Diagnosis is Important
I was having pain in the area of a dental implant that was implanted in 2005 by another doctor. I was sure the implant had gone bad and needed to be replaced. I knew replacement would be very costly and very painful due to the placement of the implant near the sinus cavity. My dentist stated the implant would need to be taken out sooner or later as it was only be held together by a thin and retreating amount of bone.
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Rather than quickly get me under the knife, which I had fully expected the oral surgeon to recommend, Dr. Calat had me obtain old x-rays from previous dentists and the original oral surgeon who performed the implant surgery initially. After comparing these x-rays with a CAT scan taken by Dr. Calat, he determined that there was in fact significant bone in the area that did not show up on a conventional X-Ray machine. The pain was likely due to some bacteria relating to the location of the implant near the sinus cavity. The pain was gone a few days later, and Dr. Calat stated I will likely have some recurring bacteria in that area due to the placement, that amount of slight periodic pain is far more preferable than ripping out the implant and building a new one. Dr. Calat likely saved me thousands of dollars and a great deal of painful surgery by taking time and consideration in his prognosis. I probably spent about $500 on the x-rays and consultation, but this certainly seems better than spending $1000s of dollars doing an unnecessary complicated surgery.
Of course, its hard to say at the moment whether his prognosis will ultimately be correct. However, given the x-rays he showed me, I have a good degree of confidence he made the right call, and I will follow up with him in a year to make sure the dental implant is still in good shape.