The American Dental Association estimates that 5 million implants are placed each year in this country. With proper care, implants can have a success rate of 98% or higher. Implants can be used to replace one tooth or, if you need to replace all your teeth, implants can be used to support a bridge or a full denture.
If you are wondering if implants are right for you, the following information can help you make an informed decision.
Understanding dental implant surgery
Before the implant can be placed in your mouth, you may need to have one or more teeth removed. Once your mouth has healed from the tooth extractions, the implant process can start.
The first step is an evaluation of your teeth and jaw. Since the implant is placed directly into your jawbone, the bone must be strong enough to support the implant. If it isn’t, your dentist will discuss options to improve the quality of bone within your jaw. Next, X-rays and 3D images will be taken to minimize complications and to maximize the precision for implant placement.
A dental implant consists of three parts; a titanium post that is placed into your jaw bone, an abutment that extends from the metal post, and an artificial tooth that is placed on the abutment. The metal post acts like the tooth’s root. To make sure the implant doesn’t move, the metal post must fuse with the bone cells in your jaw, and it can take months for the bone to heal around the implant.
Depending on your specific situation, either local anesthesia, sedation or general anesthesia will be used. Generally, this is a routine surgical procedure that takes approximately one hour (for a single implant) to complete. Patients routinely go back to work the next day with very little discomfort!
The amount of time it takes to complete dental implant surgery varies for each patient, but it’s important to understand that it takes months to complete the entire process in order to minimize complications and maximize the success rate.
Advantages of dental implants
Here are just a few of the many benefits of using dental implants to fill in your missing teeth:
- Dental implants prevent bone loss
- Dental implants prevent surrounding teeth from moving
- Dental implants look like natural teeth
- Dental implants never need to be replaced and do not get decay/cavities
- Dental implants improve chewing ability
- Dental implants increase self-confidence
Potential risks involved with dental implants
As with any type of surgery, there are potential risks, the most common being the risk which you can discuss with your dentist. Each patient’s unique medical and dental history plays a role in determining their risk profile. Most patients are good candidates for dental implants.
Insurance coverage for dental implants
All insurance plans are different. Some insurance plans cover all aspects of the implant process, including tooth extraction, while others only pay for certain parts or none at all. Check with your specific policy to learn how much your insurance plan will cover.
If you’d like to learn more, schedule an appointment online!