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Are Dental Implants Right for You?

Will Dental Implants Be the Best Choice for Me?

If you’re one of the millions of adults who’s missing at least one tooth, then a dental implant might be a good choice for you. According to the CDC, almost 20 percent of adults over 65 have lost all of their teeth, and as many as two-thirds of those under 65 are missing at least one tooth. Whether the tooth loss was due to trauma or disease, an implant can restore the beauty of your smile and the alignment of your jaws and remaining teeth.

Your oral surgeon will evaluate your teeth and gums to determine if implants are a viable option for you. If you’re in good overall health, have healthy gums and sufficient jawbone to support the implant, then implants could be the solution for you. Even if you lack density in your jawbone, a bone graft could solve the problem.

What Are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is an artificial tooth that is customized to look and function like your natural teeth. It’s comprised of three separate components:

  1. The post, also called the body, is a lightweight titanium post that’s very strong. Titanium has a very low rejection rate, so your body should accept it easily through a process called osseointegration. The post is surgically inserted into your jawbone and functions like a root for your artificial tooth.
  2. The abutment is a connector that anchors your tooth to the post, and it’s usually installed after the post has fused to your jawbone during osseointegration. Some people have the abutment installed at the same time as the post, but most prefer to have it placed during a separate surgery.
  3. The crown, sometimes referred to as a prosthesis, is the visible part of the artificial tooth and is the last step of the implant procedure.

When implants are installed by a qualified oral surgeon, it’s one of the safest dental procedures.

Can Implants Solve My Dental Problems?

If your dental problems are caused by missing or damaged teeth, then dental implants may be the solution. Unlike a bridge or dentures, implants are permanently installed, so they never slip or fall out and won’t muddle your speech or cause problems when you’re eating. Replacing lost teeth can also restore the alignment of your jaw and remaining teeth, which might have been compromised due to the missing teeth.

What Will Happen When I Get an Implant?

Although each implant procedure is specific to the individual, you can expect the following general steps when you come to our office for one or more implants:

We’ll remove any damaged teeth during your initial appointment and perform additional treatments that are deemed necessary

  • If you need a bone graft, we’ll perform that
  • We’ll prep the site for the surgery
  • We’ll install the body, which is the titanium post
  • We’ll ensure healing and growth time for the jawbone
  • We’ll install your abutment
  • We’ll make impressions and fabricate your crown or crowns
  • We’ll affix your crown or crowns

The length of time needed for your entire procedure will be based on the complexity of your procedures and how fast your body heals.

Will a Bone Graft Be Necessary?

If you have a strong bone in your jaw, you probably won’t need a bone graft. If you do need one, it might be able to be performed during the installation of the titanium post. However, if you need a large graft, it will be done during a separate surgical procedure. We’ll use bone from another part of your body or an artificial, bone-like material.

How Will My Dentist Install the Implant?

Your oral surgeon will make an incision in the gum so that the jawbone is exposed and a hole can be drilled. The post will then be surgically implanted into the hole and the site will be closed with sutures. Over a period of months, your body will assimilate the post, fusing it to the bone in a process known as osseointegration.

How Will My Dentist Install the Abutment?

Once the incision has healed and osseointegration is complete, you’ll return to have your abutment installed—unless it was done at the same time as the post. Usually, patients prefer to have this done in a separate surgery, but it is an option. The surgeon will make another incision in the gum around the post and will attach the abutment. It will take a couple of weeks for the incision to heal, after which you’ll return to our office and we’ll make impressions of your teeth and gums. These impressions will be used to fabricate your crown or crowns.

How Will My Dentist Install the Crown?

Once we receive your crown, you’ll return for the installation. If you’ve elected to receive removable implants, your crowns will be in pink plastic gums that will snap onto your abutment, allowing you to easily remove them for cleaning or maintenance. If you’ve chosen to have fixed crowns installed, we’ll adjust them for fit, and then permanently affix them to the posts.

Will I Need to Take Precautions or Follow Aftercare Instructions?

It’s normal for patients to experience minor discomfort after a dental procedure. If you have minor bleeding, pain, swelling, or bruising, don’t be alarmed. Your surgeon will advise you on how to alleviate your discomfort and you’ll receive pain medication if necessary. The symptoms shouldn’t last for more than a few days. If they do, then please give us a call.

Are There Any Drawbacks to Implants?

All surgical procedures have benefits and drawbacks and that includes implants. The major drawback to implants is their initial cost, because one tooth can cost several thousand dollars, depending on the complexity of your procedure, and dental insurance may not cover implants. If you need to replace a crown sometime in the future, insurance may not cover that either. Fortunately, most oral surgeons offer payment options to help make the implants more affordable. Another issue is that dental implants require surgical procedures that have inherent risks, such as an adverse reaction to the anesthesia, infection, injury to the surrounding teeth and bone, and nerve damage. The time it takes to complete the entire implant installation can last several months when factoring in healing time, so it requires patience and commitment.

However, many patients feel that the initial cost and time invested in implants is well worth the results. Implants are usually a one-time investment compared to dentures, which can break and need to be replaced, and require adhesives and cleaning solutions. Implants are more comfortable and don’t slip or fall out, so there’s no fear about embarrassing moments. There are no eating restrictions, and implants won’t cause you to have unclear speech. For these reasons and more, many people find that implants are more cost-effective than their alternatives.

Who Can Install Implants in My Area?

If you’re looking for dental implants, be sure to select a board-certified surgeon who has the specialized training, education, and experience that’s needed to properly install implants. Most general dentists lack this level of expertise, so you need to find an oral surgeon who’s qualified.

If you’re interested in dental implants or another dental procedure, call our office for an appointment. You can also schedule a consultation by using our online booking tool. For high-quality, compassionate dental work, contact us today and let us help you. We look forward to working with you.

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