Update by user Feb 12, 2014
Single Implant of front tooth(#9) missing for 8 years. Total cost of $7200 (Bone Graft, Implant, Final Crown).
Clear Choice experience= 100% positive
The implant surgery was completed this week, and I took a day off to recover. Boredom inspired me to give an update even though I see that the readers think I am BS-ing.
First though, I want to mention the post graft period. I did notice two bumps in my gum line about two months after the graft surgery. They only hurt if pressed on, but just felt strange in general. I assumed the worst and immediately thought abscess or infection, but it turns out that it was just the screws that held the graft in place until it integrated.
Implant placement surgery: The surgeon told me I did very well, but I think he tells everybody that. My overall impression afterwards is that it was no big deal, and it really did not take as long as expected. I think my total time in the chair was about 35 minutes.
Unlike the bone graft, I opted for local anesthesia this time. Really, it was because I couldn't find someone to accompany me on a Tuesday morning. If you have the option, which you do with Clear Choice, take the IV Sedation (pay somebody to go with you if you have to!). With local I did not feel anything (except the first injections), but I did see, hear, and smell more than I ever wanted. The needles in the roof of my mouth brought me to tears, and the ones in the front gum were not much better. I think it was six or seven shots total, and every one of them hurt like ***. The topical anesthetic they prepped me with didn't numb much, but it did taste like bubble gum. The acute pain from the injections was hard to handle even for someone with a fairly high pain tolerance. I had tears streaming down my face, a white knuckle grip on the chair, and by the time he was finished I was shaking. The injections were quick though and then everything was good. I didn't even know he started until I smelled something that resembled burning hair. Up to that point I thought he was removing the temporary tooth. My eyes were closed in the beginning because I was still trying to relax after the injections. Yes, they were that bad! The actual procedure consisted of a lot of noise and a bit of pounding at the end to fill the screw holes from the graft. It was literally a small drill running in my mouth. Imagine drilling holes in wood...the grating, grinding, vibrations--that is what is happening in your mouth, but you are hearing it from inside of your head and the wood is your bone. I found it unnerving on a couple occasions, and had to consciously relax myself to stop shaking. The indentation from my hand is probably still in the arm rest. With the combination of him pushing progressively harder up on my upper jaw, the sound of the drill, and the grinding of the drill bit, all I kept imagining was the bit catching and busting into my sinuses like a regular drill making it all the way through a piece of wood…. Like I said…unnerving. The pushing and drilling was repeated a few times, but he was not making any progress. Based on his conversation with the assistants something malfunctioned, but he switched parts and was done in a couple minutes. The strangest sensation was when he screwed in the actual implant. With each turn I could feel the increasing pressure in my upper jaw/sinus area. The sensation was like having a large piece of something stuck between your teeth that you cannot see or feel—an odd pressure but no pain. After the implant was placed he shaped my jaw bone and then a couple taps to fill the screw holes, some stitches, and a post op CT scan. Then it was over…sort of. Next was the temporary crown. I took some pain killers and hung out in the recovery room for a bit while the pills started working. The crown took some time to put in because of my unique dental challenges and the fact that I just had *** drilled in my jaw. The worst part was when he had to take some of the stitches out to move them so the gum line would heal properly around the crown. Yes, this meant a couple more injections in the roof of my mouth, but these were not nearly as painful as he did not seem to go as deep as the surgeon. The hours immediately after the surgery were not too terrible. There was a moderate amount of bleeding, and my mouth was very sensitive to hot and cold. I stuck to soft foods and lukewarm soup and actually went into work for a couple hours to do some desk work. The following morning the swelling was much more pronounced, and the stitches remain tender. The area under my nose is especially sensitive to pressure (I have made the mistake of scratching my nose without thinking). Eating causes pain if food touches the area, but is generally unaffected—smaller bites and a slower pace is all that is needed. Overall, there is surprisingly little constant pain relative to the swelling. I would consider it more of just general soreness like the day after a strenuous workout. It’s early on in the recovery, but the hardest part has actually been not smoking. Put on a nicotine patch if you are a smoker because smoking cigarettes is not worth having you implant fail. They could not emphasize this enough after surgery. I also read that it increases the likelihood of failure seven times. Also, if you cannot do IV sedation, you should definitely ask for Xanax. If you must be sober and awake, then headphones and some music are probably a good idea too.
Original review posted by user Nov 06, 2013
My experience with Clear Choice has been positive so far, and I want people who find themselves on this site to hear the other side. I promise I am not a shill, do not work for Clear Choice, and do not have anything to gain from writing this other than killing time at work.
Yes, the sales person was aggressive, and yes she hunted for every possible financing option to get me in the chair for the initial evaluation with the doctor (that will cost you $1000 if you later change your mind--it's in the contract--and not hidden.) There is sales pressure, and she knew how to use my excitement to her advantage. After years of struggling with uncomfortable removable appliances, the reality of being able to have a permanent fix done in one location finally set in, and she knew how to play on that. If I needed to hire a sales person for my business, she would be on the top of my list.
Before the first official exam (the $1000 ante) I knew the total cost, and was told what needed to be done, and I was given a clear time line of expectations (nothing was a surprise anyway because I already discussed it with my regular dentist).
Since beginning the process with Clear Choice, I have zero complaints about the quality of care I have received. I have never felt rushed when talking with the dentist, and he always seems to have plenty of time to explain what is happening and what I should expect.
My bone graft took place off-site, and Clear Choice arranged all transportation from my home and back (I live over an hour away from Clear Choice). The surgeon who performed the bone graft procedure is very highly rated and highly recommended--I did my research before.
I have not been without a tooth since the bone graft, and I have been able to get it fixed very quickly both times I broke it. To be clear, it was my fault each time because I bit into something solid when I was supposed to be on a soft food diet. I have a front gap and very tight *** that does not allow much surface to bond the temp tooth to. Before the implant process, I went through three resin partials in 5 years and cannot even count the amount of times I had to superglue the tooth back on those...so, it had nothing to do with the quality of Clear Choice. But Clear Choice did get me in right away to get it fixed without any additional cost, and there is even a backup removable prosthesis already made in the event it happens again.
Clearly, the bone graft was not the most pleasant experience I have ever had. There is pain involved, but if you follow the post-op instructions and have your prescription prefilled it is manageable--I do recommend a day or even two off work after. It would have been possible to work, but being productive is a whole different story. The donor site in the back of my jaw hurt way more than the graft site for what it is worth. I had an uncomplicated wisdom tooth removal and the donor site was significantly more painful than that but not as painful as when my front tooth was originally pulled.
I am currently in the waiting phase while the graft heals, and I have experienced no complications at this point. I have followed through on my post-op visits, and now I wait.... My implant will be immediately loaded with a temp crown and then more waiting for the final restoration. This was all explained to me very clearly by the dentist.
I have dental insurance, and I am fortunate enough that my plan added coverage for implants in 2013--with a yearly max of $1500. Because implant coverage is still pretty rare, most cosmetic/implant dentists I have spoken to do not bill insurance and do not have contracted (reduced) rates. Clear Choice is no exception, but they have provided all of the information and documentation I have needed to file the claim myself.
To address the complaints here about cost, empty promises, etc. I would just like to say please do your research and get multiple opinions!
Dental implantation is a surgery--not a miracle, not at all simple, and never one size fits all. Based on my experience with the medical industry in general, the main concern is ensuring successful outcomes and that may mean screening out those who may be too high risk, or pursuing an aggressive treatment option when disease has progressed too far for conservative options.
Before I ever set foot in Clear Choice, I took care of my teeth, visited my dentist regularly, and discussed other replacement options with him taking into consideration my general oral health. We both knew the implant was the best option, if I could wait until I had the money.
I consulted with a surgeon in my insurance network. I had a general idea of the major costs (graft, surgery, crown), but working with a surgeon, my regular dentist, and an offsite lab, I knew from past experience there would be other costs and a lot of aggravation (especially living in a rural area). Not to mention the back and forth with insurance to make sure I get the best looking (not most cost effective) option, since #9 is a front tooth.
On paper, Clear Choice seems to cost 15-20% more than if I went through my insurance network providers, but Dr. Paik's credentials, the level of service received to date, and the overall convenience has reassured me that it isn't wasted money.
Bottom line: I chose Clear Choice, and have not regretted it.
My assessement is that Clear Choice is in the business of replacing teeth--not provding comprehensive dental care. If you walk in with a mouth full of diease and problems their business is to restore your smile (not your natural teeth). It isn't is a money grab, it is what their business model is. They are not constrained by insurance contracts, reimbursment limits, and "step-therapy" requirements, so they may propose very agressive options to restore your smile.
Always get a second opinion! If your regular dentist can save your teeth with a more conservative treatment plan, then that is your choice, but you have a responsibility to explore all available options and ask questions.
If you would like any details feel free to email me at mnkywrench79 at gmail dot com. I generally use this email for spam, but do check it routinely.
Product or Service Mentioned: Clear Choice Dental Service.
Location: Columbia, Maryland