What are dental implants?
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.
How successful are dental implants?
Success rates vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed but, in general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 97%. With proper care, implants can last a lifetime.
Can Anyone Get Dental Implants?
There are no relative health contraindications to dental implants. Patients should have healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant. They also must be committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. In most cases, anyone healthy enough to undergo a routine dental extraction or oral surgery can be considered for an implant procedure. Heavy smokers, people suffering from uncontrolled chronic disorders – such as diabetes or heart disease – or patients who have had radiation therapy to the head/neck area need to be evaluated on an individual basis. If you are considering implants, talk to your dentist to see if they are right for you.
What are the advantages of Dental Implants?
- Implants restore proper chewing function so you can enjoy foods previously too “difficult” to eat.
- You feel confident that your replacement teeth won’t move or loosen.
- You regain the closest thing to the look, feel and function of your natural teeth.
- Forget about unsightly partial denture clasps which place damaging pressure on remaining natural teeth.
- Chew comfortably and efficiently.
- Eliminate irritated and painful gums.
- Improve your speech by eliminating or reducing the “fullness” of full or partial dentures.
- Replace missing teeth with the look and feel of natural teeth without having to “cut down” healthy teeth.
How are dental implants maintained?
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 sixth months, or more frequently if so advised.
How much time is involved with dental implants from start to finish?
Traditionally, the procedure has been performed in two steps. The dentist began by installing the implant, which was left for from three to six months to heal and integrate with the jawbone. During the healing period, the patient was given a temporary prosthesis until the permanent crown could be put in place.
Today, there is an alternative to the two-step method that allows you to have the implant installed in one whole piece in one single session. This new method has simplified the procedure a lot, both for patients and dentists.
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.
What is the difference between a bridge and a dental implant?
- Improved appearance: When you lose an 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 bridge doesn’t.
- Maintained natural teeth: With traditional practices, two teeth adjacent to a missing tooth must be ground down to anchor a bridge. Dental implants often eliminate the need to modify healthy teeth.
- Permanent solution: There are no loose parts to worry about. The implant is stable and comfortable. No adjustment is need after installation. Normally, it will serve its owner for life.
Is the treatment painful?
Just as with any surgery, there can be some discomfort. Anesthesia and patient sedation are used to eliminate any discomfort at the time of the procedure. 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. Ask your dentist to recommend another patient who has already had tooth replacement therapy to assess their personal experience.