Find out if dental implants are right for you.
Are you considering dental implants to replace one or more missing teeth? If so, you’re in good company. It’s a common misconception that tooth loss mainly affects older people. But the truth is only 48% of American adults (aged 20-64) have a full set of permanent teeth.
Tooth loss happens for a variety of reasons, from gum disease to tooth decay to facial trauma. If you’ve lost a tooth, the good news is there are safe, modern options for replacing the tooth and restoring your appearance.
You’ve probably heard about dental implants, but maybe you’re not sure what they are or how they work. In this post, we’ll review some dental implant FAQs so you can make an informed decision.
1. What are dental implants?
Dental implants, also known as implant restorations, are designed to fully replace a missing tooth. It’s not an actual tooth, but it closely mimics your natural teeth in appearance and function.
The process begins with a small titanium fixture (post) that your dentist surgically inserts into your jawbone. Once this implant integrates with your bone, he’ll use a connecting structure to attach the artificial tooth/teeth to the post. This could be in the form of a crown, bridge, or denture, depending on your needs.
The implant serves the same function as your tooth’s natural roots. It fits seamlessly to mimic the normal sensations of your mouth. And unlike your natural teeth, it’s also resistant to decay, meaning it can last a lifetime if you care for it properly.
Dental implants can be used to replace one missing tooth, several teeth, or all of your teeth. This doesn’t mean you need a separate implant for every missing tooth. In many cases, four to six implants can provide enough support to fully replace your upper and lower teeth.
2. How safe are dental implants?
Would you be surprised to learn that dental implant surgery is one of the safest procedures in dentistry? It’s also the only restoration method that stimulates natural bone growth beneath the missing tooth.
And here’s one more factor to consider: Dental implants have a 98% success rate. This means you’ll have one less thing to worry about as you grow older.
3. What are the benefits of dental implants?
It’s hard to think of a better solution to tooth loss than dental implants. Here are just a few benefits of this procedure:
- Improve your appearance and confidence
- Allow you to eat all your favorite foods
- Promote bone retention
- Can last a lifetime with proper care
Dental implants look, feel, and function like normal teeth, making them a wonderful long-term solution to tooth loss.
4. Is it painful to get a dental implant?
The majority of patients reported that getting an implant was much more comfortable than they’d anticipated. In fact, most patients reported that general tooth extractions caused more discomfort.
During the procedure, you’ll be either partially or fully sedated, making it fairly easy to tolerate. Afterward, your dentist will likely prescribe antibiotics and a painkiller (or instruct you to use OTC pain remedies) to keep you comfortable while you recover.
5. How much do dental implants cost?
The answer to this depends on the area you live and the extent of work you need to have done. The treatment you must undergo to restore your gum health and bone health is a vital precursor to treatment.
Keep in mind any price includes the materials for the tooth, plus two or more procedures to secure the implant.
6. How long does the process take?
Like total costs, there’s no exact answer to this. Much depends on the number of teeth involved, whether you need any extractions beforehand, and your overall dental health.
The restoration work takes place in two phases that could be spread out anywhere from three to nine months. Your dentist will be able to give you a more specific timeline based on your needs.
7. What’s the recovery process like?
For the first few days after the procedure, you’ll need to eat very soft foods that require little to no chewing. You’ll also want to avoid drinking from a straw. Most people can resume their normal diet within a week or two after surgery.
Following your dentist’s post-operative instructions carefully will minimize your discomfort and ensure you heal up right on schedule.
8. How long do dental implants last?
If you’re concerned about the upfront cost of dental implants, remember that it’s a solid investment in your future. Dentures, bridges, and other alternatives are temporary and will need replacing at some point.
When properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime and serve as a permanent solution to tooth loss.
9. How do I care for dental implants?
Because implants are a permanent replacement for your tooth, you’ll treat them the same way you would a natural tooth. Continue with your normal routine of daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular checkups and cleanings with your dentist.
10. Am I a good candidate for dental implants?
More than likely you are. If you have:
- One (or more) missing teeth
- Healthy gums
- Fully grown jawbone with no medical conditions that would affect healing
- The ability to commit several months to the process
- No smoking habit or are willing to quit smoking
…then you are likely a good candidate for implants. Your dentist can answer this question with more certainty and work to help you overcome any dental obstacles that may stand in the way of dental implants being a good fit for you.
Your Dental Implant FAQs: Answered
It’s understandable if you still have some questions and concerns. We encourage you to talk to your dentist to determine if dental implants are the best treatment option for you.
If you live near Griffin or Hampton, GA, we’re happy to speak with you about dental implants or any other procedures. Stop by one of our offices or use our online contact form to schedule your appointment.