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Are Dental Implants Right for You?

Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

If you have missing or damaged teeth, whether it’s one or several, then implants may be the solution for you. The CDC states that more than half of adults under the age of 65 are missing one or more permanent teeth. Of those who are 65 or older, almost 20 percent are missing all of their teeth. Since your teeth are vital to good health, it’s important to replace those that you’ve lost.

There are three primary requirements for those who are interested in getting dental implants:

  • You need to have good overall health
  • You need to have healthy gums
  • You need to have sufficient bone in your jaw

Lack of bone won’t prevent you from getting implants, but you’ll need to have a bone graft. We can take bone from other parts of your body or we can use a bone-substitute material.

Are Dental Implants the Same as Dentures?

Implants and dentures are two very separate tooth restoration methods with very different attributes. Unlike dentures, implants are permanently installed and never need to be removed. They enable clear speech and won’t fall out or slip when you’re speaking or eating. Since they’re custom-made, they’ll match your natural teeth for size, shape, and color, so no one will know that you have implants. Two types of implants are available:

  • Subperiosteal implants that are installed under the gum tissue
  • Endosteal implants that are installed in the jawbone

A dental implant has three distinct parts:

  1. The body: The body of your implant, also called the post, is made of titanium. It’s lightweight, very strong, and has a very low rejection rate, so your body should assimilate it well through a process called osseointegration. The post is surgically inserted into your jawbone and will, over the course of several months, fuse to the bone, anchoring it as firmly as a natural tooth.
  2. The abutment: The abutment is the connector that attaches your tooth to the post and it’s installed after osseointegration is complete.
  3. The crown: This is the visible part of the dental implant, sometimes called the prosthesis, and is the last step of the implant installation.

What’s the Advantage of Dental Implants?

Implants have several advantages over dentures. Implants are permanently installed so they won’t slip or fall out. They look the same as your natural teeth, they don’t need to be replaced, and they require no special adhesives or maintenance, only a normal regimen of good oral hygiene.

What Should I Expect During Implant Surgery?

Your specific procedure will be tailored to your unique needs, but the implant procedure is generally as follows:

  • We’ll remove the teeth that are being replaced, if necessary, and perform other procedures you may need for your implant to be successful.
  • We’ll prepare the site for surgery
  • If you need a bone graft performed at another time, we’ll schedule it
  • We’ll install the body, which is the titanium post, and perform a minor bone graft if you need it
  • We’ll allow time for the healing and growth of the jawbone
  • We’ll install your abutment and, once it’s healed, we’ll make impressions of your teeth and jaw
  • We’ll affix your crowns

The amount of time you’ll need to allot for your procedure will depend on the number of procedures you’re having, as well as how soon your gums heal.

Is a Bone Graft Required?

Your surgeon will determine if you need a bone graft. If it’s minor, it can be done during the installation of your post. If it’s more extensive, then it will be a separate procedure, which can take several months to heal.

What’s the Procedure for Installation of the Implant?

Your surgeon will make an incision in your gum so that the bone is exposed. Then, we’ll drill a hole into the bone and insert the titanium post into the hole. The incision will be closed, and we’ll wait for osseointegration to take place.

What’s the Procedure for Installation of the Abutment?

You’ll return to the office and your surgeon will make an incision close to your post, and then they’ll place the abutment onto it. This will take about two weeks to heal, and then you’ll return to the office and we’ll make impressions of the area so that we can fabricate your crowns.

What’s the Procedure for Installation of the Crown?

Once your crowns are ready, you’ll return to the office. If you’re getting removable crowns, they’ll be attached to pink plastic gums that snap onto the abutment, but you can easily remove them for cleaning. If you’re getting fixed crowns, we’ll adjust them for fit and then permanently affix them to the abutment.

Will I Receive Post-Surgery Instructions?

After your surgery, you’ll probably experience minor bleeding, pain, swelling, and bruising. Your surgeon will provide you with tips for easing your discomfort, and prescribe pain medication as necessary.

Do Implants Have Any Drawbacks?

As with any surgical procedure, there are drawbacks to implants, with the biggest one being the initial expense. Implants can be very costly and they might not be covered by dental insurance. Replacement crowns may not be covered either, although most surgeons offer payment plans to make implants more affordable. Implant surgery isn’t a quick solution to tooth replacement. The entire process can take several months, so it requires patience and dedication. Another issue is that surgery is required, and some people aren’t good candidates for surgical procedures. It’s also possible to experience an adverse reaction to the anesthesia or other medication, nerve damage, a fractured jaw, and injury to the surrounding teeth.

Of those who have undergone the dental implant procedure, however, most say they made the right choice and are glad that they opted for implants. Implants are very popular among those who don’t want dentures or bridges because implants look, feel, and function like natural teeth. There’s no special maintenance required and they don’t adversely affect your speech or slip and fall out at inopportune moments. Most feel, given the upkeep and replacement costs of dentures, that over time, implants end up costing less.

Who Can Install Implants in My Area?

If you’re interested in getting dental implants, then be sure to select an oral surgeon who is board-certified and willing to provide you with a list of their qualifications.

If you’d like to book an appointment for implants or any other dental procedure, please call our office. Alternatively, you can use our online scheduling tool at your convenience. We strive to provide all of our patients with the highest-quality dental care, so contact us today. We look forward to working with you.

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