Implant dentistry involves replacing a lost tooth or lost teeth with a dental implant. This can range from a single tooth replacement to the full restoration of the patient’s smile depending on the individual’s needs and condition.
Dental implants differ from dentures or bridges in that rather than being removable or supported by surrounding healthy teeth, they are surgically implanted into the patient’s jaw bone. This is done by implanting a titanium support screw into the jaw itself and allowing it to heal. Once that’s been accomplished a supporting abutment and artificial tooth are installed onto the titanium support. This gives the patient a replacement tooth that looks and functions like the real thing.
Implant dentistry offers a number of advantages over other approaches. Implants are less awkward to wear and clean than dentures and offer a more permanent solution than bridges or crowns. They prevent issues commonly associated with those approaches such as sore spots, gagging, excess salivation, or difficulty speaking and eating. Just like a real tooth, dental implants can last a lifetime if properly cared for.
Dental Implant FAQs
Dental implants are one of the great developments to emerge from the last few decades of dental science. A vast improvement over traditional dentures and bridges, dental implants mimic the look, feel, and function of a natural tooth almost perfectly. While they’re growing in popularity, there are still a number of commonly occurring questions and misconceptions about dental implants. Toward that end, we’ve put together this FAQ which should address some of the more common questions and give you a better idea of what dental implants are and what they do.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are replacements for missing, damaged, or lost teeth. Unlike dentures and bridges, they are permanently affixed to the jaw. Generally, the procedure goes like this: when the site is prepared, a titanium post or screw is mounted into the jaw bone and allowed to heal in place. When the healing process is done, an artificial tooth-shaped to look like the natural tooth it is replacing is permanently attached to the titanium post. When the healing process is complete, this artificial tooth looks, feels, and performs just like its natural counterpart. This allows the patient to fully enjoy normal activities without the inconvenience of either a missing tooth or conventional dentures.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
This varies from person to person, so it’s difficult to say what exactly implants will cost in a particular case. Cost varies due to the extent of the damage being repaired, the number of teeth being replaced, and the overall condition of the patient’s mouth, teeth, and jawbone. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, a good estimate is between $3,000 and $4,500 a tooth. You may be able to mitigate some of that cost by talking to your insurance company and discussing payment plans with your dentist’s office.
Are Dental Implants Safe?
Yes. Dental implants are absolutely a safe procedure when performed by a qualified professional. They’re a routine feature in dental care these days, and growing in popularity all the time. In general, there are no safety or health concerns associated with dental implants.
Does It Hurt to Get Dental Implants?
Dental implants are generally installed while the patient is sedated, and painkillers are generally prescribed in the aftermath. While swelling and localized pain are not uncommon for patients who have received dental implants, most report only mild to moderate discomfort over the course of the entire process and many people recovers completely within a day or two. Most patients are able to return to their regular routines fairly quickly and without much concern.
Can Children Get Dental Implants?
Yes! Dental implants can be a great option for young people who have lost a tooth or teeth. Generally, however, your dentist will want to wait until the patient’s face and jaw are fully developed, which may occur anywhere between 16 and 18 in most people.
Are Dental Implants Right for Me?
This is a common question and a very difficult one to answer. A lot depends on your individual circumstances and your oral health goals. In general, to be a candidate for dental implants a patient must have a healthy jawbone and healthy gums. Otherwise, the implant may not take and the whole procedure may fail. Likewise, chronic smokers or drinkers may not be good candidates for dental implants, due to the oral health issues resulting from those activities. In the end, your dentist can tell you what’s best for you and guide you toward the right options.
Dental implants are getting more popular every day, and the technology is always improving. If you’re considering dental implants or just curious about the procedure, make an appointment today and we’ll be happy to discuss your options for both dental implants and your overall oral health.
At Hampstead Dental, we build the different parts of the implant on a custom basis for each patient. If you feel dental implants might be right for you, get in touch and make an appointment so we can discuss your options.