Dental implants have revolutionized the replacement of lost teeth. They are safer, longer lasting, and more cost effective than traditional dental bridgework and dentures. Below you will find some common questions about dental implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is an artificial titanium implant used to emulate the tooth’s root in the bone. A replacement tooth (dental crown) is placed on top of the dental implant to replace the missing tooth or teeth in your smile. Dental implants can be used to support a single crown, a dental bridge, or even a complete denture.
What Are The Advantages Of Dental Implants?
Dental Implants have the ability to provide the following life changing benefits:
-Dental Implants Feel Natural. They look and feel like your own teeth.
-Similar Maintenance As Natural Teeth. Not only do they feel comfortable but they are maintained just like our natural teeth. This includes brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist for professional cleanings.
-Restored Chewing Ability. Dental implants allow you to chew all your favorite foods without pain/discomfort or fear.
-Improved Communication. With a full complement of teeth your speech will be improved.
-Conservative Treatment. Any surgery is rarely considered conservative but in this case it is. Dental implants preserve natural tooth tissue by avoiding the need to cut down adjacent teeth for conventional bridgework.
-Cosmetics. Dental implants have the ability to restore a lost smile making you more attractive to others.
-Preserving Bone. When teeth are lost, the bone in the jaws remodels and shrinks. When dental implants are in place the bone levels stay where they should maintaining a healthy bone structure in the face and jaws.
-No Tooth Decay. Dental implants are not susceptible to tooth decay.
-Increased Confidence and Self-Esteem. With a renewed smile, you will feel better about yourself and confident in knowing you can smile fully.
How Many Dental Visits Will I Need For Dental Implants?
This depends on the individual patient’s tooth replacement needs. Generally 1-2 visits are necessary to diagnose and formulate a comprehensive dental implant treatment plan. Appropriate record taking (including models, x-rays, and possible 3D CT Scan is done as well as a thorough physical examination with the entire team of clinicians that includes the surgeon (periodontist or oral surgeon) and the cosmetic dentist. Then usually one or two surgical procedures are performed, each of them requiring 1 or 2 post operative visits.
Are Dental Implants Painful?
Pain or discomfort is usually quite minimal if any at all. After placement of the dental implants, the amount of pain or discomfort experienced typically ranges from mild to moderate and is controlled with appropriate over the counter and prescription medications.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Dental implants can and should last a very long time. Although nothing is forever, dental implants can last a lifetime. It is the dental crown, dental bridge, or denture that often wears down over time as a result of the extreme forces placed on it from chewing. As a result, dental crown replacement is necessary on average every 10-15 years.
Factors that contribute to dental implant failure include:
–Failed Integration of Dental Implants
This occurs when the bone of the jaws does not grow and fuse between the threads of the dental implant. This fusion between the bone and dental implant is called osseointegration. If osseointegration does not occur, the dental implants will become loose, or come out completely.
To reduce this risk, your implant dentist will evaluate the quality and quantity of the jaw bone prior to surgery. This will allow the implant dentist to only place dental implants in areas where there is an increased success rate. If osseointegration does not take place, the dental implants can be removed, and implant surgery can be tried again following complete healing of the area.
–Dental Infection (peri-implantitis)
While rare, this is the most common complication of dental implant surgery. The surrounding bone and gums can get infected during or after the placement of the dental implants. This can happen due to poor surgical technique, a contaminated implant, poor healing ability (diabetic, smoker, osteoporosis medications).
The most likely time for this to occur would be during the surgical placement of the dental implant into the bone. Implant infection is a condition referred to as peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is characterized by inflammation or swelling of the tissues surrounding the dental implant. Peri-implantitis can also show up as a secondary infection later on. It is a form of periodontal disease that can lead to inflammation, bone loss and implant failure if not treated quickly and properly.
Although dental implant infections are usually caused by the presence of bacteria during or immediately after the oral surgery for the placement of the dental implants, an implant infection can occur months or even years after the dental implants are placed.
–Damage To Surrounding Tissues
Dental implant complications related with surgical errors affecting adjacent teeth, nerves or sinus are directly connected to the experience and skills of the implant dentist. An implant dentist with the proper skill and experience is able to identify potential problems by examining x-rays or CT scan (computer tomography), design the proper treatment plan (including ideal location and angle), and execute it properly without complications.
Even with the most experienced implant dentist there is always a possibility of dental implant complications. It is important to note that with experience comes an understanding of what can happen. This is important because an experienced implant dentist will be able to easily handle any complications that might come up either at time of surgery or afterwards.
Can Anyone Tell I Have Dental Implants?
No one can but you and your dentist will know that you have a dental implant. Even the patient themselves will not feel the dental implant in the jaw bone. The only way to know is with an x-ray which shows the dental implant in the bone.
What Is The Success Rate Of Dental Implants?
Studies have shown the success rate to be over 98% for all dental implants.
Dental Implants Conclusion
Dental implants are a mature technology with a very high success rate. If you are missing a single teeth or multiple teeth it is in your best interests for your long term dental health to see if you are a good candidate for dental implants. They are highly predictable giving you the ability to restore your smile easily.