The Complete Implant Procedure in One Office by One Doctor
Research shows that 85% of people who wear full or partial dentures experience some related discomfort and difficulty. From a single missing tooth to an entire set of teeth, dental implants can provide a permanent alternative to problem dentures. Dental implants can last a lifetime and are an excellent investment in oral health.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a bio-compatible, man-made substitute used to replace missing tooth roots; it's usually made from a space-age alloy of titanium. Implants come in various shapes and sizes to fit specific patient needs. Most are cylinders placed into the bone and allowed to heal undisturbed while bone heals around them, locking them in like an anchor. After a few months, the implants are used as a foundation for replacing the missing teeth.
The implants integrate into the bone. From then on, dental implants are anchored within, functioning as normal teeth. As regular daily jaw activity takes place (speaking, chewing), the bone surrounding the implant(s) becomes stronger. This option restores lost chewing ability, improves appearance and provides self-confidence to patients in need. Dental implants are a reliable, incredibly strong, comfortable and natural-looking solution to consider when it comes to replacing missing teeth.
The Dental Implant Procedure
Placement of dental implants is a minor surgical procedure performed in one or two office visits. If you have one-stage implants, the posts will extend through the gums while your tissues heal, and you will not need a second surgery. If you have two-stage implants, they will be placed under the gums while the bone heals. You will need a second, simple surgery to uncover them and attach a post to support your replacement teeth. After the implants are placed, the bone attaches to them and permanently anchors them within your jaw.
Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Dental implants have dramatically changed the lives of many for the better, helping them overcome the detrimental, and often devastating, effects of disease, poor function and unattractive smiles. When evaluating whether or not you would be candidate for dental implants, several things are considered, including:
- Your medical history: Discuss all medications and existing medical conditions with your dentist beforehand. Generally, if you are healthy enough to have typical dental work done, you can undergo the dental implant procedure.
- Bone loss: If you have a good amount of bone remaining, dental implants may still be successful. If there is not enough bone to support the implants, bone-grafting procedures may be required before a dental implant can be placed.
- Periodontal issues: Moderate to severe periodontal disease may require treatment prior to dental implant placement. Dental implants cannot be placed when gum disease is present.
- Smoking or tobacco use: If you're a smoker or tobacco user, this can affect the success of the implant as well as your overall dental health.
Who Benefits from Implant Dentistry?
- Anyone wanting to preserve their teeth while replacing missing teeth.
- Denture wearers who are frustrated with the problems of full and partial dentures.
- Those with bone loss that's causing loss of facial support or disfigurement.
- Those who are about to lose teeth due to decay or fracture.
- Those committed to a high level of dental health.
- Those with significant gum disease.
- Those with replacement bridges they don't like.
- Those considering major dental work.
- Those who want answers and results to the functional and appearance-related problems.
Are you embarrassed by your smile because of missing teeth, unattractive replacements or poor-fitting dentures? 30 million people in the U.S. have no teeth in one or both arches and tens of millions more have lost some teeth, but mostly are unaware of what dentistry can do to improve their health.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dental Implants
How can implants help?
Implants function much more like natural teeth than dentures. Implants are supported by the bone, not gum tissues, allowing 90 percent of chewing force to be restored when functioning with natural teeth.
Are implants noticeable?
Not at all. Since the replacement tooth or teeth covers the entire implant post, no one will know you have dental implants unless you tell them.
Are implants strictly for cosmetic purposes?
Implants do positively affect the cosmetic appearance of your teeth; however dentists look more at the health and functionality benefits that will be made possible.
What dentists can perform implant procedures?
Legally any dentist can perform implant procedures, however unique training and extensive experience is required to effectively diagnose and plan implant cases.
Is hospitalization necessary for the implant procedure?
Not usually, most implant procedures are completed with a local anesthetic in office. Other sedation methods may also be available. The only circumstances a brief hospital stay may be necessary is if a patient's health is compromised or a complex surgical procedure is required.
How long will the implant process take?
Implants can usually be placed in only one or two visits, with some cases fully completed in less than six weeks. However, the total length of the process is determined by factors such as length of healing time, type of implant and type of tooth replacement.
How are implants specifically placed?
Implants are placed surgically. Surgery time and what post-surgical care will be necessary depend on the complexity of the case and type of implant selected. After the procedure, you will be prescribed medication and receive recommendations the benefit your comfort and healing time.
Will I experience any pain or discomfort?
Anesthesia provided during the procedure will prevent any pain or discomfort. Afterwards, medication for pain, swelling or to prevent infections will be prescribed as well.
When will my permanent replacement tooth or teeth be attached?
Placing your permanent replacement(s) depends upon your healing time. This also depends upon the type of implant placed and whether or not the implant is allowed to osseointegrate – implants that heal into the bone. With most endosseous implants, the replacement tooth or teeth can be constructed within a few weeks of surgery and then placed once the implant is fully healed.
What are the chances of infection or other problems occurring?
The possibility of infection occurring in areas around implants is the same for natural teeth. Practicing good oral health will help prevent infection. In addition, since implants are made from biocompatible materials, the normally are not rejected by the body.
If my implants fail, can they be replaced?
Dental implants can fail due to disease or surgical complications. Many of the same reasons that cause normal tooth problems can negatively affect implants as well, such as teeth grinding, TMJ dysfunction and gum disease. Usually, with today's dental implant systems, a failed implant can be replaced.
How much do implants cost?
Cost depends upon the type of implant used and your individual case needs. A wide range of implants exist with varying fees. In your consultation with your dentist, a treatment plan identifying your needs and explaining fees will be discussed.
Are implants covered under dental or medical insurance?
Insurance coverage varies depending upon your provider. Some dental and medical insurances cover part of the expense in implant procedures and the replacement prosthetics necessary.
How long do implants last?
The longevity of implants depends upon certain factors such as your oral and overall health, condition of your bone structure and jaw and how well the implants are taken care of. Although no definite time frame can be given, healthy individuals who practice good oral hygiene typically enjoy the benefits of implants for many years.
If you are unsure if you're a candidate for dental implants, contact your dentist for a consultation today!