A dental implant is one of the ways of replacing a missing or dysfunctional tooth. It’s a dental treatment that helps millions of people to restore their oral health and lead a confident life. However, there are a lot of frequently asked questions about this treatment and below we’ve answered them to help you understand dental implants better.
Q. What is a dental implant?
A. A dental implant is a titanium fixture that’s put into your jaw bone by a dentist. The implant acts as an artificial tooth root. On the top of this fixture, a dental crown, a partial denture or a fixed dental bridge is attached. There are three parts of a dental implant – the titanium fixture, the abutment (connector) and the crown (artificial tooth).
The dentist first places the fixture in your jaw bone and leaves it to heal. As you heal, the implant fuses with your jaw bone. The abutment is then put on the fixture and the crown is connected with it. To match your natural teeth, the crown is custom made. Traditionally, the healing period would range from 3-6 months, but modern techniques save many months and the whole process can be completed within a couple of days.
Q. Who is eligible for a dental implant?
A. Anyone who has lost a tooth or teeth through accident or gum disease, can go for a dental implant as per your dentist’s advice. However, if you are allergic to titanium, have inadequate bone density or immunity disorders, then you won’t be eligible for this treatment.
Q. Is the procedure painful?
A. It’s not painful as the dentist applies local anesthesia during the procedure. However, you may feel minor discomfort for 24 hours after the implant. Some patients may also feel a residual pain and discomfort the second day.
Q. What are the pros?
A. Implants have the following pros:
- They help you get a fixed tooth/set of teeth as a replacement to your natural teeth.
- They’re free from decay because they are made from titanium.
- They can last for your lifetime.
- They don’t impose any restrictions regarding what you can eat or what activities you can participate in.
Q. What are the cons?
A. Just like any other dental treatment, there may be some cons as follows:
- The procedure may involve some risks of infection or inflammation.
- Some patients may experience pain after the treatment.
- If there’s lack of jaw bone space to place the implant, the dentist may consider performing grafting which can increase treatment costs.
Q. Are implants expensive?
A. Implating a single tooth usually costs similar to a regular fixed dental bridge. The cost can vary depending on the patient and the condition of the teeth. Although it may seem expensive initially, a dental implant is a long-term investment.
Q. What’s the difference between dentures and dental implant?
A. Although they have a similar function, dentures are a substitution which you can remove and put back in your mouth any time while implants are a replacement for a missing tooth that’s fixed into your gums. Here are the main differences between the two:
- Dentures are placed above the gums and implants are integrated into the dental roots in the jaw bone.
- Dentures are made of porcelain and need to be replaced after a few years. Implants are made of titanium and metals making them extremely durable and resilient.
- Dentures need to be taken out for cleaning. Implants are fixed, act as natural teeth and don’t need to be taken out for cleaning.
- Dentures don’t look or feel like natural teeth.
- Dentures may slide away from its place while eating or speaking. Implants are fixed, letting you eat anything without any fear of embarrassment.
Q. If I already have dentures how can implants help?
A. Whether you have a single tooth or multiple teeth replaced, implants have a natural feel and appearance of actual teeth.
If you currently have dentures, there shouldn’t be any issue getting implants. Implants can provide support to your dentures as it’ll be snapped on the implant. Your dentures won’t depend on fixative glue anymore. The dentures can also be fixed to the implant with the help of titanium materials, thereby providing you fixed dentures that only your dentist can remove. Your dentist can tell you if you’ve got enough jaw bone to perform to get implants.
Q. What’s the lifespan of dental implants?
A. With proper care and maintenance, your dental implant can serve you for a lifetime. It’ll all depend on several factors like the health of your gums, your medical history, the planning and diagnosis by your dentist and other factors. You can extend the life of your implants by visiting your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
Q. How do I take care of my implants?
A. Taking care of your dental implant is easy. You just need to maintain good oral hygiene habits. Follow the daily oral care regime that you perform for your natural teeth like brushing twice, flossing and rinsing. Also, visit your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups.
At Dentistry on Dusk, our dentists will explain the surgery and the aftercare regime to you before the treatment. We believe in patient education so that our patients are well informed about the treatments they experience. Visit our dental office today for all your dental care needs.