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Posted on: October 2, 2020
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
Can Dental Implants Improve My Health?
If you’re among the millions of adults who are missing one or more permanent teeth or if you’re missing all of your teeth, then dental implants can improve both your smile and your overall health. Your teeth aren’t just for the aesthetics of your smile, they’re also important to your general well-being. Missing teeth should be replaced promptly so that your remaining teeth and jaw remain in proper alignment.
To be a candidate for implants, there are three physical requirements:
- Good physical health
- Healthy gums
- Sufficient bone in your jaw
Two types of implants are available. Your oral surgeon will recommend the best one for you.
- Endosteal implants (installed in the jawbone)
- Subperiosteal implants (placed beneath the gum tissue)
What Are Dental Implants?
Unlike dentures, dental implants are artificial teeth that look, feel, and function like your natural teeth and match the color, shape, and size of your original teeth.
A dental implant is comprised of three parts:
- The body: The body is a lightweight titanium post that’s very strong, so it can accommodate one tooth or several that have been bridged together. The post is permanently inserted into your jawbone and becomes the base for your artificial tooth. Titanium has a very low rejection rate, so your body should accept it through a process called osseointegration.
- The abutment: This connects the crown to the post and is installed after the post has fused to your jawbone.
- The crown: This is the visible part of the artificial tooth and is the last step of the implant installation process.
Why Are Dental Implants So Popular?
Implants are very popular with those who dislike dentures and bridges. Implants are permanently installed and won’t slip like dentures, don’t cause slurred speech, and won’t fall out.
What Happens When I Have Implant Surgery?
Each surgical procedure is unique to the individual, but most patients can expect the following steps in implant surgery:
- We’ll remove your damaged teeth, perform other procedures if necessary, and then prep the site for the implant installation.
- If you need a substantial bone graft, it will probably be performed during this time.
- We’ll install the body and perform a minor bone graft if it’s needed.
- You’ll need to allow time for healing and growth of the jawbone.
- We’ll install your abutment and when it’s healed, you’ll return so we can make impressions of your teeth and gums, which the dental lab will use to fabricate your crowns.
- We’ll install your crown or crowns.
The time to allot for your dental implant procedure will depend on the number and degree of difficulty of your procedures, as well as how quickly your body heals.
Who Requires a Bone Graft?
If you lack enough bone in your jaw, then you’ll need a graft. Bone can be taken from other parts of your body or we can use a bone-substitute material, but your surgeon will recommend the best option for you. A more substantial bone graft will take several additional months to heal.
What’s the Installation Procedure for the Implant?
Your surgeon will make an incision in your gum so the bone is exposed, and then drill a hole in the bone and place the titanium post in it. We’ll close the incision and wait for complete osseointegration.
What’s the Installation Procedure for the Abutment?
After your bone has assimilated the post, you’ll return for installation of the abutment. We’ll make another small incision in your gum near the post and place the abutment there. When the site has healed, you’ll return so we can take impressions of your teeth and gums and make molds that will be used to fabricate the crowns.
What’s the Installation Procedure for the Crown?
When your crowns are ready, you’ll return to have them installed. If you’ve selected removable crowns, you’ll receive them affixed to pink plastic gums that snap onto the abutment and are easily removed for cleaning. If you’re getting fixed crowns, we’ll adjust them for comfort and proper fit, and then permanently affix them.
What Do I Need to Do After the Surgery?
It’s normal to experience some minor bleeding, pain, swelling, and bruising after any dental procedure, so don’t be alarmed. We’ll provide you with tips on easing your discomfort and prescribe pain medication as needed. Your symptoms shouldn’t last for more than a few days, but please call the office if they persist.
What Are the Drawbacks of Implants?
As with most procedures, there are drawbacks to implants. The primary drawback is their cost. Depending on the complexity of your procedure, a single tooth can cost several thousand dollars, which may not be covered by dental insurance. If at some point in the future you need a replacement crown, your insurance may not cover that cost either. Another drawback is the length of time it takes to complete the implant procedure, which can take several months. Getting implants requires time and dedication, so they’re not the best choice for those who are looking for a quick solution to their dental dilemmas. Also, the implant process includes a series of surgical procedures, but not everyone is a good candidate for surgery. Some people have an adverse reaction to the anesthetic, there can be damage to the surrounding teeth or jawbone, an infection can set in, and there can be nerve damage. However, when performed by a qualified and experienced oral surgeon, the implant process is among the safest dental procedures available.
Those who have opted for dental implants over dentures or bridges are invariably happy with them and feel that their implants have been more cost effective than dentures would have been. Implants are a one-time expense for the most part, whereas dentures require repeated outlays for adhesives, creams, soaking solutions, and replacing broken, lost, or worn-out dentures. Implants facilitate normal eating and speaking, and since they appear so natural, no one can tell that they’re artificial.
Where Can I Get Dental Implants?
If you’re interested in having implant surgery, make sure you select a board-certified surgeon who’s happy to share a list of their credentials.
If you’d like to consult with one of our implant experts, give us a call and we’ll schedule a convenient appointment. Or, use our easy online booking tool at your convenience. We’re among the best in the area for high-quality, affordable dentistry, so contact us today. We hope to see you soon.