Despite improvements in dental care, millions of people still suffer from tooth loss due to tooth decay, gum disease, injury, and other causes. In the past, the only viable treatment options were bridges and dentures; however, today, dental implants are a better alternative for people with missing teeth. Since dental implants look, feel, and function like regular teeth, they allow the patient to live normally and smile with confidence.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a small titanium fixture that serves as the replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth. The implant is placed in the upper or lower jaw. It will bond with the bone over time and thus serve as an anchor for the replacement tooth. Dental implants can be used to replace a single lost tooth or many missing teeth.
Who is a candidate?
Anyone who is missing one or more teeth due to injury, disease or decay may be a candidate for dental implants. The main limitation is the amount of available bone. Your dentist 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. However, 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 implant treatment. Your dentist will determine if you are a candidate for dental implants after a careful evaluation of your dental and health history.
What is the time period required for an implant placement?
Traditionally, the procedure has been performed in two steps. The tooth is extracted and the extraction site was allowed to heal for 3-6 months. Site preservation may be performed to optimize the foundation of bone for implant placement. Next, the implant is placed and allowed to integrate into the jawbone for an additional 3-6 months. After that time, the permanent crown of the tooth may be fabricated by your restorative dentist. If the missing tooth is in the anterior region, a temporary crown can be made to replace the missing tooth or teeth while the site is healing.
In some circumstances you may be a candidate for extraction and implant placement at the same time. This allows the treatment time to be shortened to only the 3-6 months where the implant must integrate into the jawbone.
If a full arch restoration is being performed with multiple implants placed
The procedure chosen depends on several factors, such as the patient’s dental health, the number of teeth involved and which teeth are replaced. These factors will also determine the total number of visits to the dentist throughout the treatment period.
Are dental implants successful?
With proper placement, restoration, and maintenance by the patient, over 95% of implants placed will succeed long term.
What are the expected results?
How will dental implants affect my life?
Implant-supported replacement teeth look, feel and function like natural teeth. This means that you can eat and drink whatever you are used to. 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.
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.
Is the treatment painful?
As with any surgical procedures, there can be some discomfort. Anesthesia is used to eliminate any discomfort during the procdure. Most patients report that they were much more comfortable following the procedure than they 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 small bruises and swelling in the gum and soft tissues. Usually, the discomfort, if any, is treated with an ordinary over the counter painkiller. You should expect to feel well enough to work the next day.
How will I care for my 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 every six months, or more frequently if so advised.
How much do implants cost?
The fee for tooth replacement with dental implants will depend on several factors, including the number of teeth being replaced and the number of 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. Typically, there is a fee for the surgical procedure and a separate fee for attaching the posts and constructing your replacement teeth. To obtain a specific fee estimate, it is necessary to have a doctor examine your mouth. After a thorough diagnostic examination, your dentist will recommend the treatment that is best for you.
Click on any of the questions below to be directed to the answer:
2. Who is a canidate?
2a. Is old age a problem?
5. What are the benifits of dental implants versus traditional treatment?
6a. How will dental implants affect my life?
6b. Will my new teeth look natural?
6c. Will I be able to chew with the same force and pressure I use with my natural teeth?
7. Is the treatment painful?