A dental implant is a small man-made titanium screw that serves as the replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth. The implant is placed in the bone of the upper or lower jaw and allowed to bond with the bone and serve as an anchor for the replacement tooth. Dental implants can be used to replace a single lost tooth or many missing teeth. Implant-supported replacement teeth look, feel and function like natural teeth. Dental implants are a proven restorative option with a long clinical history. Dental implants preserve the integrity of the facial structure and reduce the inconvenience associated with tooth loss.
Anyone who is missing one or more of their teeth due to injury, disease or decay may be a candidate for dental implants. If one, a few or all teeth are missing, dental implants in conjunction with a crown or bridge can replace those teeth. Occasionally, older patient express concern that their age may prevent them from enjoying the benefits that dental implant offer. However, health is more of a deterring factor than age. If you are healthy enough to have a tooth extracted, you are probably healthy enough to receive dental implants. Your dentist will determine if you are a candidate for dental implants after a careful evaluation of your dental and medical history. At this time all you questions can be answered.
Is there any pain or discomfort involved?
Most patients report that there is a very little discomfort and that they were much more comfortable following the procedure than they anticipated. Implants are placed in a very gentle fashion and care is taken to the various tissues involved. Anesthesia and patient sedation are used to eliminate any discomfort during the procedure. Your dentist may recommend that you speak with another patient who has already had tooth replacement therapy to assess their personal experience.
How will I benefit from dental implants?
The benefits of implant treatment include appearance, the enhanced ability to chew and enjoy your food and often protection of you remaining teeth and jawbone. Dental implants offer many benefits never before available for the treatment of missing teeth. In short, dental implants will look, feel and function like your real teeth.
How long will the treatment take?
Treatment time will vary depending on your particular situation. Nowadays it is often possible to get well-functioning and esthetic looking teeth within a few days. In some cases it may be necessary to wait longer before finishing the restoration in order to obtain an optimal result.
Will I ever be without my teeth?
This depends on you situation. Most patients can leave the office wearing some type of temporary prosthesis.
How much will it cost?
The fee for tooth replacement with dental implants will depend on several factors, including the number of teeth being replaced and the number of implants required to support your replacement teeth. It is important for you to know that you do not necessarily need an implant for each missing root. Some additional procedures may be required prior to the placement of your implants to ensure the long-term health of your dental implants. To obtain a specific fee estimate, it is necessary to have a doctor examine your mouth. After a diagnostic examination, your dentist will recommend the treatment that is best for you and what your investment would be for the procedure.
How long do implants last?
Most patients can expect them to last for a lifetime. The first patient received his dental implants in 1965 and they remained functioning until his passing in 2006 – more than 40 years.
How do implants compare to normal dentures?
Dental implants provide an improvement in the quality of life that dentures can’t provide. A survey was conducted of patients who had their teeth extracted and fitted with dentures, then eventually had their dentures replaced with implants. While they rated their natural teeth highest at 10, dentures rated lowest at 2 and implants were rated 9. Your friends won’t know you have implants but more than likely, you will tell everyone.