With today’s modern dental techniques & technologies, dental implants are the best choice for replacing missing teeth & restoring your smile to both beauty & functionality. Here are a few answers to the most common questions we hear about dental implants so you can understand how this innovative & reliable treatment works. If you are interested in dental implants to restore your smile, please contact us for a consultation.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are man-made replacements for natural teeth. The implants themselves are artificial tooth roots made from titanium & are anchored in the gum & jawbone. The implant’s screw-like shape helps it stay in place by providing more surface area for your bone to grow into, a process called osseointegration. Replacement teeth, referred to as crowns, are then permanently secured to these metal implants. They can improve your appearance, boost your self-confidence & allow you to speak with greater clarity.
What are the health benefits of implants?
Because implanted teeth are fixed in the mouth—rather than being removable, like dentures—they allow a return to the comfort & function of natural teeth. Increased chewing ability means you can enjoy more nutritious foods, contributing to your overall health & wellbeing. Dental implants can help prevent future dental problems, especially the gradual bone loss in the jaw associated with missing teeth.
What are the quality of life benefits?
In addition to being beneficial to your nutrition, no longer being restricted from eating certain foods will certainly improve your mood! You’ll be able to enjoy all the same foods that those with natural teeth enjoy.
Of course, you may be even more excited about your beautiful smile. If you’ve had missing teeth or poor-fitting dentures, chances are you haven’t been confident in your smile for a while. You may have even been hiding it behind your hand or avoiding smiling completely. Many patients who have gotten dental implants report a spike in confidence & the urge to smile a lot, just because they can!
Many implant patients also experience an improvement in facial aesthetics. Your new implants mean your jaws will align properly, giving your face a more balanced & often more youthful appearance.
How long does treatment take?
Depending on your health condition & the type & number of implants you need, the implant procedure can take a day or a total of a few months.
In most cases when only one or a few implants are being placed, the first phase of treatment involves placing the implant in the bone of the jaw & allowing the bone to heal around it. The procedure itself takes 1-2 hours & the healing time can be 3-6 months. Once the dentist is satisfied that the implant is securely healed in place, the crown (i.e. the artificial tooth) will be attached to the implant. This takes one or two visits, depending on the situation.
For patients who are replacing all of their teeth at once, getting implants & prosthetic teeth placed in a single day is possible, though the overall healing time is usually about the same (3 months).
How long do implants last?
When properly taken care of just like natural teeth, dental implants should last a lifetime. In order to make sure your implants last, it’s important to follow all of the post-procedure instructions from your dentist. If you experience any pain or discomfort for an unusually long time after your procedure, please contact us right away.
Can anyone get implants?
Not all patients are eligible for dental implants. Generally, you must be in good general & oral health to be a candidate for implants. Those who are undergoing cancer treatment, have uncontrolled diabetes or uncontrolled periodontal (gum) disease, may not be eligible for dental implants. These conditions can affect whether the dental implant can be properly secured into the bone of your jaw, & can also affect post-operative outcomes. In creating your dental implant treatment plan, the dentist will assess all of the relevant health factors & advise you accordingly.
What are mini dental implants?
Those who may not be eligible for standard implants due to bone loss may be eligible for mini implants. Mini implants are smaller than standard implants so they don’t need as much space in the bone to be installed. Mini implants are used to secure an advanced kind of dentures or partial dentures. These dentures are much more secure than standard dentures because they clip on to the mini implants instead of being attached by adhesives. Patients who have implant-supported dentures are often able to eat many foods that they might not have been able to with standard dentures.
Mini dental implants can also be a slightly more affordable option for whole-mouth restoration than a full set of standard dental implants. You will need to have a consultation with the dentist in order to determine if mini implants is a good option for you.
What kind of care do implants require?
You care for your implants just as you would care for natural teeth: by brushing them for two minutes twice a day or after meals, & by flossing daily. With proper oral hygiene, your implants should give you a healthy smile that lasts the rest of your life.
How much do implants cost?
Because dental implants are a permanent solution & don’t need to be adjusted, refitted, or replaced, they are often a more cost effective in the long run than bridges or dentures. At a minimum, you will usually pay at least several thousand dollars for dental implants, but costs vary greatly depending on the specifics of your dental condition & the dental plan we are recommending. We understand that many patients have concerns about the cost of dental implants, & while the initial cost may seem high, having a permanent replacement for your teeth may ultimately mean you pay less for dental care in the future. Dental implants are a great investment in the long-term health of your smile. If you are interested in dental implants but have concerns about the cost, we encourage you to talk to us about your financial options.
How are implants better than bridges?
The main way implants are better than bridges for replacing missing teeth is they don’t rely on attaching to surrounding healthy teeth in order to stay in place. Because bridges are attached to surrounding teeth, they require these healthy teeth to be reshaped in order to replace the missing tooth between them. Bridges can also put you at a higher risk of tooth decay in the supporting teeth, while a standalone implant does not.
How are implants better than dentures?
The biggest advantage implants have over dentures is that they’re permanent. Unlike removable dentures or partial dentures, implants do not involve messy adhesives or false teeth getting in the way of speech or eating. Also, because they’re permanent, implants will always be a perfect fit, unlike dentures which may need to be refitted or replaced over time.