Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Dental Implants

Sometimes patients lose teeth to injury or removal.  In these cases, some patients are good candidates for dental implants.  These implants serves as a substitute for the natural roots, and once a crown has been installed, or a bridge has been affixed, then the implant serves as a natural root.

Generally speaking, if you are healthy enough to undergo oral surgery, then you are a good candidate for a dental implant.  Your dentist can help decide if implants are right for you, and you should discuss any chronic diseases or other health issues with him or her.Are you a candidate for dental implants?

What are the advantages of dental implants?

There are many benefits to dental implants.  Because the surrounding teeth are not altered when an implant is put in place, they can last a lifetime if you care for them well.  Implants fuse with your bone structure, so they are an improvement over temporary fixes like dentures.  They are also more comfortable than dentures, and it is much easier to eat with an implant than with dentures. Dental implants have a high success rate overall, and they do not require any particular special care.

What is the dental implant procedure?

In most cases, a dentist trained in restorative dentistry and an oral surgeon will work together to install implants.  First, if you need to have an extraction (due to an injury or excessive decay, for instance), then the tooth must be removed and the site allowed to heal.  Some patients undergo a process that builds up the jawbone to assure that the implant will be a success.  Once these preliminary steps are taken, then the implant is put in.  An implant is a titanium post around which the jaw will heal.  After the jaw heals, the post is anchored securely in the jaw.  This process may take 6 to 12 weeks.

Once the implant has healed, then a small connector post called an abutment is attached.  This abutment allows for the crown to be attached.  The crown will be custom made to fit your mouth and to match your natural teeth.  The crown will be made in a laboratory and installed by the dentist.  After the implant is complete, the implant and crown together will function as a natural tooth.

Do implants hurt?

Your dentist and oral surgeon will be able to guide you through the process of finding the right pain medication for your situation.  Most patients report little pain associated with the process, which is done under local anesthesia. Just like with natural teeth, flossing, brushing, and regular checkups will help to ensure that there are no future problems with an implant.