I’m wondering how I can protect myself from a similar situation that I read in the news about a dentist jailed after giving a woman distastrous dental implants. I’ve been considering getting dental implants and now I’m having second thoughts. Is there a way to avoid getting a dentist like this?
I understand your concern. Truthfully, the news can be a frightening place sometimes. You’re probably talking about the Mansueto Case, a dentist practicing after he lost his license. He received four years in jail. To put your mind at ease, this was a very rare case and there were some major red flags. Though a victim is never to be blamed and this man must have been very charming and convincing, there are some awareness issues that could have prevented this.
Red Flag #1: Patients Came to His Home
A professional dentist doesn’t invite people to his home for their dental work. Even consultations would be done at the office.
Red Flag #2: He Took Patients Out of the Country
Somehow he convinced his patients to go over the border with him for treatment. In this case, it was Tijuana. My guess is he told them he could save them a ton of money doing it outside of U.S. borders because of all our regulations and high-end products. That is true. You can get cheaper dental care elsewhere and there is a whole dental tourism industry going on right now. But, the results are often disastrous, as was this case.
Mexico is one example. There are no sanitizing guidelines for dentists. It’s up to them to decide what procedures, if any, they take to sanitize their equipment between patients. We’ve heard of patients coming back from there with massive infections and cheap implanted teeth that just snap in half in a few months. Often, patients have zero recourse because it was all done out of the country.
Staying Safe with Dental Implants
- Check your dentists credentials.
First, if you’re not familiar with the dentist, there is a website, put out by Illinois, to check a dentist’s licensing and whether there’s been any action taken against them, regardless of the state you’re in. Your state may have one as well, specific to local dentists.
- Look for a “specialist”
I put specialist in quotations because there isn’t a recognized specialty in implantology. Instead, dentists have to put forth extra effort post-graduate to get the additional training and practice to become an expert in dental implants. Do not hesitate to ask them what training they have in dental implants, as well as the number of cases they’ve done and their success rate. That should be somewhere around 98%. If they balk at answering any of those questions, I’d move on.
- Look at their implant cases
They should have a smile gallery of sorts which shows the cosmetic results of the procedures they’ve done. The last thing you want is a successful dental implant surgery with ugly implant crowns at the top. They need to be a skilled cosmetic dentist as well. For instance, Dr. Arnold is an accredited fellow with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. This means he’s one of the top cosmetic dentists in the world.
- Trust your gut
If something seems off to you, go with that. Always follow your instincts when you are dealing with these type of situations.
I hope this helps put your mind at ease. This blog is brought to you by Dr. Fred Arnold. Dr. Arnold offers online consultations for people who want to explore their treatment options before scheduling an appointment.