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Posted on: August 18, 2020
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
Who Is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
If you’re among the millions of adults who are missing one tooth, or possibly all of your teeth, then dental implants may be the solution for you. According to the CDC, more than half of adults who are younger than 65 are missing at least one permanent tooth, and almost 20 percent of those over 65are missing all of their teeth.
Your teeth are essential to both your physical and oral health, so if you’ve lost any of your permanent teeth, implants may help you regain your overall good health. The prerequisites for implants are:
- Good overall health
- Healthy gums
- A sufficient amount of jawbone
Your oral surgeon will make an evaluation, but even if you lack bone, a bone graft can be performed in many patients.
What Is Meant by a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth, also called a crown, that’s attached to a titanium post by an abutment, and it looks, feels, and functions like your natural tooth. Implants are very popular, especially among those who dislike dentures and bridges and want to maintain an active lifestyle and good oral health. Two types of implants are available:
- Subperiosteal implants, which are placed underneath the gum tissue
- Endosteal implants, which are inserted into the jawbone
Dental implants are permanently installed and need no special cleaning or maintenance; you just follow the good oral hygiene regimen you use for your natural teeth.
Can Implants Improve My Oral Health?
Depending on your dental issues, implants can help to restore good oral health and also improve your self-esteem. People who are missing several teeth often become very self-conscious because of the gaps in their teeth. Implants will restore your beautiful smile and your self-confidence. They’ll also repair the alignment of your remaining teeth and your jaw, which can become misaligned if you’re missing teeth.
What Occurs During an Implant Procedure?
The specifics of each implant procedure will be unique to the individual because no two people have the same needs. However, you can expect the following general procedures for dental implant surgery.
- Your surgeon will remove the damaged tooth or teeth during your initial appointment and will prep the site for the surgery
- You might require additional procedures to ensure a successful procedure
- You could receive a bone graft if needed
- The body of the implant, which is the titanium post, will be installed
- You’ll need healing and growing time for your jawbone
- The abutment will be installed (if it wasn’t done during insertion of the post)
- Impressions of your gums and teeth will be made so your crowns can be fabricated
- Your crown(s) will be affixed
The length of time needed for your entire procedure will be determined by the complexity of the work you need and how fast your body heals.
What If I Need a Bone Graft?
If you need a small amount of additional bone in your jaw to support the implant, then a bone graft can be performed when the post is being implanted. If you require a more substantial amount of bone, then your surgeon can perform a bone graft as a separate procedure. Bone can be grafted from another area of your body or we can use an artificial bone substitute, depending on which will work better for you.
How Will My Oral Surgeon Place the Implant?
Your surgeon will make an incision in your gum to expose the jawbone and then drill a hole in the bone for the implant. The incision will be closed with stitches and the process of osseointegration will begin, which enables the post to fuse to the bone as it heals. Usually, osseointegration takes several months.
How Will My Oral Surgeon Place the Abutment?
When your jawbone has completely healed and osseointegration is complete, your surgeon will make another incision around the post and attach the abutment. Some patients want the abutment to be attached at the time the post is inserted, but most opt for a second surgery to place it. Your surgeon will recommend the best procedure for you.
How Will My Oral Surgeon Place the Crown?
When the incision has healed from the abutment installation, impressions of your teeth and gums will be made to create the mold needed to fabricate your crown or crowns. We’ll make every effort to match the size, shape, and color of your natural teeth so that your crown will closely resemble your natural teeth.
If you’ve chosen removable implants, the teeth will be provided in pink plastic gums that snap onto the abutment and can be removed for cleaning. If you’ve chosen fixed crowns, then we’ll adjust them for proper fit and permanently affix them to your abutment.
Will There Be Any Aftercare Instructions or Precautions?
Most people experience some discomfort after a dental procedure; there’s usually minor bleeding, some pain, bruising, and swelling. Your surgeon will provide you with instructions for reducing the bleeding and discomfort, as well as pain medication if it’s necessary. Your discomfort should disappear within a few days, but if it doesn’t, please call us.
What Are the Drawbacks as Well as the Benefits of Implants?
Most surgical procedures have drawbacks as well as benefits and this includes implants. The primary drawback to implants is the cost. Dental implants are expensive and one implant can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the complexity of your situation. Dental insurance may not cover the cost of implants, but most oral surgeons offer payment plans to make them more affordable. If you need to replace a crown, that may not be covered by insurance either. The entire procedure will take several months, so it’s not a quick solution to your dental problems. Rather, it requires patience and the willingness to wait. Another drawback is that implants require surgical procedures, which always carry some degree of risk, such as an adverse reaction to the anesthesia, an infection, nerve damage, or injury to the surrounding teeth or jawbone.
Regardless, many people feel that the benefits of implants more than compensate for the drawbacks. Since your implants are permanent installations, you don’t have to worry about them slipping or falling out at an embarrassing moment. You’ll be able to speak clearly, eat without embarrassment, and regain a beautiful smile. Since your implants are custom-made, they’ll match your natural teeth and won’t look artificial. They’re also durable and many patients report that with a regimen of good oral hygiene, their implants have lasted for many years. Considering the long-term cost of dentures, which includes powders and adhesives, as well as replacement of broken dentures, many feel that implants are more cost effective over time, and they’re certainly more comfortable.
Can I Get Implants from My Local Dentist?
Installing dental implants requires specialized training, education, and experience, and most general dentists aren’t qualified to install them. If you want implants, be sure to select a board-certified surgeon who’s willing to provide you with their credentials. Those who won’t provide this information shouldn’t be an option for you. If you’d like to make an appointment for implants or any other dental procedure, please call our office or use our online booking tool to schedule a consultation. Contact us today for all your dental needs; we look forward to working with you.