Below you will find common questions about dental implants and answers to help you better understand this state of the art dental care treatment. If you have further questions please feel free to contact our office.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a small titanium screw that serves as the replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth. Dental implants can be placed in either the upper or lower jaws. Due to the biocompatible properties of titanium, a dental implant fuses with the bone and becomes a good anchor for the replacement tooth. Dental implants can be used in solutions for replacing single or multiple missing teeth.
Why dental implants?
There are a number of reasons why you should consider a dental implant: Without the root structure of a natural tooth present, the intra-oral bone can shrink. This shrinkage will affect your other teeth, can compromise your bite and function, as well as make your face look older than it is. Dental implants are not removable. They are a fixed and permanent long term solution to replace missing teeth. The dental implant is stable and comfortable. Normally, it will serve its owner for a very long time, sometimes even for life.
How much do dental implants cost?
The fee for tooth replacement with dental implants depends on several factors, including the number of teeth being replaced and the number of dental implants required to support your replacement teeth. Some additional procedures may be required prior to the placement of your dental implants to ensure the long-term health of your dental implants. To obtain a specific fee estimate, it is necessary to have a periodontist examine your mouth. After a thorough diagnostic examination and radiographs, your dentist will recommend the treatment that is best for you.
Who is a Candidate?
Anyone who is missing one or more teeth due to injury, disease or tooth decay may be a candidate for dental implants. The determining factor is the amount of available bone and the patient's overall systemic health. Your periodontist is the best person to evaluate whether dental implants are a viable solution for you.
Is old age a problem?
Occasionally, older patients express concern that their age may prevent them from enjoying the benefits of dental implants. Health is more of a determining factor than age, If you’re healthy enough to have a tooth extracted, you’re probably healthy enough to receive dental implants. Certain chronic diseases may contraindicate dental implant treatment. Your periodontist will determine if you are a candidate for dental implants after careful evaluation of your dental & health history.
What are the advantages of dental implants over dentures or a conventional bridge?
Improved appearance: When you lose the entire tooth - crown and root - shrinkage of the intra-oral bone may cause your face to look older. Dental implants can stop this process. A traditional denture or dental bridge does not.
Preserve natural teeth: With traditional dental bridges, teeth adjacent to missing teeth are normally ground down to be used as anchors for a dental bridge. Dental implants often eliminate the need to modify healthy teeth.
Permanent solution: There are no loose parts to worry about losing. The dental implant is stable and comfortable. Normally, it will serve its owner for a very long time, often even for life.
How will dental implants affect my life?
Dental implant-supported replacement teeth look, feel and function like natural teeth. This means that you can eat and drink whatever you choose. But most importantly, dental implants often improve quality of life in a very concrete way. People who have felt embarrassed and worried because of their tooth problems are often overwhelmed by what new permanent teeth can do for their self-esteem.
Will my new teeth look natural?
When dental implants are used in combination with modern restorative dentistry, their appearance, comfort and function are very likely to exceed your expectations. Often they are hard to tell apart from your natural teeth.
Will I be able to chew with the same force and pressure I use with my natural teeth?
Yes. Following a brief adaptation period, chewing capacity is comparable to that of natural teeth.
How much time is required for a dental implant placement?
Today, state-of-the-art surgical techniques are utilized to place dental implants and often allow you to have the dental implant placed in a single session and/or at the time of tooth extraction. This method has significantly simplified the procedure, for both patients and dentists. The major advantage of immediate dental implant placement is the decreased overall healing time prior to a patient receiving their final restoration.
The conventional process can take 8 or more months assuming a tooth is extracted, left to heal for 4 months, and then after dental implant placement another 4 months healing is required. Immediate dental implant placement at the time of tooth extraction can cut that healing time in half and many anterior esthetically demanding cases also receive immediate temporization of the dental implant the same day as surgery.
The procedure chosen depends on several factors such as your dental health, the volume of available bone, the presence of infection, the number of teeth involved and which teeth are replaced. These factors will also determine the total number of visits to the periodontist/dentist throughout the treatment period.
Is the treatment painful?
With any surgery, there can be some discomfort. Placing one implant normally causes less discomfort then placing several. Local anesthesia and IV sedation are commonly administered to help reduce any discomfort during the dental implant process. Most patients report that they were much more comfortable following the procedure than they had anticipated. Your doctor will prescribe medications to ease any discomfort that may occur.
How will I feel after the treatment?
It is normal to have some bruising and swelling in the gum and soft tissues. But usually the discomfort, if any, is treated with a prescription from your doctor. You should expect to be able to work within 1-3 days depending on the treatment required.
How will I care for my dental implants?
Your new teeth must be cared for and checked regularly, just like your natural teeth. Brush and floss as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist. See your dentist in six months, or more frequently if so advised.