Dental implants, providing the ability to replace a missing tooth with a brand new one, are an excellent alternative to dentures! At Apex Oral Surgery, conveniently located in the Belle Hall Shopping Center in Mount Pleasant SC, Dr. Marvil and her staff use cutting-edge technology such as 3D imaging and advanced computer design programs to provide our patients with beautiful new smiles. Have questions about dental implants? Here are the answers to the most common questions:
What exactly is a Dental Implant?
Implants are artificial teeth that function exactly like your natural teeth.A dental implant is a small “anchor” – a threaded titanium screw that is strong enough for a post to be placed inside it. We attach it to your jaw and allow the jaw to grow around the screw. After the surrounding bone has attached to the implanted screw, a replacement tooth is secured to the top of the implant. Once the screw and post are placed, the dentist finishes the tooth with a cap or crown. Many people incorrectly believe that a dental implant makes up the entire replacement tooth; in fact, the implant replaces the root only. The patient returns to his or her dentist who places the crown or cap on top of the replacement root.
Why Do People Get Dental Implants?
If a patient is missing a tooth or a series of teeth, a dental implant may be suggested. Missing teeth can cause a number of problems, including difficulties chewing or eating.
Once a patient gets dental implants, he or she no longer has to struggle with gaps caused by missing teeth and begin to feel more comfortable in their smile. Dental implants provide patients with a beautiful smile, more confidence, and the ability to eat solid foods without worry.
How are Dental Implants different than dentures?
Dentures are a removable set of teeth or partial set of teeth that need to be removed and cared for in a special manner. They can often feel bulky and are difficult to adjust to. Dental implants are a permanent replacement for missing teeth that can be cared for just like natural teeth.
How much do Dental Implants cost?
Dental implants are a significant cost, but hold up over time to make the process worth the price. Ignoring the need for an implant costs much more over time. A missing tooth or prolonged use of dentures leads to bone and gum decay, while also exposing more surface area of the surrounding teeth to continuous wear and tear. Eventually, issues such as nerve exposure and bone loss cause increased discomfort for the patient. The corrective procedures done at this point are exponentially more painful and expensive for a patient. Dental implants prevent bone loss and allow patients to live a much more comfortable life.
The cost of dental implants will be determined by the number of implants that will be placed, the type of prosthesis recommended and your particular case. This can only be determined after a thorough examination by your oral surgeon.
Insurance coverage will depend on your individual plan. While some carriers may at least partially cover implants, many do not provide for the surgical placement of implants. It may be possible to obtain additional coverage. Check with your insurance provider to get a detailed look at what portions, if any, are covered in the surgical placement of dental implants. If your teeth were damaged during an accident, the implants often are covered by medical insurance and counted as jaw reconstruction surgery.
Am I a good candidate for Dental Implants?
General good health and adequate bone in the jaw are the key requirements for dental implants. If you are healthy enough to have a tooth extracted, you are most likely able to have an implant. Anyone who is missing one or more teeth due to injury, disease or decay may be a candidate for dental implants.
Are Dental Implants noticeable?
Your new teeth will look and feel like your natural teeth. No one, not even you, will be able to tell that you have a dental implant. Implants are made to feel completely natural in the mouth. The implant is matched to the color and shape of your existing teeth.
How long does the Implant process take?
To ensure a strong, sturdy and long-lasting smile that looks, feels, fits and functions over time like natural teeth, multiple appointments are usually necessary. Placing a single implant may take as little as thirty minutes, while a complex surgery requiring multiple replacements can take more than 3–4 hours. After the implant is placed, the patient schedules a follow-up appointment several months later to allow the implant to properly heal and fuse with the jawbone. Then, the doctor will fit the cap or crown over the implant.
The total amount of time from start to finish can be as short as a few months, to more than a year for more complex conditions. Between visits, patients continue to go about their everyday lives. What’s most important is that you receive the right treatment for you, are comfortable throughout the process, and are happy with the result!
Is the Implant procedure painful?
Anesthesia is used during the surgical procedure to eliminate any discomfort. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication for any discomfort after surgery, but most patients manage pain by taking over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol and Advil for 2–5 days after the surgery. If a patient requires bone grafts or multiple dental implants, more significant post-operative discomfort may occur. Your doctor may prescribe any pain medications deemed essential based on the extent of your surgery. Many people are pleasantly surprised and report that they feel better than anticipated after the procedure and report that the discomfort is minimal once they arrive home. Many feel great the next day and return to work.
What is the recovery process after the procedure?
Most people go back to work the day after the surgery, although it depends on your individual experience and the difficulty of the surgery. Some people prefer to take a day off to completely recover and allow their mouth to rest after the procedure.
What are the risks of Dental Implants?
Dental implants have been used for decades and are proven safe and effective. Dental implant surgery is one of the most predictable procedures in dentistry.
Complications from dental implant surgery are rare but, as with any medical procedure, there are risks, and these risks may be higher for patients who smoke or have other medical conditions. Risks include: infection, which generally responds to medication; damage to other teeth, tooth roots, sinus problems; fractures; nerve damage that can result in pain, numbness or tingling; inability to complete the procedure due to inadequate jawbone; and implant failure.
Talk with your oral surgeon before any procedure to discuss your health history and habits and to fully understand the risks involved.
How do I care for my dental implant?
Implants require the same care that your natural teeth need. Brushing and flossing every day is critical to keep your dental implant healthy. Most tooth decay and loss occur because patients do not properly or regularly floss, resulting in gum decay and disease.
How long do Dental Implants last?
If your implant properly cared for, it should last a lifetime!
Dental implants last over forty years and often for a lifetime for patients that regularly brush, floss, and follow the dental recommendations made at their check-ups. While we cannot guarantee the long-term success of a dental implant, we can provide guidelines and suggestions to better care for your teeth. These suggestions are based on proper hygiene procedures, your own genetic history (including diseases that run in your family), and your nutritional habits.