What is an Implant?
A dental implant is a small "anchor" made of titanium. It is inserted into the jawbone to take the place of your missing tooth root. After osseointegration, or when the surrounding bone has attached to the implant, a replacement tooth is secured to the top of the implant.
How can one know if he is healthy enough to have implants?
If a person is well enough to undergo the treatment necessary for fixed bridgework or routine tooth extractions, the same person can undergo dental implant procedures. Also, patients may have general health conditions that would contraindicate implant procedures, although this is unusual. The best form of implant for you is determined after a thorough examination and discussion with your dentist and periodontist or oral surgeon. The amount and location of available bone is usually the major determinant as to which implant system is to be used, or whether you are a good implant candidate.
Will my new teeth look natural?
Your new teeth will look and feel like your natural teeth.
What will happen without treatment?
Your jawbone begins to shrink from lack of stimulation. Losing your teeth will affect your smile and change the shape of your face, causing you to look prematurely aged.
Is implant placement painful?
No, dental implants are typically placed under local anesthesia. Most treatments can be completed in your clinician's office.
What can one expect after the anesthesia wears off?
Generally there are no open wounds with implant surgery so healing is quite quick and un-eventful. You can expect some minor discomfort, but that can generally be managed with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or similar medication in prescription strength.
How long does it take to place dental implants?
It depends on the number and location of the implants, but simple, uncomplicated dental implant placement usually takes less than an hour.
What if there is not enough bone or gum tissue for the dental implant?
A graft may be needed if your clinician determines there is not sufficient bone or gum tissue.
How soon can one return to work after treatment?
You may return to work the next day unless otherwise instructed by your clinician. You may be prescribed medication to alleviate any minor discomfort you may have.
What about eating after implant surgery?
It’s generally important to avoid exposing any recent surgical site in the mouth to food if possible. A good rule of thumb is to eat soft, nutritious foods and keep well hydrated. Your dentist will recommend a diet and instructions on how to care for your new implants during healing.
How do one care for his implants?
Home care for your implants consists of brushing and flossing. Regular dental visits are required for long-term health and success.
How long does healing and construction of the replacement teeth (implant crowns) take?
The entire process usually takes about two to nine months, depending on your treatment plan. There are two main phases: First the implants have to heal by fusing to the bone, and then the tooth replacement restorations have to be fabricated and attached.
Can the body reject a dental implant, and if so what then?
Rejection of dental implants because of an allergy to titanium is extraordinarily rare, but it can happen. Occasionally an implant also doesn’t “take” or fuse to the bone the first time, either because it develops a capsule of fibrous tissue around it instead of fusing to the bone, or it gets infected. In either case it is simply removed and the site is allowed to heal. Then your surgeon can place another implant, which will integrate with the bone normally.
Are dental implants expensive?
Expense is always relative. For example, dental implants may be a little more expensive than fixed bridgework to place initially, but since they last so much longer, over time they are much more cost-effective.
How long do dental implants last?
Once a dental implant has fused to the bone successfully and it is functional, it should last many years if cared for properly. Many implants have now been in place for more than 40 years.
How does the long-term value of implants compare to other treatment options?
Dental implants are low maintenance and provide stability and confidence in your smile. Therefore, the long-term value of dental implants far exceeds conventional treatment options.