In recent years, dental implants have become the prefered tooth replacement procedure. Dental Implants, which involve inserting titanium posts into the jaw, give patients an opportunity to have prosthetic teeth that look, feel, and function like their natural ones.
While many dental patients are familiar with crowns, bridges, and dentures, fewer know exactly what a dental implant is, or how it compares to their other tooth replacement options. Below, our expert surgeons have answered some common questions our patients have about dental implants and the dental implant process.
What are the benefits of dental implants? Why might I prefer a dental implant to a denture or bridge?
• Dental implants preserve your healthy teeth. Receiving bridges involve grinding down your neighboring teeth, while dental implants allow you to preserve the current condition of your natural teeth.
• Dental implants are more durable and cost-effective. Unlike bridges and crowns, dental implants often last for a lifetime. Because they almost never need replacing, they can be a less expensive tooth loss solution.
• Dental implants mean better and easier oral hygiene. Because implants are so much like natural teeth, oral care is easier. Unlike bridges, for example, you can easily floss between implants and natural teeth.
• Dental implants promote jawbone health. Because dental implants replace the tooth root, they stop jawbone degeneration and keep the jaw strong and healthy.
• Dental implants make speaking and eating easier. Those with dentures or extensive tooth loss can find speaking painful and eating difficult. Since dental implants are permanently anchored to your jaw, you can eat, speak and live with confidence and comfort. At the same time, you don’t have to deal with slipping dentures or messy denture adhesives.
• Dental implants create a better smile — and better self-esteem. Dental implants look identical to your natural teeth and restore your smile.
Who is a good candidate for dental implants?
Anyone who is healthy enough to undergo other similar forms of dental work (such as bridge work or tooth extraction) is also healthy enough to get dental implants. The surgeons at the Surgical Arts Centre have utilized dental implants for several patients over 100 years old! Anyone who is missing a single tooth, missing multiple teeth, or who uses dentures may find that dental implants are an ideal solution for them.
How long does it take to receive dental implants?
The length of the dental implant process depends on which teeth are being replaced as well as the condition of the bone supporting the implants. The doctors of the Surgical Arts Centre have refined techniques for replacing many teeth in just one day, but in unusual circumstances the process may take between three and nine months to complete. Patients receiving All-on-4 full arch implants can have a full mouth of permanent, working teeth in just one day. During your consultation, ask your doctor or dentist about your individual dental implant timeline.
Can my regular dentist put in my dental implants?
A small percentage of general dentists place dental implants, but most dental implant procedures are performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Before choosing a medical professional to oversee your dental implant process, be sure to ask about their credentials, their experience, and their education. At the Surgical Arts Centre, our dental implant surgeons are certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and have a long history of successful implant procedures.
Do dental implants hurt? Is the dental implant procedure painful?
Many patients report that dental implants finally end the pain and discomfort that they have been experiencing with their missing teeth, damaged teeth, or dentures.
During the procedure itself, patients are sedated. Many patients report having no pain at all. After the procedure, patients may feel some discomfort and experience some swelling and bruising. This should resolve in a short time. Speak with your surgeon about any ongoing discomfort.
How much do dental implants cost? Will my dental insurance cover the cost of dental implants?
The cost of dental implants also depends on how many implants the patient is receiving, the health of the patient, and the complexity of the procedure. The doctors at the Surgical Arts Centre take pride in making these procedures affordable in an effort to make them available to more patients in need. We have professionals in our facility who can help you understand and maximize your insurance benefits and who can help you obtain affordable financing if needed.
What are the risks and complications associated with dental implants?
Although our level of experience and skill translates to a much lower rate of complication than reported averages, no surgical procedure can be completely free of potential for complications.
Generally, dental implant placement is a very safe and predictable procedure. However, dental implant operations carry many of the same risks as similar tooth replacement and oral surgery procedures. Some patients report pain, swelling, and bruising. Rarely, patients report issues with infection, sinus issues, post-surgical bleeding, and inflammation affecting the nerves that provide sensation to the lips, chin, tongue and gums. We see a success rate with our dental implants in excess of 98 percent. Nonetheless, a very small number of dental implants will not integrate into the jawbone properly and the procedure will need to be repeated. Our level of skill enables us to help all of our patients overcome any bumps in the road and ultimately achieve their desire of restored smiles.
How do I care for my dental implants? How long do dental implants last?
You care for your dental implants just as you care for your natural teeth – brush them, floss them, and visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and x-rays. With proper care, your dental implants can last a lifetime. Other tooth replacement solutions, such as bridges and crowns, often need to be replaced within 5-10 years.
Will people be able to know I have dental implants?
No. Your dental implants will look and feel just like your natural teeth.
What are All-on-4 dental implants? Could AO4 be a good procedure for me?
All-on-4 is an innovative dental implant procedure that allows patients to receive a full mouth of new teeth in one fast and efficient surgery. This surgery, which usually takes just one day, involves attaching a full arch of teeth to a patient using as few as four dental implants. Montana’s Surgical Arts Centre is home to one of the most experienced All-on-4 surgeon in the country.