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Posted on: August 18, 2020
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
The CDC reports that almost 20 percent of those 65 or older have lost all of their teeth and almost 70 percent of those who are between 20 and 64 have lost at least one of their permanent teeth due to injury or disease.
If you’re in one of these groups, dental implants can help to restore your dental health and the alignment of your jaw and other teeth. Your dentist will determine your eligibility for implants by evaluating the following:
- Your gum health
- Your physical health
- The amount of bone in your jaw
If you lack sufficient bone in your jaw, then you might need a bone graft to enable you to get implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial teeth that look, function and feel like your natural teeth, and they’re surgically implanted into your jaw. There are two types of implants:
- Endosteal implants, which are implanted in the jawbone
- Subperiosteal, which are placed underneath the gum tissue
A dental implant has three separate parts:
- The body: The body of your implant is a durable, lightweight titanium post that is strong and has a very low rejection rate, so your body should accept it during the process known as osseointegration. The post is surgically inserted into your jawbone and will act as the root for your artificial tooth.
- The abutment: The abutment connects your tooth to the post and is usually installed after the post has fused to your jawbone.
- The crown: This is the visible part of your artificial tooth, sometimes referred to as a prosthesis, and is the last step of the installation.
Will Dental Implants Correct My Dental Issues?
If you have one or more missing or damaged teeth, then implants can help. The post functions like the root of your natural tooth and due to its strength, it can accommodate a series of artificial teeth or a single tooth. Your crown will be custom made and matched to your teeth for size, color, and fit, so no one will know that it isn’t a natural tooth. When performed by a qualified oral surgeon, dental implants are one of the safest dental procedures.
What Is The Implant Procedure?
Implant procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and usually take several office visits that span a few months. Generally, you can expect the following process, which may vary slightly according to your individual needs:
- During your first appointment, your dentist will remove the damaged teeth or tooth and prep the site for the surgery
- You could need additional procedures to ensure a good outcome
- You might need to receive a bone graft
- Installation of the body, which is the titanium post
- Healing time for the incision and growth of bone
- Installation of your abutment, if not previously done
- Installation of your crown(s)
The total time needed for your dental implant procedure will depend on the amount of work required and how quickly your body heals.
Will I Need Bone Grafts?
If you have a weak jawbone or your bone has lost density, then you may need a bone graft, but might still be a viable candidate for an implant. Bone can be grafted from another part of the body or a bone substitute can be used. Minor grafting is sometimes performed during the implant surgery, but if you need substantial grafting, then it’s a separate surgical process that can span months.
How Is an Implant Placed?
Your oral surgeon will make an incision in your gum to expose the jawbone. Then, they’ll drill a hole into the bone, insert the titanium post, and suture the incision closed. Over several months, the post should fuse to the jaw through a process known as osseointegration.
How Is an Abutment Placed?
Sometimes, the abutment is placed at the same time as the post. However, many patients opt to have another surgical procedure instead. If this was your choice, your surgeon will make another incision that will expose the implant and then install the abutment. This is an outpatient procedure that uses a local anesthetic.
How Is a Crown Placed?
After your abutment incision has healed, which typically takes about two weeks, you’ll return to our office and we’ll make impressions of your teeth and gums. These impressions will be the molds used to fabricate your crown or crowns. If you’ve opted for removable crowns, you’ll receive your artificial teeth in pink plastic gums that will snap onto the abutment. You can easily remove them for cleaning and maintenance. If you’ve opted for permanently installed crowns, then they’ll be permanently affixed to the abutment.
Will I Receive Aftercare Instructions?
Patients typically experience some discomfort after a surgical procedure, which may include minor bleeding or pain, and swelling or bruising. Your surgeon will supply you with instructions for care and medications as necessary to alleviate any pain and discomfort.
Are There Drawbacks as Well as Benefits to Implants?
Many dental procedures have drawbacks and implants are no different. The major drawback is the cost of implants, which isn’t always covered by insurance, and can be thousands of dollars for each tooth. Also, it’s a surgical procedure, so there are inherent risks such as an adverse reaction to the anesthesia, infection, nerve damage, jawbone fractures, or damage to the surrounding teeth. Plus, the entire procedure can span several months, so it’s not a quick fix for your problem.
However, many people find that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Implants look, function, and feel like your natural teeth. There’s no worry about speech impediments that are caused by poorly fitting dentures, and there’s no fear that they’ll fall out at an inopportune moment since they’re permanently attached. With proper oral hygiene, implants can last a lifetime, so they’re a one-time investment, although you could need to replace a crown at some point in the future.
Most importantly, implants look like your natural teeth, so no one will know that they’re artificial. Implants can dramatically improve your self-esteem and restore your confidence.
Can My General Dentist Install My Implants?
Installation of implants requires a considerable amount of specialized training and education that a general dentist may not have. If you’re searching for a dentist who installs implants, make sure that he or she is board-certified and has completed the training and education required for the procedure. Any reputable dentist should be happy to provide the details of their qualifications; if not, then look for another oral surgeon.
If you want dental implants, we’ll be happy to schedule an appointment for you or you can book one online. We strive to provide all of our patients with high-quality, affordable dental procedures, so call us today to learn more.