Why should I consider dental implants?
Dental implants are the closest replacement option there is to your natural teeth. Implants are permanently inserted into your jaw and don’t have to be removed for cleaning. You can also eat anything you like with no restrictions. Unlike dentures, they can’t shift in your mouth so they won’t click when you eat or speak. Dental implants will give you the same confidence you had with your natural teeth!
Here are a few of the major reasons people get implants:
- If there are missing teeth, the surrounding teeth will begin to shift to fill that space in. This causes bite problems and cleaning issues.
- Implants stimulate the bone in the jaw and prevent the bone from deteriorating.
- As the jawbone recedes, the facial structure changes and appears sunken.
These reasons should be kept in mind by all young adults for consideration if they accidentally lose a tooth. It’s easier to ignore the missing tooth, but there are serious consequences like the ones mentioned above to consider for their future dental health.
How do implants work?
The roots of the damaged or missing tooth are replaced with metal, screwlike posts. Then an artificial tooth is added to look and function like a real tooth. The bone then heals around the implant, making it stronger to give solid support for the new tooth.
The actual surgery depends on the type of implant as well as the condition of the jawbone. The entire process can often take months for one or more surgeries and then healing, depending on how many implants are being inserted.
Do I have to replace all of my teeth if I get even one implant?
No, you can do one implant, several, or have all of your teeth replaced with implants.
Plus, it isn’t necessary to have one implant for every tooth if you decide on more than two. It depends on where the implants will be in your mouth as well as the bone density in your jaw. Two implants can support a 4-tooth bridge. If the implants are going to support full-arch dentures, it can be done with 4-8 implants total.
Are dental implants painful?
The surgery is done as outpatient surgery. Anesthesia will be used, either local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia. You will discuss this with your dental specialist as you prepare for the surgery. You may be asked to refrain from eating or drinking the morning of the procedure, depending on the type of anesthesia chosen. And make sure to have someone with you who can drive you home upon discharge.
As with any dental surgery, there are certain discomforts associated with having implants inserted into the jaw. You may experience:
- Swelling of your gums and face
- Bruising of your skin and gums
- Pain at the implant site
- Minor bleeding
These things can be alleviated with pain medications and antibiotics prescribed by your oral surgeon as a follow-up. Any stitches used will most likely be self-dissolving but if not, your doctor will remove them when appropriate.
How long do dental implants last?
Implants outlast any other tooth replacements, with an average of 20 years or longer. Some have been known to last 35 years with a success rate of 95%.
Failure of implants is usually due to:
- Poor hygiene
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Low bone density
- Chronic gum inflammation
If an implant fails, then what?
Your dental team will determine why it failed and recommend treatment. Options range from removing the implant and strengthening the bone with a graft before placing a new implant; using antibiotics to treat infection and then restoring the bone; other standard treatments for bone and gum infections.
What kind of dental care will I need after the implants?
Regular oral care is essential after implants, if not more important. Depending on the type of implant you have, here are some reminders:
- Individual implants: Twice a day brushing and flossing as normal. Keeping your gums healthy is crucial to your implants.
- Fixed bridge: Brush your teeth gently around the bridge. Use floss designed for dental bridges and make sure to get between the bridge and your gums. A water flosser will flush out bits of food under the bridge.
- Dentures supported by implants: Use a non-abrasive toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. Brush the implant and use a water flosser to clean well around the fixture and between the gums.
How much do dental implants cost?
The cost of implants depends on the patient’s needs and the area in which they live.
Here are some factors that determine the cost:
- Number of implants
- Sedation chosen
- Complexity of surgery needed: tooth extraction, grafts, and implant placement
- Surgical materials needed
- Implant fixtures
- Restoration of crowns or dentures
- Geographical area
Your dentist will provide you with a cost estimate before the process is started.
Does insurance pay for dental implants?
There is no easy answer to this question. It depends on your insurance company. Some pay a portion of the cost, while some don’t so make sure you get these answers from them before proceeding with a decision. Check with your dentist’s office regarding the insurance policies that are accepted and what kind of coverage you can expect for implants.
Also, ask about any payment plans and financing options that may be available. Remember that the entire implant process takes months, so you can factor that into your budget to match when payments are due.
Remember that dental implants last much longer than other forms of replacement. Implants last between 20 – 30 years while full dentures last only 5 – 10 years. The initial outlay of money for implants may seem like a lot but over a long period, they will be well worth the cost.
TLC Dental Center Knows Implants
Dr. Julie Kardon and the entire dental team offer personalized care as you prepare for your implants. Here at TLC Dental Center in Cherry Hill, we’re passionate about providing comfortable, high-quality dental care. Contact us today. We welcome new patients!