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Dental Implants FAQ

Dental implants are one of the best choices for replacing missing teeth.

Questions to Ask Before Getting Dental Implants

Dental implants are one of the best choices for replacing missing teeth. If you have scheduled an implant procedure or are considering dental implant surgery, you should consult with your oral surgeon prior to treatment. The following is a list of questions to help you gather the information you need before your dental implants are placed:

What are Dental Implants?
It’s probably easiest to imagine a dental implant as being a type of artificial tooth root. Your natural tooth root is replaced with a dental implant, consisting of a titanium post that is inserted into the jawbone. An abutment is then attached to the titanium post, and this looks a little like a small peg tooth that sticks up just above the gum line. The abutment supports the artificial tooth. Dental implants can be used to replace single or multiple teeth, or to hold full dentures in place.

Dental implants are extremely versatile, and although the procedure to have a dental implant takes a little longer, it’s often considered to be the gold standard for replacing teeth. Dental implants don’t have any negative effects on existing teeth, and a well-cared for dental implant can last for many decades.

Who Can Have Dental Implants?
Most people will be able to have dental implants, provided they are in good dental health and have good general health. There are exceptions, as people who smoke, and those with impaired immune systems may not be able to have dental implants, for example diabetics who are unable to control their blood sugar levels. This is because these conditions affect the body’s ability to heal, and increase the risk of implant failure. Age is not a factor, and many older people have found implants to be very beneficial, particularly for holding loose dentures in position.

It is necessary to have sufficient good quality bone to support the dental implants. This can sometimes be a problem for people who lost teeth some time ago, but it is possible to have bone grafts to help replace missing bone. Bone loss can occur once the teeth have been extracted, as the jawbone will not continue to replace old bone cells, so the bone is gradually reabsorbed by the body.

The success rate for dental implants is very high, typically in the region of 95%, and this technology has now been used for decades so it is very safe.

Am I a good candidate for dental implant therapy?
Ideal patients will have a sufficient amount of bone to allow the implant to fuse properly with the jawbone.

Will I need any pre-operative procedures?
If you do not have sufficient bone to successfully place the implant, a bone graft may be suggested to provide supplemental bone.

What type of dental implants will be placed?
Depending on your specific case, there are several different types of implants your surgeon will consider.

How long with the implant placement procedure take to complete?
Most implants can be placed in just a few hours.

What complications or risks could I possibly expect?
The most common complication associated with dental implant surgery is the risk of infection, which would impact recovery time.

Can you describe the healing process from dental implant surgery?
Your doctor should be able to explain the length of time you will need to heal, as well as provide surgery aftercare instructions for you to follow.

With proper placement and care, dental implants can last a lifetime. Making certain you understand the procedure and recovery process are important steps to ensuring your dental implant procedure is successful. Consult with your oral surgeon for answers to these and any other questions you have specific to your situation.

What are Benefits of Dental Implants?
No matter how you might try to prevent it, tooth loss still occurs more than you might realize. Accidents, gum disease, and severe tooth decay are just a few of the reasons for missing teeth. Dentures and bridges have been the most common solutions for restoring missing teeth in the past, but dental implants have quickly become a popular restoration.

A dental implant basically provides a whole new root and tooth in your smile. Made of titanium, the implant is surgically inserted right into your jaw so that it fuses with your jaw bone as healing occurs. This creates a new tooth root that provides a base so that an artificial tooth may be attached on top. An implant is able to support one or more artificial teeth.

Implants offer a number of benefits to patients. Some of these are:
  • Comfort – there is no slipping or discomfort that sometimes accompanies other restorations.
  • Confidence – a complete smile boosts your self-esteem and prompts you to smile again.
  • Convenience – implants are permanent and are cleaned with regular brushing and flossing.
  • Durability – implants should last a lifetime with proper dental care and checkups.
  • Appearance – implants fuse with your jaw and look like natural teeth, so that no one can even tell you have an implant.
  • Speech – no slipping means that your speech isn’t compromised as sometimes happens with dentures or bridges.
  • Eating – there are no issues with eating the foods you enjoy, because implants function just like real teeth.
  • Oral health – neighboring teeth are not affected by a dental implant.

Dental implants are usually performed by a dentist or oral surgeon using local anesthesia. The entire process takes some time because each stage needs time to heal. First the implant is inserted into the jaw, then after it heals, a post is placed to hold the tooth. Once it is ready, the artificial tooth is placed and you’ll be able to enjoy your fully restored smile.

Why Not Consider Dental Implants?

If you are missing teeth, you may feel self-conscious about your smile. And lost teeth can impact your chewing and speaking ability. Over time, bone degeneration and subsequent tooth loss can also occur. Dental implants are a great option to replace missing teeth and revive your smile. Look at the following reasons as you way your options:

  • Dental implants are a permanent solution. – Designed to look and feel like your original tooth, a dental implant is surgically placed under your gum and the dentist places a prosthetic crown on each post. These replacement options create a solid, attractive smile.
  • Dental implants stand the test of time. – Although they may cost more money initially than dentures, dental implants have a longer lifespan. With proper home care and regular dental checkups, implants will likely last 20 years or more. Can you say the same thing about your dentures?
  • Dental implants offer improved stability. – With implant therapy, you can say good-bye to messy creams and embarrassing slippage. Unlike dentures, the implants won’t move out of position because they are surgically anchored into place.
  • Dental implants improve oral health. – When you lose a tooth, the other teeth may shift into the open space, creating alignment problems. Gaps in your smile can also weaken the supporting bone structure. Implants fill in the spaces, which keeps your mouth in better shape.
  • Dental implants boost your self-esteem. – Lost teeth can cause you to limit what you do and the people you see. Completing your smile with dental implants can allow you to live life to the fullest so that you can eat, laugh, and smile with total confidence.
What are the Myths about Dental Implants?

Tooth decay, infection, or other damage to a tooth can result in losing the tooth completely. Dental implants are titanium rods surgically inserted into the jawbone so that an artificial tooth can be secured on top. This provides a permanent and functional restoration. There are some myths about dental implants that have come up over the years, causing some patients to hesitate in choosing this way to replace missing teeth. Dispelling such myths can allow patients to experience the benefits of this dental restoration.

1. Process – It is a myth that the process of getting dental implants is long and extremely painful. Sedation dentistry is usually employed, including inhaled nitrous oxide and also local anesthesia. Pain medication is prescribed for the recovery period. Patients should not feel any stage of the process, which typically includes extracting the tooth, opening the gum, and placing the implant.

2. Bone density – Another myth is that patients without enough natural bone cannot ever get dental implants. It is possible for those with insufficient bone strength to become candidates for implants. First, the dentist will X-ray the jaw bone area and test the strength of the bone in the targeted implant spot. If there is not sufficient natural bone, a bone graft may be performed to strengthen that area. A period of rest and healing will be required between getting the implant and attaching the artificial tooth, but eventually the restoration can be completed with the potential for success.

3. Durability – It is false that dental implants will not remain in position, or that the artificial teeth will fail and make it impossible to have a complete restoration. If a licensed and qualified dentist does the work using FDA approved materials, implants should not fail without significant jaw deterioration or trauma to the jaw. Even if injury or bone loss occurs, it is possible to have implants redone if there is enough bone or a bone graft is performed.

For more information on dental implants, contact Sarasota Smile Design today.

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