
Dental insurance policies often cover periodontal and dental implant treatment. Please bring all dental benefit information and cards to your examination appointment. Upon request, we will submit a claim to predetermine your insurance benefits; however, this is not required by most plans.
Will I need periodontal surgery?
Not everyone needs periodontal surgery. If treated early, gum disease can be controlled without surgery. We will make recommendations based on your individual situation. Our philosophy of practice is to treat as conservatively as possible to attain treatment goals.
The recent advances in periodontal treatment allow us to successfully treat most teeth.
When will I return to my general dentist?
Our office and your dentist will work closely together. If crowns and fillings are needed your dentist will provide them. Regular visits to your dentist are an important part of periodontal maintenance.
Is everything done in your office when I get a dental implant?
At South Bay Periodontics, our specialty is surgery, and our practice is limited to dental implant and periodontal surgical procedures. We do not restore teeth in our office; however, we regularly work with a network of reputable dentists who are experienced in quality restorations, including implant crowns, bridges and partial/full-mouth dentures. Throughout the implant process, we work closely with your restorative dentist to achieve a comfortable and aesthetically-pleasing outcome. In cases where our patients don’t already have a restorative dentist when they come to see us, we are happy to connect you with one in our network.
Do you offer same-day dental implants? What about “teeth in a day?”
“Same-day implants” advertising has grown in popularity over the past several years and, as such, can be somewhat confusing and misleading. The short answer is, yes; it is possible and we do perform these procedures regularly for patients. However, for a variety of factors ranging from oral infections to health-compromised patients, multi-step procedures with ample healing time in between may be required. The bottom line is that dental implants should only be placed in a healthy site.
The teeth you have following implant surgery are temporary but fully functional, as final restoration – or the final crown(s) or fixed dentures – does not happen until full healing from the implant surgery has taken place. All of that will be discussed at the time of your consultation appointment.
During your consultation visit, our doctors will provide you with a treatment plan and timeline that is optimal for you. For more information on Same-day implants, we have provided this treatment sequence and timeline.
How long does the entire dental implant process take?
Every case is different, but for many of our patients, the average time between implant placement and final restoration (the final “crown”) is as little as 2-8 months (you will have temporary teeth during that time). In general, it is good for patients to be aware that the installation of an implant(s) involves surgery and typically requires multiple office visits over the course of several months. Each phase in the treatment process requires ample healing time for the most successful outcome. Whether or not we need to extract a tooth or perform a bone graft, as well as the health of the patient, all play a role in treatment sequence. A personalized treatment plan and timeline will be discussed at your initial appointment.
What is dental implant surgery like? Is it painful?
Dental implant surgery is an in-office procedure and is generally carried out under local anesthesia (Novocain). The majority of our patients report only minor post-operative discomfort and, in most cases, are able to return to their routine activities the next day. Following our post-operative regimen aids tremendously in our patients’ healing.
Do you offer sedation?
Yes. We offer several options to keep our patients comfortable. In addition to local anesthesia (Novocain), we offer a mild oral sedative that is dissolved under the tongue prior to your appointment, or full IV sedation, administered by an anesthesiologist. All options will be presented to you at the time of your appointment. If you have specific requests or questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
I’m missing a tooth in the back and you can’t tell when I smile. It doesn’t bother me. Do I really need a dental implant?
For some people a missing tooth isn’t bothersome. Whether or not an implant should be placed comes down to two factors: aesthetics and functionality. There are instances where our doctors determine an implant placement is not functionally necessary, but due to look and feel, our patients opt to have an implant placed. In other cases, not placing an implant can cause problems in the healthy parts of your mouth. During your consultation appointment, our doctors will discuss with you whether or not an implant needs to be placed for functionality, and the impacts of not doing so. You can read more about the impacts of missing teeth here.
Do I need a dental implant for each missing tooth?
Often times several teeth can be anchored by one or two implants. During your consultation appointment, our doctors will discuss all of the possible implant scenarios with you, and the pros and cons of each.
Do you recommend implants for elderly patients?
We hear the following a lot: “I’m caring for my elderly Mother and her dentist has recommended she get a dental implant. Does she need an implant at this stage of life? Is it safe?” These are valid and important questions. Of course, every case is different and in our office is always treated as such. Generally speaking, elderly patients do benefit greatly from having fixed teeth, as they make the process of eating far more functional, enjoyable and nutritious; all important things both psychologically and physiologically as we age. However, sometimes no surgery is a better option for the patient. After meeting with the patient, reviewing their health history, and often times collaborating with their general physician, our doctors make the determination if implant surgery is safe and the best course of treatment for the highest quality of life.