Dental Implant FAQs
Common Questions and Answers about Dental Implants and Follow-Up Care
Dental implants are quickly becoming the standard treatment for missing teeth. They look and function like natural teeth, and unlike dentures, they allow you to eat the foods you want, they don’t slip or fall out when you talk, and they last a lifetime. An important investment in your health, dental implants are a worthy and affordable option.
What is a dental implant?
Dental implants are the ideal replacement method for missing teeth. They consist of three parts:
- A titanium screw (implant) that is placed in the jawbone
- An abutment that connects the implant to the crown
- The crown — the visible part that can be seen over the gum line. Typically, the crown is cemented onto the abutment.
How does the dental implant placement process work?
We begin by gathering imaging, medical records, and your dental history during a consultation. Once able to formulate a treatment plan that ensures both your health goals and budgetary needs will be met, we schedule an extraction for the tooth in question. Sometimes, we’re able to place the dental implant at the same time as the extraction. Occasionally, a bone grafting is needed to strengthen the area. This common procedure requires several months of healing before the dental implant can be placed.
Once the site is ready, you will undergo a 30-minute-to-60-minute surgery in which we will administer anesthesia and make sure you are comfortable. When the dental implant has been placed and covered with the surrounding soft tissue, it takes about 3 months for the implant to fuse with the bone. We place an abutment on the implant after the osseointegration (fusion with jawbone) is complete, which will connect it to the dental crown. Finally, we will attach the carefully crafted crown, and you’ll be as good as new!
Do dental implants hurt?
No! During the surgery, you won’t feel a thing because you will be properly anesthetized at all times. Most of our patients experience very little pain even after the surgery, but if any discomfort does result, it can be easily managed with over-the-counter pain medications.
Do dental implants feel like real teeth?
Yes! Your dental implant will operate just like your natural teeth. Your new permanent teeth will allow you to eat all of your favorite foods.
Will I need to miss work for dental implant surgery?
It all depends on the type of sedation you choose, the implant site, and your pre-op health. Our patients generally take anywhere from a few hours to a day off work.
What are single-stage implants?
In some cases, we are able to place the implant and leave the soft tissue surrounding it as is. This allows us to avoid a second surgical procedure to uncover the dental implant during the abutment/restoration stage.
What if I am missing a lot of teeth?
If you are missing many teeth, implant-supported dentures are a solution that provides you with a full arch of prosthetic teeth that are attached to just 4-6 dental implants. This option is great for those who need the quantity of teeth provided by a denture but don’t want the hassle associated with it.
What are the risks and complications associated with dental implants?
Dental implants have been around for years and have a success rate of up to 98%. Continual improvements and discoveries are being made everyday. The risks are very low and closely resemble those of other minor surgical procedures – infection, injury to adjacent teeth, etc. We recommend waiting to get an implant until after the jaw has finished growing and you’ve had straightening procedures, such as braces or Invisalign, done, because the implant’s fusion to the bone makes it not movable.
How long do dental implants last?
Studies have shown that properly placed dental implants that are well cared for, with routine maintenance, can last as long as 25 years. Our cutting-edge technology and the experience of our doctors enable us to give you the very best chance at keeping yours for life.
Will I have temporary teeth during the healing phase?
If the dental implant site is near the front of your mouth, we have a variety of temporary options, such as bridges and transitional implants, to get you through the healing phase. In some cases, the permanent tooth can even be placed onto the implant during the implant surgery.
When will I have my permanent teeth?
Permanent restorations are typically placed 3 months after the implant surgery.
How do I care for my dental implants?
Care for your dental implants just like you do your natural teeth: by brushing twice and flossing once daily. If you take good care of them, they will take care of you!