What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are surgical-grade root devices that support permanent tooth prosthetics that are manufactured to last a lifetime. These artificial roots are anchored in the bone beneath the gums where they become fused into the jaw. A crown is mounted atop the implant for a long-lasting and natural looking smile. Many dentists and patients prefer dental implants because they offer the same function as natural teeth and also help prevent bone atrophy in the jaw. Dental implants may be used to replace a single missing or damaged tooth or to restore an entire smile.
If you have missing teeth or heavily damaged teeth that need to be replaced, dental implants may be right for you. The process of getting a dental implant involves having a small rod placed within the bone beneath the gums where a tooth once was. The implant fuses with the jaw and eventually serves as an anchor for a crown or other tooth prosthetic. Because of their versatility, dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth or many missing teeth depending on the needs of the patient.
Did you know…
that approximately 30 million people live with no natural teeth in one or both jaws? But more and more dental patients are opting for dental implants as a means of tooth replacement. The American Academy of Implant Dentistry reports that 3 million people currently have dental implants – a number that is rapidly growing by about 500,000 per year. Modern titanium implants were first developed in the 1950’s, but archeologists have determined that ancient Egyptians and Mayans were the first cultures to implant artificial teeth.
Titanium dental implants carry a high rate of osseointegration with surrounding bone. Not only does that contribute to their strength and durability, but it also translates to a much higher success rate for dental implant patients. In fact, more than 98 percent of all dental implant procedures are successful.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are dental implants right for me?
You may qualify for dental implants if you have a missing, broken or severely decayed tooth. The only way of determining your eligibility for implants is to consult with an oral care provider to identify whether you have adequate bone support and healthy gums that will support the new tooth structure.
What should I expect if my dentist and I decide dental implants are right for me?
The placement of dental implants is a multi-step process that typically takes between 6 and 9 months to complete. It begins with a surgical procedure during which a titanium rod is placed where a previous natural tooth root once was. The gums are sutured shut over the implant where it will stay for several months while it heals and begins fusing with the surrounding bone. Due to the nature of implant placement and its average procedure time of between 1 and 2 hours, you’ll be sedated and/or anesthetized for the duration of the treatment. At the conclusion of the healing period, you’ll return to be fitted for permanent crowns and have them placed.
What type of post-treatment care will I require?
It is normal to experience some discomfort, including bruising and swelling following a dental implant procedure. However, inflammation and pain may be managed with over-the-counter medications, hydrocodone, or codeine. You may be asked to eat only soft foods for approximately 2 weeks until the surgical site heals.
Is it painful to get dental implants?
No. Dental implant procedures are generally painless in our office. Our office is equipped with state of the art technology that expedites the implant process and reduces pain and swelling. Sedation and anesthetic is also available to minimize discomfort during the implant process. Pain management options are available to individuals who experience discomfort during the healing and recovery period.
Is there a benefit to choosing dental implants over other dental prosthetics, such as a bridge?
Implants are the clear choice in dental prosthetics as they offer benefits that dentures and bridges alone are incapable of providing. Made from titanium, these prosthetics are designed to last a lifetime in most patients. Furthermore, they are as strong, functional and aesthetically appealing as natural teeth. Most importantly, dental implants fully replace the original tooth root, preventing jaw atrophy that is common with other tooth replacement options, such as dentures.
How long does this process take?
The actual placement of dental implants typically requires only a couple of hours in your oral surgeon’s office. However, you must first visit for a consultation and treatment planning.
Furthermore, some patients may require pre-surgical bone grafting to help fill in areas of the jaw that have already deteriorated due to tooth loss. Dental implants require several months to integrate with surrounding bone before patients can return to have permanent crowns put in place. If you would like to learn more about dental implants, please contact us today.
What is the Cost of Dental Implants?
It depends on whether there is enough bone to move forward with an implant. If bone grafting is needed first, it will cost more. However, it typically costs between $2,000 and $3,500 based on how many teeth are being replaced and how much bone grafting needs to occur first. An initial consultation will allow us to give you a more specific quote.