Implants: Commonly Asked Questions

Implants: Commonly Asked Questions
Implants: Commonly Asked Questions

What exactly is an implant?

An implant is a post, or “screw” that is used to replace the root of a missing tooth.  This post is made of precision milled titanium material that is placed into the jawbone where the root of a tooth would naturally sit.

Why would someone need an implant?

Implants have three major functions.  They can replace a single missing tooth, replace multiple adjacent missing teeth, or they can act as anchors to hold a partial or full removable denture.

 

What are some advantages of implants?

In the past, there were two ways to replace missing teeth. The first was with a bridge, where the teeth on either side of the missing tooth space need to be prepared and fitted with a bridge.  A bridge has three or more crowns fused together replacing the missing teeth in between.  Secondly, the missing tooth or teeth could be replaced with a removable partial denture that clasps to other teeth and needs to be removed to clean daily.  In each case, other teeth in the mouth are affected.  Implants replace missing teeth without attaching to any other teeth, acting much like a natural tooth.

Missing teeth can cause a person’s bite to be misaligned. This can lead to more dental problems in the future, such as broken teeth, more decay, gum disease and TMJ problems.  By keeping one’s bite stable and even, a healthy mouth is easier to maintain.

How is an implant placed?

Every case is unique, but most cases begin with an appointment committed to preparation and planning.  We start with diagnostic x-rays, a thorough examination and a consult with our treatment coordinator to review available insurance benefits, and financing.   Once the planning stage is complete, the implant is placed into the jawbone.  This procedure usually takes about one hour for one implant and is done in our office.   Local anesthetic is all that is needed to keep you comfortable during the placement.

What can I expect after surgery?

After surgery, you will have very minimal discomfort in the implant area.  You can expect to feel some tenderness, and there will be a few dissolvable sutures in the gum tissue.  We will wait and monitor the area while the bone integrates around the implant.  The expected healing time is 3-5 months.  Once the implant area has totally healed and integrated into the bone, a tooth, or crown is placed on top of the implant screw and will function like a natural tooth.  When we are using implants to stabilize and full or partial denture, in most cases attachments will be placed on the implants that will make the denture secure while you are chewing, but easily removable for cleaning.

    How do you care for a new implant?

Much like your natural teeth!  Proper brushing, flossing and regular check-up cleaning appointments are crucial for the long term success of a dental implant.

How much does it cost to have an implant placed?

Each case is unique, but depending on your overall dental health, an implant and crown to replace a single tooth can be done for as low as $2,890 or $120 per month with interest free financing.

How long will my implant last?

Again, each case is different, but the type of implants we are using today have been in use for over 40 years with a success rate of 95%.  With good care, an implant can be expected to last for many, many years.