I love to talk about the benefits of dental implants – as you may know, I have four implants. In my opinion, they’re simply the best way to replace a missing tooth — because they’re attached to the jawbone, they look and function just like a natural tooth.
But when talking to patients about getting a dental implant, they often have many of the same questions. So, I thought I’d post this FAQ to help you better understand dental implants.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth made of three parts. The implant post, abutment, and crown.
The implant post is made of titanium, and is inserted into the jawbone. After it’s inserted we need to wait several months as the jawbone grows around it, making it a strong and permanent part of your jaw. Think of this as the root of a tooth.
Next is the abutment. This goes on top of the post, and is what the crown eventually attaches to.
The last part is the crown, and this is the part that looks exactly like a natural tooth (sometimes a crown will resemble multiple teeth). This is the only part that is visible once the procedure is complete, and I guarantee that you’ll smile when you see the final product.
What is a mini dental implant?
Basically mini dental implants are a similar to a dental implant, but just smaller in width. They also only have two parts – just a screw and a crown. However, these aren’t for every situation, and I take the time to tell my patients why, or why not, these would be a good option.
Why should I get a dental implant?
We all need teeth to chew our food. By being unable to chew the proper foods, many patients who are missing teeth will become malnourished. And this leads to shorter lifespans.
Then there is the mental impact of missing teeth. Some people stop smiling or laughing, because they’re self-conscious about missing teeth. Others have uncomfortable dentures that make it difficult to eat. With dental implants, these concerns disappear, and my patients can feel free to laugh, smile, and eat any food they want.
Will dental implants last forever? How should it be maintained?
Dental implants will most-likely outlive the patient, as long as they’re kept in good condition. This means that the implant needs to be treated like a normal tooth, and should be brushed at least twice a day, and flossed at least once a day.
Will dental implants “lift” my face?
While dental implants won’t reduce your wrinkles, they can give you a more youthful appearance. By having implants, your lips and cheeks will stay out, keeping you from getting that sunken-in look. Also, because implants are actually in your jawbone, they’ll keep your jawbone from dissolving – which is what happens when you have missing teeth or use dentures.
Do dental implants hurt?
Fortunately, with just local anesthesia, patients feel no pain during the procedure. After the procedure only the occasional Tylenol or ibuprofen should be needed.
How long does it take to recover from a dental implant surgery?
Once the dentist has placed the titanium post in your jawbone, it will take about 3-6 months for the jawbone to heal around and fuse with the implant.
After that, adding the abutment and the crown, the final parts that give you back your smile, is easy for your dentist to do on your final visit. Overall it should take about two or thee visits for the implant to be finished.
Is dental financing available for dental implants?
Absolutely. My offices offer dental financing options through multiple providers. To learn more about these options, click here.