What is a Dental Implant?
An implant is a man-made replacement for natural roots of teeth (foundation). This allows the Dentist to restore teeth, which we see in the mouth. The doctor you are working with, may select from several categories of dental implants. This would depend on the information which he / she obtains from x-rays, models of your mouth, your specific needs, and general dental condition.
The ultimate goal is to replace and restore missing teeth into better function without losing more bone (foundation of teeth).
Who is a candidate for Dental Implants?
Anyone who is missing one or more teeth. If one or a few teeth are missing, implants can be utilized in conjunction with crowns and bridges to replace those teeth. If all or most of your teeth are missing, then implants can be used as anchors for a loose denture. If there is excessive bone loss (not enough foundation for implants), bone can be regenerated through various techniques. Consulting with a Dentist, who is knowledgeable on these procedures, can help with determining these requirements.
More detailed information can be found in the (treatment) segment of this site.
How comfortable is the process / procedure?
As with any surgery, there may be some discomfort. The doctor to alleviate any discomfort uses proper prescriptions of medication, along with anesthetic and patient sedation.
The majority of patients, report minimal to no discomforts the day after implants are placed.
How much time does the treatment involve?
From initiation to completion of treatment can take from 4 to 9 months, and in some cases, longer. It should be understood that this procedure is advanced and can be a longer process than usual to assure its success. We will provide temporary teeth during this time frame.
You will have teeth at all times, unless you elect to go without temporary teeth.
How much do Dental Implants cost?
The procedure may involve a significant investment. The majority of the fee is dictated by the design of the proposed treatment, which is based on the patient’s desires. Fees can be determined after proper records, examinations, and evaluations have been completed.
The majority of patients, after completing Dental Implant treatment, indicated that is was worth the investment and that they would do it again.
Will dental insurance cover Dental Implants?
The implant itself is not a covered benefit on the majority of insurance contracts. Although portions of the treatment involved may be covered, some insurance companies have developed an “in lieu of” clause in their contracts. This means that they may pay for a portion of the alternative treatment in lieu of dental implants.
Is there a chance of failure?
Dental implants are made of titanium, which is a biocompatible material, and actually attaches to the surrounding bone and becomes part of the body. Therefore a persons body does not reject a dental implant, as it might with tissue transplants, such as a kidney, lung, or heart. However this does not mean that an implant cannot fail. Failure would be due to other factors, such as existing diseases of the patient, misalignment, and improper force on the implant or other conditions.
What will happen without treatment?
If teeth are lost, then the supporting periodontal tissue (bone and gums) is also lost over time. As the gums and bone disappear, problems with other teeth, lack of support for dentures, partial dentures, and fixed bridge work increase. The problems associated with tooth loss include pain, mobility of other teeth, lack of retention for prosthetic appliances, sharp / painful jaw ridges and mobile / sore gum tissue. The tongue, being one of the powerful muscles of the body, enlarges to accommodate spaces of missing teeth. Facial muscles tend to collapse due to the lack of support. People with all of their teeth, can eat / function up to five times more efficiently than people without or missing teeth.
Periodontal disease (loss of the supporting gums and bone) is progressive in nature. In other words, once we have deterioration of the bone in an area, the likelihood of bone loss occurring around adjacent teeth increases. It is like the foundation of a building, if the foundation is weak or defective in one area, then there is likelihood of the supporting walls or roof developing problems. This is why it is better to address the basic problems of the mouth and teeth before the side effects arise.
How do I choose an Implant Dentist?
It is important to note that just as any health care field, Dentistry is a growing and continuously evolving field. Many types of doctors may be qualified to diagnose dental implant treatment. Not all dentists have had adequate training and education in the growing field of implant dentistry and may possibly (Not Intentionally) discourage the option of implants due to lack of knowledge of the procedure.
One of the ways to ensure that the dentist you choose is properly trained to diagnose and place implants, is to contact the American Academy of Implant Dentistry , or you may go to the search section of this site and request a recommendation of doctors in your area from us. There are also other implant organizations, such as the International Congress of Oral Implantology that could help in choosing a dentist. These are just a few ways to find an implant dentist, asking your regular dentist may also help in this search.
Sources of Other Information?
As previously mentioned, the field of implant dentistry is growing rapidly. It may be difficult to find information that is in agreement with one another. The following sites are a few sites that can give you some initial information.
American Academy of Implant Dentistry
International Congress of Oral Implantology
American Dental Association