Missing or broken teeth? Here’s what you should know about dental implants
You might be thinking about dental implants if you are suffering from missing, broken or severely decayed teeth. It’s understandable to have concerns about teeth replacement procedures, so our Atascadero dentists have provided answers to a number of questions about dental implants and prosthetics.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is surgically positioned into the bone beneath your gums. This allows the dentist to mount a replacement tooth or teeth on to it. Implants provide stable support for artificial teeth since they fuse with your jawbone, unlike dentures that can slip or shift in your mouth. In other words, they can be just as good than your real teeth.
Are dental implants right for me?
The only definitive way of determining whether you’re a candidate for dental implants is to consult with a dentist to identify whether you have adequate bone support and healthy gums that will support the new tooth structure.
Patients with mild blood pressure or diabetes, which is under control, can still get implants. Severely compromised patients or those who have been advised against surgical procedures may not be good candidates. However, it is always better to consult an implantologist prior to taking any decisions regarding implant placement.
How does it work?
The placement of dental implants is a multi-step process. It begins with a full diagnostic check-up to rule out any medical conditions, which may contraindicate implant placement. X-rays of individual teeth and a full mouth (OPG) X-ray along with a special three-dimensional scan to determine bone condition will be required. Sometimes models of the upper and lower jaw may also be made to aid in the implant placement planning.
Will the implant surgery be very painful?
This is one of the most common concerns for people thinking about receiving a dental implant. The majority of dental implants are placed under a normal dental local anesthetic. You will not feel anything sharp or painful throughout your treatment once the anesthetic agent takes effect. You may need to take over-the-counter medications once the anesthetic has worn off. It is not unusual to have a very minimal level of pain or even no pain whatsoever. You should be fine to go back to work the next day with a single dental implant.
Can I replace all my teeth with dental implants?
Yes. You do not need one implant per tooth and can actually have as few as four implants to replace all of the upper or lower teeth. These will be strategically placed by the implant dentist. There are a variety of options for the type of bridgework supplied, which can either be removed by you or remain fixed in place and can be removed by the dentist only.
How long will dental implants last?
A lifetime if the dental implant integration is successful and they are well cared for and maintained with regular reviews and monitoring by the dentist. It is possible to chip a crown or bridge on implants, as with your real teeth. Sometimes the outer screw over the implants may become loose which can be easily corrected by the dentist. Annual reviews with x-rays to check the bone levels around the implants in addition to your regular check-ups with your implant dentist are recommended.
For any other questions or for a consultation about dental implants, our Atascadero dental team is always a call or click away.