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Posted on: August 18, 2020
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
How Do I Know If I’m a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
If you’re among the millions of adults who are missing at least one tooth or one who’s missing all of their teeth, then dental implants can restore your smile and your oral health. Whether your teeth are missing due to decay or trauma, implants may be the solution for your dental issues.
Most people are viable candidates for implants, but the criteria your oral surgeon will use are:
- The state of your overall health
- The state of your oral health
- The density of bone in your jaw
If you don’t have sufficient bone in your jaw, then a bone graft might help you. Your oral surgeon will discuss this with you.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial teeth that are surgically implanted into your jaw and function like your natural teeth. A dental implant is comprised of three parts:
- The post, which is made of lightweight titanium and is very strong. It also has a very low rejection rate, so your body should accept it in a process known as osseointegration. The post will function the same as the root of a natural tooth.
- The abutment anchors your tooth to the post and is usually installed after the post has fused to your jawbone during osseointegration.
- The crown is the visible part of the artificial tooth and is sometimes referred to as a prosthesis. It’s the last step of the implant procedure.
Two types of implants are available:
- Endosteal implants, which are inserted into the jawbone
- Subperiosteal implants, which are placed beneath the gum tissue
Your surgeon will discuss your options and recommend the right procedure for you.
Will Implants Correct My Damaged Teeth?
Implants don’t correct damaged teeth, they replace them. If a tooth has been damaged and can’t be saved, then an implant can restore functionality and your oral health. It can also fix the alignment of your teeth and jaw if it’s been compromised due to missing teeth.
What Will the Implant Procedure Be Like?
Your implant procedure will be unique to you, but patients typically can expect the following steps for one or more implants:
- The oral surgeon will remove the damaged teeth or tooth during your initial appointment and will prep the site for the surgery
- You’ll have a bone graft if it’s needed
- You might have other procedures that are required for a good outcome
- We’ll implant the titanium post
- Time will be allowed for healing and growth of the jawbone
- We’ll install your abutment
- A dental lab will fabricate your crown(s)
- We’ll affix your crown or crowns
The timeframe for your procedure will depend on the complexity of your situation and the speed at which your body heals.
How Do I Know If I Need a Bone Graft?
Your surgeon will evaluate the density of the bone in your jaw and determine whether you need a bone graft and, if you do, how much of one. A minor bone graft can be accomplished during installation of the post, but more substantial grafts will require an additional procedure. Bone can be taken from another place in the body or an artificial bone substitute can be used.
What’s the Procedure for Placing the Implant?
When you come to our office to have your implant placed, your surgeon will make an incision in the gum so that the bone is exposed. Then, a hole will be drilled into the bone where the post will be implanted. The incision will be sutured and the healing process will begin. Over the next several months, the jawbone will fuse to the post in a process known as osseointegration. When this is complete, you’ll return to our office for placement of the abutment.
What’s the Procedure for Placing the Abutment?
This is an outpatient procedure and you’ll be given a local anesthetic. Your surgeon will make another incision in the area of the post and will attach the abutment to it. The incision will be closed and the gums will heal in approximately two weeks. Sometimes patients opt to have the abutment placed when the post is installed, but most prefer to have it done in a separate surgical procedure.
What’s the Procedure for Placing the Crown?
After your gums have healed, you’ll return to our office so we can make impressions of your teeth and gums. These impressions will be used to fabricate your crowns. When your crowns are ready, you’ll return to our office for the installation.
If you’re getting removable crowns, they’ll be provided in pink plastic gums that snap onto the abutment and can be easily removed for cleaning. If you’ve opted for fixed crowns, we’ll fit them for maximum comfort and permanently attach them to the abutment.
Will I Need Special Aftercare Instructions?
It’s normal to experience some discomfort after a dental procedure, so if you have minor bleeding, pain, bruising or swelling, don’t be alarmed. Your surgeon will provide you with tips on alleviating your discomfort and you’ll receive pain medication as necessary. Your symptoms shouldn’t last for more than a few days, but if they do, then call our office.
Do Implants Have Both Benefits and Drawbacks?
As with any surgical procedure, there are pros and cons. The major drawback to implants is the cost. Depending on the amount of work that you need, one tooth can cost thousands of dollars and your insurance may not cover it. If you need to replace a crown in the future, that may not be covered by insurance either. Most oral surgeons offer payment options that can make implants more affordable, so don’t hesitate to ask. Another drawback is that because an implant is a surgical procedure, there are inherent risks, such as an adverse reaction to the anesthesia, infection, nerve injury, and damage to the surrounding teeth and jaw.
However, many people find that the benefits of implants far outweigh the disadvantages. Since implants are surgically installed, you don’t run the risk of teeth slipping or falling out at an inopportune time like dentures, your speech will be clear, and you can eat the foods you like. Additionally, implants look like and are as comfortable as your natural teeth, so no one needs to know that they’re not. Since implants usually don’t need to be replaced and many patients have had them for many years, they can be more cost effective than dentures over time. There’s no need for powders or adhesives, they don’t require special maintenance, and they don’t break like dentures.
How Do I Find a Dentist Who Places Implants?
If you’re interested in getting dental implants, make sure that you select a board-certified practitioner who’s willing to provide you with their qualifications, including training, education, and experience in installing implants. We strive to provide our patients with the highest-quality and affordable dental care, so call us if you’d like to schedule a consultation. You can also make an appointment through our online booking tool. Call us today for more information. We look forward to working with you.