Many people are curious about dental implants as a choice for replacing missing teeth. If you are considering dental implants, read this FAQ for answers to the most common questions about this procedure.
Q: What is a dental implant?
A: A dental implant is an anchor made of titanium or a titanium alloy. The anchor is inserted into the jaw, where is fuses with the bone to create a permanent fixture. Once the implant is firmly rooted in the jaw, a new tooth is attached to the implant.
Q: Can my body reject a dental implant?
A: Unlike soft tissue transplants, blood type and tissue matching are not a concern with dental implants. Dental implants have a very high success rate, and with proper care, you are unlikely to experience significant issues with your implants.
Q: Am I a candidate for dental implants?
A: The primary requirements for dental implants are general good health and a sufficient amount of jaw bone. There are very few conditions that would disqualify a person as a candidate for dental implants. If you are missing one or more teeth, speak to your dentist about the possibility of using dental implants. Even if you have bone loss, usually due to periodontitis or if a tooth has been missing for a long period of time, bone grafts can be placed within the jaw. Bone grafts are easy and relatively pain free.
Q: What is the procedure like?
A: The dental implant procedure is generally broken into three steps. In step one, the anchor is inserted. The anchor is left for 3-6 months while osseointegration makes it a permanent part of your jaw. In the second stage, a post is attached to the implant. The third phase begins 2-6 weeks later and consists of crafting and attaching replacement teeth to the posts. All three phases are outpatient (usually quick and done in the dental office) procedures.
Q: Does the procedure hurt?
A: Anesthetic will be used for the surgery portions of the procedure. Pain medication will be prescribed for use during recovery. The discomfort reported by patients is generally minimal.
Q: Will I be able to eat normally?
A: You will be asked to follow a special, softer diet for the first few weeks after phase one of the procedure. In most cases, you will be able to continue using your dentures or temporary teeth until such time as the implants are complete. Once your implants and replacement teeth are complete, they act just as your natural teeth do.
Q: Will my insurance pay for dental implants?
A: This depends on your particular insurance plan. Many dental plans do cover surgical implants, or a portion of the service. If your implants can be considered a medical necessity, they may be covered by your medical plan, even if your dental plan does not cover implants.
Q: How long will my dental implants last?
A: With proper oral hygiene, and regular dental checkups, your implants are expected to last your entire lifetime. Remember, once the implant and crown are placed and completed, it will look and feel just like a natural tooth. As long as you care for it the same way you do your natural teeth it will last forever.
Q: How do I care for my dental implants?
A: Like your natural teeth, thorough brushing and flossing, as well as regular checkups, are the best way to care for your implants. Home care of your dental implants does not require any special devices or products.
Q: Will my dental implants match my natural teeth?
A: Absolutely! Your implants will look and feel like any other tooth in your mouth. Aesthetically and functionally, dental implants are superior to any other tooth replacement solution.