Dental implants are one of the top options in cosmetic dentistry solutions for those dealing with tooth loss. If you are considering dental implants, you are not alone. In fact, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, three million people have dental implants in the U.S. alone, and this number is growing by at least 500,000 every year.
If you’re thinking about getting one or more dental implants, chances are you have some questions floating around in your head. To help with that, we’ve put together this article that answers some of the top FAQs about getting dental implants.
What makes dental implants a good treatment option?
When it comes to tooth replacement options, dental implants will be closest in resemblance to your natural teeth, giving you the same confidence you had before losing any teeth.
There are several big advantages of implants. Firstly, they are inserted into your jawbone permanently and will not have to be removed for cleaning. You also will not have to worry about any food restrictions and can eat anything you want to. Dental implants can’t shift in your mouth like dentures can, so there won’t be any clicking when you speak or eat.
A few other reasons that implants are so effective include:
- They prevent problems caused when the teeth that surround the open space shift to fill in the gap.
- Implants prevent the jawbone from deteriorating and help stimulate the bone.
- They prevent your facial structure from changing and appearing sunken in due to recession of the jawbone.
How do dental implants work?
To summarize the process of getting a dental implant, first, the root of the missing or damaged tooth is replaced with a metal, screwlike post. Then, after the jawbone fuses with the implanted post to provide solid support, an artificial tooth is attached, allowing it to look and function like a natural tooth.
Your actual surgery process and timeframe will depend on the condition of your jawbone as well as the type of implant. The entire process can often take several months for surgery and then proper healing, depending on exactly how many implants are being done. But your dentist will go over exactly what your treatment plan will look like for your dental implants.
Can I just get one implant or do I have to get multiple?
You can do just one implant, get several done, or replace all of your teeth with implants.
Plus, if you decide on getting more than two implants, it usually won’t be necessary to get one implant for every tooth. That will depend on exactly where the implants will be and your jaw’s bone density. A 4-tooth bridge can be effectively supported by two implants. If you are getting full-arch dentures, they can be supported with just 4 to 8 implants total.
Are implants safe?
Yes! Dentists have been doing implants for quite a few years now, and dental implant technology continues to improve. Today’s dental implants are sophisticated, biocompatible titanium devices that are put in by highly-trained professionals. They’re one of the safest and most reliable methods of replacing missing teeth.
Are dental implants painful?
Generally speaking, no. The oral surgery to implant the posts will be outpatient surgery using local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia. As you prepare for surgery, you will discuss which specific type of anesthesia will be used. You may be asked to not eat or drink anything the morning of the procedure. You should also make sure you have someone who can drive you home after you are discharged.
After surgery, you may experience temporary discomforts associated with having the implants inserted into your jaw. These include:
- Minor swelling of your gums and face
- Pain at the site of the implant
- Minor bleeding from the implant site
- Minor bruising of your gums and face
Pain medication and antibiotics prescribed by your dentist/oral surgeon can help relieve these side effects.
How long will dental implants last?
If taken care of properly through regular brushing, flossing, and following the recommendations from your dentist, your implants can last a lifetime. They can’t guarantee the success of an implant for a lifetime, but your dentist can provide you with guidelines and suggestions on how to take the best care of them. Following their recommendations will help to significantly extend the life of your implants.
Is there a chance that my mouth could reject a dental implant?
Very rarely does a patient’s mouth/body reject a dental implant. In most cases, the implant is readily accepted by the jawbone. The very few early rejections are most often due to rare titanium alloy allergies, which is what the implant is made out of.
Failure of implants is usually due to:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Low bone density
- Chronic inflammation of the gums
- Uncontrolled diabetes
By making the effort to take excellent care of your implants (and the rest of your teeth) and following your dentist’s other recommended guidelines, you can help prevent gum decay and structure failure down the road.
What kind of dental hygiene care will I need to follow after the implants?
Following a good oral hygiene routine is essential after dental implants. Depending on the type of implant you got, there are some reminders to keep in mind:
- For individual implants: Brush twice a day and floss your teeth daily. Keeping your gums as healthy as possible is crucial to your implant lasting.
- A permanent/fixed bridge: Gently brush around the bridge twice a day. Make sure to also use floss that is specially designed for bridges to clean between the bridge and your gums. A Water Pik/flosser is very effective at flushing out bits of food that may be trapped under the bridge.
- Full-arch dentures supported by implants: Use a soft toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to brush twice daily. You can also use a toothbrush to brush the implant and a water flosser to thoroughly clean around the fixture and between the dentures and gums.
How much do dental implants cost?
The cost of dental implants will vary depending on a variety of things, including the specific needs/situation of the patient. Your dentist’s office will provide you with more information and the cost you will be looking at before the process is started.
Some factors that impact the cost include:
- The number of implants needed.
- The complexity of the surgery needed, ie. implant placement and if tooth extraction or grafts are needed.
- Type of sedation chosen.
- Surgical materials that will be needed.
- The types of implant fixtures used
- Your geographical area.
Will my insurance pay for dental implants?
There is no easy, straightforward answer to this question. It will totally depend on your particular insurance company and coverage. Some companies/plans cover a portion of the cost, while others don’t cover any of it. So, make sure you check with your insurance company first before making a decision. Also, check with your dentist’s office about the insurance policies that they accept and what kind of financial coverage you can expect for your implants.
Make sure to also ask about any financing options or payment options that may be available to you through your dentist’s office. Remember, the entire implant process will usually take months, so you can factor that in when coming up with a budget and anticipating when payments would be due.
Radomile Family Dental Care Knows Dental Implants
Dental implants are a great treatment option to help restore your smile. But, it is a big decision. Hopefully, with what we covered above, you feel a little more informed and able to move forward confidently.
If you haven’t already, make sure to also check out our article “Dental Implants Explained” for more in-depth info on this treatment option.
Have more questions? We are here to help! The experienced and caring dental team here at Radomile Family Dental Care in Drexel Hill offers personalized care as you prepare for implants. To learn more about getting dental implants, get answers to any other questions you may have, or to schedule a consultation, contact our office today!