Considering Dental Implants?
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a 3 part component that can replace a missing tooth. Implants are titanium screws that are placed into bone that can support a single tooth or help support a denture. Multiple implants can be used to support a bridge or multiple teeth. It is a relatively simple procedure to replace a tooth when it fails.
Benefit of implants
There are other advantages to implants than just getting a new tooth. Implants help maintain bone in the jawbone which supports facial structures and teeth. A single tooth implant maintains the integrity of the teeth around it. If you have an implant to replace a single tooth, there is no need to cut down the teeth on either side of it. If you had a bridge, your dentist would need to do this and fit crowns to these teeth to support the bridge.
Normal dentures often mean that your eating and drinking are affected because the dentures may move about. But dentures attached to an implant don’t cause this problem, because they are anchored to the bone and much more secure.
Are implants safe and how long will they last?
Implants are a safe, well-established treatment. It’s probably true to say that implants, much like natural teeth, will last for as long as you care for them.
How well you look after your implants – and whether you go for your regular maintenance appointments – will have the biggest impact on how long they will last.
If you don’t look after your implants they will develop a coating similar to what you get on neglected natural teeth. Left untreated, this can lead to gum infection, bleeding, soreness and general discomfort. You could get all these problems with natural teeth.
If your implants are well looked after, and if the bone they are fitted to is strong and healthy, you can expect them to last for many years. However, just as with other surgical implants (such as a hip replacement) there is no lifetime guarantee.
I have some of my own teeth. Can I still have implants?
Yes. You can have any number of teeth replaced with implants – from one single tooth to a complete set.
Can implants always be used to replace missing teeth?
It depends on the condition of the bone in your jaw. Your dentist will arrange for a 3d cone beam image that will determine if your bone is healthy enough for an implant. If there is not enough, or if it isn’t healthy enough, it may not be possible to place implants without grafting bone into the area first.
Do implants hurt?
Placing an implant is often easier than taking a tooth out and is usually done using a simple local anesthetic. You will not feel any pain at the time but, just like after an extraction, you may feel some discomfort during the week after the surgery.
How long does the treatment take?
Your dental team will be able to give you a rough timetable before the treatment starts. Implant reconstruction should always be done in phases. It is important that you have a timetable and plan in place before you start. If the implant is in a highly aesthetic area, it is extremely important that the surgeon and the reconstructing dentist have consulted together about the case.
After the implant is placed there is a period of healing or osseointegration. This means that the bone grows around the implant. During this phase the implant is hidden under the gum.
In many cases the patient will leave the space while the implant heals. When this is not an option for aesthetic reasons options for a temporary tooth can be made ahead of time.
If you are having one, two or three teeth replaced, you may have a temporary denture in the meantime. If you already have full dentures, you can keep wearing these while your implants are healing.
Usually the final restorations are fitted 3 to 4 months after the implants are placed.
What about aftercare?
Your dental team will give you instructions on how to look after your implant. We recommend routine dental hygiene visits to keep your implant and teeth healthy and free of gum disease.
Are the implant teeth difficult to clean?
No. But aftercare is important if you are going to have a long-lasting, successful implant. Your dental team should give you detailed advice on how to look after your implants. Cleaning around the teeth attached to the implants is no more difficult than cleaning natural teeth. However, there may be areas that are difficult to reach and you’ll be shown how to clean them. You may need to visit your hygienist more often but your dental team will be able to talk to you about this.
If I had gum disease when I had my own teeth, will I get it with the implants?
Yes, if you don’t care for them well enough. If you keep them clean and have them regularly checked by your dental team you should not have any problems. Smoking also affects the health of implants. So, if you smoke, you may need to look after your implants more carefully. Some dentists will not place dental implants in people who are smokers.
Can I take the teeth out if they are fixed to implants?
Most teeth attached to implants can only be fitted and removed by the dentist. However, if you have removable dentures attached to the implants, you’ll be able to take them out for cleaning.
Do the implants show?
Most implants look exactly like natural teeth.
Do I have an implant for each missing tooth?
If you have a single tooth missing, you will need an implant to support it. If you have a number of teeth missing, and these are next to each other, you could still have one implant for each tooth. Or you may find that, if you have two or more implants, they may be able to support multiple teeth on a bridge. Your dentist will talk to you about the best option for you.
Protecting the implants
We usually will recommend a patient that is a heavy bruxier or grinder to wear a night guard to protect the implants at night.
How much will it cost?
In many situations, the cost of the treatment is only a little more than the cost of more conventional dental treatment with crowns and bridges. Over the longer term, implants are usually a more cost-effective and satisfactory option. Depending on your dental plan you may be able to use your benefits towards implant treatment.
Where do I get this treatment?
Talk to your dentist. They may already carry out some or all of this type of treatment, and will give you the advice you need. Or they may refer you to an experienced oral surgeon for assessment and treatment.
Remember to ask:
- exactly what treatment is proposed and the phased plan
- what experience the dentist has working in conjunction with the surgeon for cases like yours
- the total cost of the treatment, and
- what the risks, alternatives and benefits are.
Make sure you get a treatment plan, along with an estimate, and ask if a guarantee is included for your treatment.
If you are unhappy with any of the answers you get, then do ask for a second opinion. You will be spending a lot of time, effort and money, so you must be sure that you know what you are getting at the end of the treatment.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Sudikoff call our office today at (704) 413-3688.
Additional iDental Services
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1315 East Blvd, Suite # 260
Charlotte, NC 28226