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We understand that the world of dental implants can be overwhelming, uncertain, and a bit scary. Hopefully, with the guidance of our expertise, we can ease those glaring concerns and answer the questions that every patient should be aware of before starting the process of receiving dental implants. Let’s start with the basics.

What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically placed in the jaw bone and, over a period of 4 months, integrates with the person’s jaw bone and can then be fitted with a crown. It feels and works almost identically to your natural tooth.

 

Why do people get dental implants?
People choose implants because they are a long term solution with an excellent prognosis to a missing tooth or missing teeth. They are very natural feeling.

 

How will a dental implant benefit my health?
A dental implant will help a person maintain healthy jaw bone, as well as help a person to choose healthy food choices rather than eating soft foods that people eat when they do not have teeth to chew with. They also help an individual maintain positive self esteem, as they do not need to worry about embarrassing moments caused by missing or loose teeth.

 

What are the disadvantages of dental implants?
The greatest disadvantage is the cost. Other than the cost, there are no disadvantages compared with edentulism (having lost teeth). Compared with natural teeth, there is the loss of sense of pressure, also called proprioception.

 

How much do implants cost and does insurance cover the cost?
Implants are expensive and cost up to $5,000 each, from extraction to full restoration. Insurance policies are all different, so it is important to know your insurance plan. Most dental providers will help you get a pre-determination from your insurance company so you know your benefits and co-pays.

 

What if I want metal-free implants?
A metal free implant is an option. They are made from ceramic zirconium oxide. The advantages are that they are more plaque resistant, provide good aesthetics, and are bio-compatible.

 

What does “all on 4” mean?
All on 4 is a procedure that, with the placement of 4 implants, allows a person to be restored with a full arch of teeth. This procedure allows a person to walk out of surgery with a temporary denture and, after healing, to have a permanent denture 6 months later. This procedure is much more affordable than a full arch of implants. So, it is a denture that snaps into implants.

 

Are dental implants removable like dentures? Or, do they stay in your mouth?
They stay in your mouth. They are not removable.

 

How do dental implants help if I have dentures or partial dentures?
Dental implants are used for dentures to snap onto, like all on 4. With a partial denture, the denture can be supported by implants, rather than your teeth, which helps preserve the health of the remaining teeth.

 

Does the body ever reject implants?
The answer is yes. The reasons include poor oral hygiene, smoking, poor bone quality, bruxism (teeth grinding) and poor surgical technique that allows the bone to become overheated during implant placement.

 

Are dental implants noticeable?
If an implant is placed and restored properly, they look just like natural teeth.

 

How does smoking affect dental implants?
Smoking increases the rate of implant failure to up to 20%. The reason for this is that smoking destroys the blood supply to the supporting bone and tissue.

 

How long do implants last?
Implants can last your lifetime. Their success rate is upwards of 96%. Failure is usually related to poor oral hygiene, bruxism, or other health issues.

 

Is a dental implant painful?
Implant surgery is not painful. A person has local anesthetic for the procedure and feels nothing. Following the procedure, there is some soreness that can be alleviated with Tylenol or Advil.

 

How long does the entire process take?
Replacing a tooth with an implant takes about 8 months, depending on the condition of the bone when the tooth was extracted.

 

What happens if a missing tooth is not replaced?
When a tooth is extracted, the supporting bone starts to shrink and is lost if not grafted and an implant placed. The teeth on either side of the missing tooth also lose bone and become less stable. The teeth on either side also shift, as well as the opposing tooth in the opposing arch.

 

Each dental implant case is unique to the patient. While these are the answers to many frequently asked questions on the matter, we always encourage a consultation so that our team can correctly diagnose and treat your specific situation. If dental implants are something you have thought about, give us a call today!