We’ve put together the most frequent questions we receive from our patients to help you make the right choice.
A dental implant is a surgically placed artificial tooth root used to replace one or more missing teeth. Many people incorrectly believe that a dental implant makes up the entire replacement tooth; in fact, the implant replaces the root only. A dentist places a crown, bridge or denture onto the top of the replacement root once the dental implant has fully healed or has integrated into the bone.
Firstly, there is no such thing as “metal-free” teeth. Almost all materials used for teeth replacements have some sort of metal ions in them. Dental implants are made of titanium alloy (similar to hip implants, shoulder implants, and knee implants), which is highly biocompatible, and allergy to titanium is extremely rare! Currently, there are no proven alternatives to titanium dental implants.
Unlike natural teeth dental implants are not susceptible to dental disease such as decay; however, the health of the gums is vital to maintaining last implant success. Conscientious home care by the patient and regular professional cleanings and check-ups are essential elements for dental implant sustainability. Each patient is different, and success relies upon diagnosis and planning, medical history and a variety of other factors.
All on 4 is a trademarked treatment procedure that essentially involves replacement of all missing teeth in one jaw by using only 4 implants. This procedure is especially beneficial in patients who have lost a lot of bone in the back areas of the mouth.
Dentures cannot be “made into implants.” Implants are metal screws placed into the jawbone to help anchor and support artificial teeth (dentures). It may be possible to have implants placed beneath existing dentures to aid in the stabilization and support for those dentures. This could only be done if the current dentures were otherwise in excellent condition. You should consult with your prosthodontist to have your existing dentures carefully examined.
No, dental implants are fixed solidly in the bone and allow teeth to be replaced in a manner that is closest to natural teeth.
If the implants had been placed a long time ago and you have not returned for folllow-up/maintenance visits, such problems can occur. Unfortunately, in time the bone shrinks beneath dentures causing the dentures to slip and slide resulting in painful ulcers. Additionally, the attachment parts get worn down with use or damaged and require replacement. Regular visits to your prosthodontist is recommended.
Actually implants are most popularly used in patients who wear full dentures or partial dentures. Dental implants can be used to provide retention and support for a removable implant overdenture, which basically snaps on the implants like a trailer-hitch! Therefore the partial or full denture does not move and reduces the dependency on denture adhesives/denture glue.
OR, dental implants can be used for a Fixed Denture, where a patient’s dentures are fixed/bolted to the implants through titanium components. Only the dentist can remove this from the mouth and not the patient! The patient just takes care of the “fixed teeth” just like natural teeth!
The majority of the patients having completed implant surgery have reported very minimal discomfort. There have been a few that had a difficult time, but these were very few. Even these patients have agreed that the benefits of implants have far outweighed the experience and have allowed them a new level of dental function. Many have replaced their dentures with implants and have realized less chewing discomfort, no dentures moving around, and not requiring denture adhesive. Food tastes better than it did before.
Placement of implants may now be considered a routine dental procedure. A patient walks in, completes the procedure and then walks out. All that is generally required is local anesthesia, the same that may be required for a routine filling.
Most people are able to return to work the very next day. This will be dependent on individual experience, but most people do not require any extra time off. We however do request that you allow a little flexibility in your schedule to allow for the next day off if needed, even though an unusual need.
Many General Dental practices now place dental implants. They may refer the more difficult cases out. Implant placement is not without risks and the success varies from patient to patient.
It is important to understand that there very many implant systems. There are many different types of cases. Always ask questions including the level of experience of your doctor, the quality of the implant to be used, and the success rate.
This practice has placed more than 2800 implants, and counting. We have moved a step beyond to introduce digital scanning for increased precision of placement. With increased precision, the outcome is expected to be more successful and longer lasting. We use proven implant systems with international reputation, and assist our referring doctors in the completion of the final teeth. We try to make the experience as simple and easy as possible for the patient.
Make it a simple. Call (301) 856-1200 for a consult. That is the easiest step and you will be guided through the process from there. Implant placement is successful, easy and relatively inexpensive when compared to other procedures for replacing missing teeth. The final outcomes outshine most other replacement options by far.
Almost anyone who is missing a single tooth, multiple teeth, or all teeth are candidates. Talk to your prosthodontist for your specific needs.
A dental implant by itself is not a tooth! A dental implant is a prosthesis. Essentially, it is a small titanium post/fixture that is inserted into the jawbone, on top of which, a single crown (cap), a fixed bridge, a partial denture, or full denture can be attached. Once the implant integrates to your bone, a structure called abutment is connected to the implant and then the artificial tooth/teeth are attached. Therefore, there are 3 parts to an “implant tooth”- the dental implant itself, the abutment, and the artificial tooth.
Humans are “blessed” with 2 sets of teeth- baby teeth and adult/permanent teeth. When a single permanent tooth or all teeth are lost due to dental decay or gum disease, dental implants can now replace them as the 3rdset of fixed teeth!
Dental implants can last a lifetime and can improve your appearance, your confidence, and your ability to eat the foods you like, and participate in an active lifestyle, without worry about your teeth.
Dental implants are made of titanium and can never get dental decay!
Like any minor oral surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection, inflammation and pain but your Prosthodontist will discuss how these can be managed for your specific situation. If there is no available bone to place the implant, then bone and gum grafting procedures may be required, that can increase the cost of your treatment. However, the upfront investment can pay off in the long term.
It varies from individual to individual and with health and habits. For a healthy individual with good oral hygiene and good health, dental implants are predictably successful and survival rates above 90-95 percent are reported. You may consider seeking the care of a prosthodontist, who is a dental specialist with 3 years of additional education after dental school, and who is trained to treat patients requiring dental implants.
Each patient will have a different need. Dental implants are excellent replacement options for missing teeth. Even if there are multiple teeth missing, some cases may be designed using fewer implants with excellent results.
It is important to complete a consult and review the options available to each case. Implant costs will depend on the option chosen.
Some dental insurances may cover implants and at different rates. There may also be the opportunity for medical insurance to assist in coverage. The benefits of having teeth that are as close to normal as possible present an overall value that is undeniable.
Remember, each case will be different.