Dental Implants Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Answers to Common Asked Questions About Dental Implants
What are dental implants?
A dental implant by itself is not a tooth! A dental implant is a prosthesis used to replace missing teeth. Essentially, it is a small titanium post/fixture that is inserted into the jawbone, on top of which a single crown (cap), a fixed bridge, a partial denture, or full denture can be attached. Once the implant integrates to your bone, a structure called an abutment is connected to the implant and then the artificial tooth/teeth are attached. Therefore, there are 3 parts to an “implant tooth”: the dental implant itself, the abutment, and the artificial tooth.
Who is a good candidate for dental implants?
Almost anyone who is missing a single tooth, multiple teeth, or all teeth are candidates for dental implants.
What are the advantages of dental implants?
Dental implants can last a lifetime and can improve your appearance, your confidence, and your ability to eat the foods you like, and participate in an active lifestyle, without worrying about your teeth. Dental implants are made of titanium and can never get dental decay!
What are the disadvantages of dental implants?
Like any minor oral surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection, inflammation, and pain, but your surgeon will discuss how these can be managed for your specific situation.
How much do implants cost and does insurance cover the cost?
Dental implant treatment may qualify for some insurance coverage, but situations vary. The cost will vary by patient needs, bone quantity, and region.
What is the success rate of dental implants?
It varies from individual to individual and with health and habits. For a healthy individual with good oral hygiene and good health, dental implants are predictably successful with reported success rates above 90-95 percent.
What is All-on-4®?
All-on-4® is a trademarked treatment procedure that essentially involves replacement of all missing teeth in one jaw by using only 4 implants. This procedure is especially beneficial in patients who have lost a lot of bone in the back areas of the mouth.
Are dental implants removable like dentures or do they stay in your mouth?
No, dental implants are fixed solidly in the bone and allow teeth to be replaced in a manner that is closest to natural teeth.
How do dental implants help if I have full dentures or partial dentures?
Actually implants are most popularly used in patients who wear full dentures or partial dentures. Dental implants can be used to provide retention and support for a removable implant overdenture, which basically snaps on the implants. Therefore the partial or full denture does not move and reduces the dependency on denture adhesives/denture glue. Or, dental implants can be used for a fixed denture, where a patient’s dentures are fixed/bolted to the implants through titanium components. Only the dentist can remove this from the mouth.
What Can I Eat After Dental Implant Surgery?
For two days following your surgery, drink liquids and consume soft foods only like:
- Cooked cereals
- Smooth soups
- Cottage cheese
- Ice cream
- Mashed potatoes
- Protein shakes
- Fruit smoothies
- Refried beans
On day three following your surgery, eat soft foods that don’t require much chewing like:
- Cooked noodles
- Macaroni and cheese
- Soft sandwiches
- Poached, soft-boiled or scrambled eggs
Avoid crunchy or tough foods like rice, pizza, hamburgers and popcorn. Avoid acidic and spicy foods. Most individuals resume their regular diet seven days after their surgery.
How Soon After a Tooth Extraction Can You Have an Implant?
The dentist places dental implants in your jaw by making precise holes in your bone so that they fit snuggly. They do this where your teeth are missing but where you have adequate bone to hold the dental implants. In some cases, it’s possible for them to place dental implants on the same day your dentist extracts your teeth. Typically, however, it takes around three to six months of healing before you can have your implant placed.
How Long Does It Take for Dental Implants to Heal?
The average implant process occurs in multiple steps. You may require more than one healing stage. So, there’s a varied healing period, depending on your health, how many teeth you need replacing and other factors. However, the healing process generally takes anywhere from six to 12 weeks.
How Long Do Implants Last?
Dental implants can last a lifetime if you take care of them properly by regularly brushing, flossing and following your dentist’s recommendations. While your dentist can’t guarantee the lifetime success of an implant, they can provide you with suggestions and guidelines on how to take good care of your teeth. They’ll base these guidelines on:
- Your genetic history
- Proper hygiene procedures
- Your nutritional habits
Following the guidelines your dentist gives you will help ensure your implant has the best chance of lasting a lifetime.
How Much Do Implants Cost?
This is a complicated question since the answer will depend on your specific situation. In obtaining this answer, you’ll learn more about your specific needs. Your surgeon can give you a more accurate assessment of the costs of your procedure.
The cost of dental implant treatment will depend on various individual factors, including:
- The amount, quality and location of bone
- The number of dental implants you’ll need to support the teeth
- The number of teeth that need replacing
- The type of artificial teeth the dentist will use
- The types of dental implants used
This is something you can discuss with your surgeon during your initial consultation.
How long does it take to replace teeth using dental implants?
Each patient is different. After completing the necessary diagnostics, your implant dentist should provide you with a treatment plan including the estimated amount of time to complete the process. Total treatment time depends on your needs, medical and dental history, the health of the supporting bone in your jaw, and the technique and materials that will be used. It can be as short as a few months, or more than a year for more complex conditions.
Are dental implants safe?
Dental implants, which have been used for half a century, are safe and effective. As in any medical procedure, however, there can be complications. Choosing a knowledgeable, well-trained implant dentist will help minimize complications and ensure skillful handling of any problems, should they arise. It is important that you and your implant dentist review your health history and any habits which could affect the success of your recommended care, such as smoking, so that you are fully informed about the benefits and risks involved.
Does it hurt to get dental implants?
With the sedation techniques available at the time of treatment and helpful instructions for home care, many people report that they feel better than anticipated. Often, they return to work and daily activities the next day. While there may be some discomfort and bruising, this typically lasts only a short time.