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.
Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and also provide a fixed solution to having removable partial dentures.
Dental implants are very strong, stable, and durable and will last many years, but on occasion, they will have to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal wear.
Reasons for dental implants:
- Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth.
- Restore a patient’s confident smile.
- Restore chewing, speech, and digestion.
- Restore or enhance facial tissues.
- Without the root structure of a natural tooth present, the jawbone can shrink. This shrinkage will make your face look older than it is.
- There are no loose parts to worry about losing. The dental implant is stable and comfortable. No adjustment is needed after placement. Normally, it will serve its owner for life.
Are dental implants successful?
With more than three decades of clinical experience and over a million patients treated, statistics confirm a success rate of nearly 95 percent for individual Nobel Biocare dental implants.
* Results based on dental implants and dental bridges remaining and in function over a five-year period.
What does getting dental implants involve?
The process of getting implants requires a number of visits over several months.
X-rays and impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant. While the area is numb, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate itself onto the bone for up to six months. Depending on the type of implant, a second surgery may be required in order to place the “post” that will hold the artificial tooth in place. With other types of implants the post and anchor are already attached and placed at the same time.
After several weeks of healing the artificial teeth – usually porcelain crown(s) - are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor. Because several fittings may be required, this step may take one to two months to complete. After a healing period, the artificial teeth are securely attached to the implant, providing excellent stability and comfort to the patient.
You will receive care instructions when your treatment is completed. Good oral hygiene, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new implant.
Who places the dental implants?
In most cases, your dentist can place your dental implant in his office.
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 doctor examine your mouth. After a thorough diagnostic examination, 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. 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 prevent you from having dental implants. Your dentist will determine if you are a candidate for dental implants after a careful evaluation of your dental and health history.
What are the advantages of dental implants over dentures or a dental bridge?
Improved appearance: When you lose the entire tooth - crown and root - shrinkage of the jawbone may cause your face to look older. Dental implants can stop this process. A traditional denture or dental bridge doesn’t.
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.
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.
Is the treatment painful?
With any surgery, there can be some discomfort. Placing one implant normally causes less discomfort then placing several. Local Anesthesia is administered to reduce any discomfort during the dental implant process. Most patients report that they were much more comfortable following the procedure than they had anticipated.
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 an over-the-counter pain medication. You should expect to be able to work the next day.
How will I care for my dental implants?
Your new implant supported crown must be cared for and checked regularly. Brushing and flossing every day as you would with your natural teeth is recommended. See your dentist in six months, or more frequently if so advised.