Repairing Your Smile: 7 Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Implants
Missing teeth is common in middle age and beyond. People lose teeth for a variety of reasons. Maybe you’ve had an accident where you’ve lost or cracked a tooth. Decay or gum disease may lead to teeth being pulled.
When you lose one or more teeth as an adult, it can lead to reduced confidence and further dental issues. One way you can address this problem is to have dental implants. Implants are becoming very common and are considered solid, reliable and permanent solutions to replace natural teeth.
Dental implants can support single or multiple teeth. They can even support a partial or full set of dentures. They provide a more natural look and feel, giving you the confidence you need. You may not know it, but dental implants have been around for over 50 years and have a very high success rate. Before getting implants, you may have questions:
1. Who is involved in the implant process?
You will be working with a team throughout the dental implant process. Aside from the staff in the office, you’ll work with a surgeon who has advanced training in implants, and a restorative dentist around the design and placement of the crowns. A lab technician will fashion your new teeth, customizing the style and colour appropriately.
2. What kind of training is required to perform dental implants?
Dentists who perform implant surgery will have specialized training after their dental degree, including course work and hands-on training on models and real patients. Training may include topics such as treatment planning, imaging, surgical procedures and bone grafting.
Ask your dentist about their training and ask to see a portfolio of their work.
3. What is the process?
A dental implant is a titanium or ceramic post, surgically embedded into the jawbone. It acts as the root and supports a fully customized artificial tooth. The process can take several months, from initial consultation to full tooth replacement.
4. What are “teeth-in-a-day”?
“Teeth-in-a-day” are a full-plate solution, similar to dentures but without the complications. They will not require any adhesives, will not slide around in your mouth causing sore spots and will not affect the taste of your food. They do require multiple preliminary visits for consultation, design and fitting.
5. Are there any risks in getting dental implants?
Most people experience very little pain after surgery and can often eat the same day. Though risks are rare, complications such as infection, damage to the surrounding teeth, nerve damage and sinus issues can occur. These risks are usually treated easily. In very rare cases, implants can fail to integrate fully with the bone.
6. What are the alternatives to dental implants?
One alternative to implants is simply pulling the tooth or teeth. Leaving spaces might not only be unsightly, but may cause bone loss, bite and gum issues. Other viable options include bridges and dentures, which may cost less initially, but require more maintenance later. Often patients are dissatisfied with the results. Pain, difficulty chewing and potential damage to healthy teeth may make implants a more viable option.
7. Am I a good candidate for this treatment?
Healthy gums and jaws are necessary for successful implants, though bone graphs can help if you are experiencing bone less. Dentures may still be the best choice for children, people with chronic illness and those who grind their teeth.