DENTAL IMPLANT – FAQs
- Dental Implants, what are they?
- Aren’t implants considered “experimental?”
- What will happen when I get a dental implant?
- Do I have to wait to have a tooth?
- But aren’t implants expensive?
- How can I replace missing teeth?
- What if I already wear dentures?
- Does it hurt to have implants placed?
- What difference do implants make for patients who have them?
- How do I get a dental implant?
- What happens while the implant is healing?
- What happens if my bone is inadequate or of poor quality?
- How do I know if I’m a candidate for implants?
DENTAL IMPLANTS, WHAT ARE THEY?
Dental implants have become the treatment of choice for many patients who are missing one or more teeth, that want to plan for lifelong dental care rather than the reactive, “fix-it” care of the past. Dental implants are made of medical grade titanium, are stable, extremely strong replacements for the missing tooth’s root and allow for a natural looking replacement of the crown, or visible portion of the tooth or teeth. In patients who have been missing teeth for a long period of time, the implants can even act to replace the missing gums and bone in addition to the teeth.
AREN’T IMPLANTS CONSIDERED “EXPERIMENTAL?”
In 1965, Dr. Per-Ingvar Brånemark of Sweden first discovered that titanium tubes (used in his laboratory to study blood flow in bones) actually allowed bone to grow into and onto them–a process he called OSSEOINTEGRATION. The discovery of osseointegration has allowed a huge number of treatments to be developed. The implants we use today may be more sophisticated mechanically, but the basic materials and concepts have been successful for over 40 years! Titanium root-form implants are now considered not just “mainstream,” but the STANDARD OF CARE for the replacement of missing teeth.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN I GET A DENTAL IMPLANT?
The implant is placed into the bony area vacated by the missing tooth’s root. After allowing it to heal and “osseointegrate,” a “crown” is constructed to act as the visible portion of the tooth. The final result is a replacement tooth that looks, feels and acts like a natural tooth. Some patients can have a new tooth crown placed onto a root-form implant so that no one needs to know that a tooth was ever missing! For others, simple attachment devices can secure a denture–allowing the patient to experience an improvement in chewing ability of up to 200%!
DO I HAVE TO WAIT TO GET MY TOOTH?
In some cases, an implant can be placed the same day that a tooth is removed–depending upon the reason for the tooth’s removal. I have personally placed implants immediately after removing teeth for many patients–some have even walked out of my office with a brand new tooth secured onto their implant!
BUT AREN’T IMPLANTS EXPENSIVE?
Everything is relative, but in a word, “YES,” implants are expensive, so they aren’t for everyone. For those patients who are willing to invest in their oral health and to improve their daily lives by securing their ability to enjoy even a simple meal, implants are only expensive in the short run.
In the long run, a crown supported by an implant, as compared to fixed bridgework or even dentures, can last up to two to three times as long as other dental work. The implant will strengthen the bone, will not be subject to decay, will not get gum disease, and will be far more predictable than a crown placed on a natural tooth. It is my opinion that a crown supported by an implant is the best option for tooth replacement available today.
HOW CAN I REPLACE MISSING TEETH?
A complete set of teeth improves your confidence and self-esteem, but it also increases the longevity of your natural teeth by removing stress placed on any individual tooth. There are three basic methods used in our office to replace missing teeth, including implants, bridges, and natural looking partial/full dentures. It is not necessary to live with missing teeth any longer.
WHAT IF I ALREADY WEAR DENTURES?
Many, if not most denture wearers are aware of the limited chewing ability they endure each day. Most have resigned themselves to the limitations provided by the denture–up to 75% decrease in chewing capacity! Dental implants can be a dream come true–giving the patient the ability to eat and chew foods comfortably again. As few as two implants can stabilize a loose lower denture! Even more exciting, as few as four implants can allow a patient to have their denture “fixed” onto the jaw–just like having your own teeth again!
DOES IT HURT TO HAVE IMPLANTS PLACED?
Implants are placed into the bone during a surgical procedure using local anesthetic so there is no pain. Most patients report only a mild vibration so this procedure is generally less stressful than the removal of the tooth it is to replace. In patients who require replacement or augmentation of the jawbone with bone grafting, the implant site is usually not a source of pain or symptoms, whereas the site the graft is taken from can be mildly to moderately painful after surgery. In all cases, you will be provided with necessary medications to help control any pain that may accompany the healing process.
WHAT DIFFERENCE DO IMPLANTS MAKE FOR PATIENTS WHO HAVE THEM?
Patients with dental implants are able to eat, smile and laugh without fear or embarrassment that their denture may slip or click, or that their bridge will trap food.
HOW DO I GET A DENTAL IMPLANT?
The implant is inserted into the jawbone in the area vacated by the missing tooth’s root. After allowing it to heal and “osseointegrate,” for the next two to four months, a “crown” is constructed to act as the visible portion of the tooth. The final result is a replacement tooth that looks, feels and acts like a natural tooth.
WHAT HAPPENS WHILE THE IMPLANT IS HEALING?
While the healing process takes place, the patient wears a temporary replacement tooth. Once the implant has bonded to the surrounding bone (approximately 8-12 weeks later), we will uncover it and attach a post to the implant protruding through the gum. At that point, we can build a permanent crown for the tooth.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY BONE IS INADEQUATE OR OF POOR QUALITY?
If your bone is of poor quality (too “porous”), implants can still be viable treatment options, but slightly varied surgical approaches can be used and extended healing times are generally recommended. If your bone quality is good, but of insufficient height or width, various augmentation procedures, or combinations of procedures can be used to increase the volume needed to retain the implant(s). Most procedures can be accomplished in a routine dental setting, but in moderately severe cases, you may require referral to a specialist for hospitalization or extensive needs.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M A CANDIDATE FOR IMPLANTS?
There’s only one way to be sure! Contact us for an appointment to consult with Dr. Bobbitt directly. Just call us at (603) 882-3001 or click here for our Contact page.