Dental implants represent the most advanced tooth replacement technology available to today’s patients, and it’s becoming an increasingly popular choice for patients who have suffered tooth loss.
As the only structurally complete tooth replacement, dental implants offer patients a host of benefits in comparison to alternatives like dental bridges and dentures. Dental implants look, feel and function much like natural teeth do. They are physically connected to the underlying bone, which gives them these life-like characteristics. Furthermore, the materials used to craft the crowns, bridges, and dentures supported by dental implants share many optical qualities with natural tooth enamel, enhancing the natural aesthetic.
Although dental implants have been around for three decades, patients still may be unfamiliar with all of the aspects of the treatment process. Here are some questions that patients often ask when considering this treatment option.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a small cylinder made of titanium, which is a biocompatible material. That means that bone is capable of forming a stable, permanent bond with it. Dental implants are surgically inserted into a patient’s jaw. After the bone and implant are fully assembled and fused, the implant acts as an artificial tooth root. That process, known as osseointegration, unfolds over the course of several months after dental implant placement. A single dental implant can be used to secure an individual crown, while multiple implants can support a bridge or denture, according to the patient’s needs.
Am I a good candidate for dental implants?
Each patient must be evaluated individually to determine whether dental implants are feasible in their specific case. Generally speaking, the patient must have an adequate bone tissue to support osseointegration, which is the process by which the jaw forms a bond with the dental implant and makes it a fixture in the mouth. If patients have sustained too much bone loss after tooth loss, they may need to undergo a bone graft before they are suitable for dental implant placement.
Additionally, patients must be healthy enough to tolerate the surgery needed for dental implant placement. Active oral diseases, such as gum disease, must be controlled before a patient can get dental implants and other health problems may be taken into consideration when evaluating the patient’s case.
How much do dental implants cost?
Each patient’s case is unique, so it’s impossible to provide a specific cost until you are evaluated. Costs associated with dental implant placement include the implant and the placement procedure, as well as preliminary expenses for imaging and other methods if they are needed. When considering the cost of dental implants as a factor in your decision, be sure to review the long-term expense in addition to the short-term. Alternatives like dentures or bridges have a lower price tag up front, but they are likely to tally up more out-of-pocket costs over time as they need to be refitted or replaced. Our practice offers many different financing options, which will be discussed with you at your consultation.
How do dental implants prevent bone loss?
Bone loss occurs after tooth loss because there is no longer a root structure to hold it in place. Because dental implants are the only structurally complete tooth replacement option, they are the single device that can halt this bone loss. Essentially, dental implants function as artificial tooth roots, supporting a crown or crowns and anchoring to the jaw. Therefore, unlike dentures and dental bridges – which often lose their fit as the jaw erodes – dental implants help to preserve the jaw.
How many teeth can be replaced with dental implants?
Dental implants are useful in a variety of tooth loss scenarios. They can support a single crown, a dental bridge or an entire prosthetic arch/denture. Therefore, any number from one tooth to a whole smile can be restored via this intervention. Dental implants are quite versatile in this way. Dr. Chei will make recommendations on the most appropriate approach for your specific case.