Dental implants are increasingly popular in restorative dentistry. The ability to replace a missing tooth with a new one is a viable option for many, especially due to the procedure’s almost 98% success rate. There are many cosmetic and health advantages to dental implants, including improved speech, appearance, oral health and cost. But patients often still have questions. Below, we answer some of the most common ones.
Dental Implants: 13 Frequently Asked Questions
Are you or a family member considering dental implants from Dentistry on Dusk? Here we answer the most frequently asked questions.
Q1. What are dental implants?
Answer: If you need to have a tooth replaced, dental implants are the closest you can get to healthy, natural looking teeth. They are basically artificial tooth roots that look similar to screws. Dental implants placed in the jawbone bond with it to work as a strong base for supporting one or more artificial teeth. Known as crowns, they are made to match the colour and shape of your natural teeth. It is an excellent option for those who have lost a tooth (or teeth) due to decay, injury, a failed root canal, or root resorption.
Q2. Is the process painful?
Answer: The procedure is relatively straightforward and usually done under local anesthesia. You may experience some discomfort after the process and will likely be given painkillers once your anesthetic wears off. Most patients report the procedure to be painless, or the pain was much less than expected.
Q3. How long does the implant take?
Answer: This depends on how strong and healthy your jaw is. Even though your jaw is ready to receive the new implant, it may take some time to grow around the screw. If your jaw is weak, dentists may transplant bone from other parts of your body first, using another procedure called “bone grafting.” This helps grow a strong base into which the screw can be inserted. This process takes more time than usual.
Q4. How long does the surgery take?
Answer: Usually an hour, but this can vary depending on the amount of additional work required in terms of any bone grafting or gum surgery required.
Q5. How do I take care of my dental implant?
Answer: Brush, floss and maintain it exactly like you do your natural teeth. Remember that the implant is permanent and can grow bacteria with plaque build-up, like any natural tooth. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and they should all stay healthy.
Q6. Why is there a 3-6 month waiting period for the implant to be crowned?
Answer: This waiting period is for the implant to attach to the jawbone by a process known as osseointegration. This time period varies depending on the strength of your jawbone and where the implants were placed.
Q7. How long do dental implants last?
Answer: If taken care of well, they can last more than 25 years. This depends on a few factors, such as your lifestyle, overall health, and your dentist’s skill. You should also see your dentist every six months and avoid chewing on extremely hard items like pens, hard candies or popcorn kernels.
Q8. What if the implantation fails?
Answer: There’s a small chance (1-2%) of the implant failing to attach to the jawbone. Your dentist will become aware of this during the waiting phase, after implantation. Should it happen, they’ll remove the implant and may place another, depending on your jawbone and overall health.
Q9. What is the origin of dental implants?
Answer: There is fossil evidence suggesting attempts to recreate teeth using substances like stone, ivory and wood. Proven safe and effective at replacing missing teeth, modern dental implants have been in use for more than 40 years.
Q10. What should I eat after the procedure?
Answer: We recommend eating soft food for a few days after the dental implantation. Your dentist will help you decide on a diet that works best for you, depending on your health and the specifics of your treatment.
Q11. I have had a missing tooth for a long time. Is this treatment still for me?
Answer: It depends on your dental condition. Your dentist will do a thorough assessment of your jawline, including detailed X-rays and 3D imaging to assess the quality of the bone available. Very rarely, there isn’t enough bone to safely work with and an alternative treatment will be suggested.
Q12. I am a chain smoker. Can I still get dental implants?
Answer: Anyone who’s healthy enough to undergo a routine dental extraction or oral surgery can be considered for a dental implant. You need healthy gums and sufficient bone to hold it. You must also be committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. Heavy smokers, those suffering uncontrolled chronic disorders (like diabetes or heart disease), or patients who have had radiation therapy on their head/neck area will need to be evaluated.
Q13. Can I opt for “metal-free” implants?
Answer: There is no such thing as a “metal-free” implant as almost all materials used for dental replacements have some kind of metal ions. Dental implants are typically made of titanium alloy (similar to hip, shoulder and knee implants), which is highly biocompatible, so the chances of developing an allergy or infection are rare.
We hope this FAQ was helpful. If you have further questions about dental implants, consult a trusted dental clinic in your area.