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Dental Implants: Most Commonly Asked Questions

The idea of replacing missing teeth using anything from copper pegs to seashells has been around for thousands of years. It wasn’t until the mid-1950’s that the process was refined and the age of modern implantology was born. Since then the field of dental implants has grown by leaps and bounds and has become the most predictable way to replace or secure missing teeth.

What is a dental implant?

Simply put a dental implant is an artificial titanium root implanted into the jaw bone to replace a missing tooth. Implants can also support bridges and secure loose dentures.

What are the uses of dental implant?

Once a dental implant is successfully placed and healed it can be used in several different way. The more popular uses are single tooth replacement, support for a fixed bridge and to stabilize a loose denture.

If only a single tooth is missing an implant is often the best replacement option. With the many number of way to replace missing teeth often using a single implant is much more conservative than the alternatives to replacing missing teeth.

If more than one tooth is missing two or more implants can be used to secure a fixed bridge. This may be a good option if cost is a factor or bone quality is not ideal to replace each missing tooth with an implant.

Securing a loose denture with implants can be a life changing procedure. A loose denture can have a negative impact on self-esteem, speech and general health. To be able to eat a meal or have a conversation without a denture flopping around can be a blessing.

Do dental implants hurt?

After having an implant placed it is normal to have minor soreness and achenes for a day or so afterward. Antibiotics and pain medication are prescribed to prevent infection and help with discomfort. Most patients are able to return to work the next day, needing only Advil or Tylenol to control the discomfort. For the first 2-3 weeks you will want to avoid eating over the implant site to ensure proper healing. If stitches were used you may have to have them removed in 7-10 days. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions for the best possible result.

Are dental implants safe?

Modern implants are made primarily of surgical titanium. This is the same material used in artificial hips and knee replacements. Titanium has been used for many years with great success. A new material that has recently come available is zirconium. This is a unique material in that it is nonmetal and white in color.

How much do dental implants cost?

Implant cost will vary depending on who places the implant, what site preparation needs to be done prior to placing the implant and what type of restoration will be used on top of the implant. If I place the implant in my practice I will typically quote a fee ranging from $3,800-4,800 for a single tooth implant. Of course this will vary from patient to patient.

Will my dental insurance pay for dental implant?

Unfortunately most dental insurances do not cover the cost of a dental implant although some will help cover part of the cost of the restoration placed on the dental implant.

How do I know if I’m a candidate for dental implant?

Not everyone is a candidate for dental implant. Complicated medical conditions, dental infections, untreated periodontal disease, inadequate bone volume and large maxillary sinuses may prevent the use of dental implants. Smoking can complicate the healing process and may lead to implant failure. A through exam and consultation with your dentist is the best way to ensure a successful outcome.

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