8 Dental Implants FAQs You Need to Ask
Written by Dr. DeAngelis
Whether you’re missing two or ten teeth, your quality of life has been diminished. You can’t bite easily into a crunchy apple or thick steak, and you’re always self-conscious about the appearance of your mouth.
Fortunately, tooth loss doesn’t have to define your life. You have many tooth replacement options available, including dentures, bridges, and dental implants. Perhaps you considered each option already, but you’re not sure which is best for your specific oral health needs.
These eight dental implants FAQs will help you make an informed decision and understand the immense benefits of dental implants for tooth replacement.
1. How Do Dental Implants Replace Lost Teeth?
A natural tooth consists of the crown, which is visible in the mouth and used for chewing, and the root, which is located beneath the gums. The connective gum tissue around each crown is meant to stop bacteria from moving down into the root of the tooth.
A dental implant is the most realistic replacement for a lost tooth. Each implant contains 3 pieces:
- A titanium screw replaced the tooth root
- A crown replaces the visible portion of the tooth
- An abutment connects the screw and the crown
By replacing not only the visible portion of your tooth, but the root as well, dental implants make it possible to restore your smile in a natural and long-lasting way.
2. Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
Dental implants are considered the “Gold Standard” in tooth replacement because they are durable, attractive, functional, and can last a lifetime. However, not all patients qualify for dental implants. It’s important to have healthy gums, sufficient bone density, and general good health before undergoing dental implant surgery. .
If you have unhealthy gums and show signs of gum disease or periodontal disease, you may not qualify for the implant procedure until you’ve completed intensive periodontal disease treatment. Your dentist may recommend comprehensive procedures like root scaling and planing or laser gum therapy to improve your gum health and make implants a viable option.
Sufficient Bone Density
The base of the dental implant is a small titanium rod that’s implanted into the jawbone. This titanium implant replaces the natural root of the tooth and attaches to the crown that’s visible along the gumline. Without enough bone density, the titanium implant won’t be adequately supported. If you don’t have enough bone density currently, you may have the option to undergo bone grafting to regrow enough bone for dental implants.
There are other health factors that could prevent you from getting implants. Heavy smokers, pregnant women, children, people with chronic diseases, and people taking steroids may not be candidates for implants. It’s possible for you to adjust your lifestyle habits in order to make dental implants an option as you pursue lasting oral health.
3. What At-Home Care Do Implants Require?
The dental implant crowns themselves are not prone to cavities and decay, but your gum tissue is still vulnerable to bacteria, sugar, and disease. As a result, your implants require the same type of daily care that your real teeth need.
If you neglect to brush and floss, bacteria will accumulate and infect your gums. Inflammation and infection in the gums compromise the structure and integrity of each dental implant titanium screw. This condition is called peri-implantitis, and it can result in the loss of the bone that supports the implant. If not treated and resolved quickly, the implant will fail.
Fortunately, caring for your implants does not need to be complicated. Simply brush and floss on a regular basis to remove bacteria and eliminate any risk of peri-implantitis. You may also want to use an antimicrobial mouth rinse, disclosing tablets to stain areas of hidden plaque accumulation, and interdental brushes to remove plaque from either side of the implant.
4. Why Are Dental Implants So Popular?
Dental implants are considered the Gold Standard in tooth replacement because they achieve full-mouth restoration more efficiently than any other option. Implants offer many benefits, including these three.
Protect and Build Healthy Jawbone
Replacing your missing teeth is important for more than aesthetic and functional reasons. Each tooth in your mouth plays an important role in stimulating and strengthening the underlying bone. When you lose a tooth, you lose the ability to protect healthy bone in that area.
Dental implants are able to replace the tooth’s root system to continue stimulating the jawbone. They restore the support that the jawbone needs, stimulate further bone growth, and prevent future bone loss. This is the only way to prevent bone loss over time.
Eat and Talk With Ease
Tooth loss impacts your lifestyle in many ways, especially in your ability to eat and talk without complications. Even just one lost tooth can affect pronunciation and chewing. Implants can be used to replace single or multiple teeth so you don’t have to avoid your favorite foods or avoid talking in public.
Smile with Confidence
The most obvious problem created by tooth loss is your incomplete smile. Whether you lose your front teeth or bottom molar, you will feel self-conscious smiling and talking to others. Fortunately, implants replace your missing teeth to create a full, whole smile once again. Since they look natural and realistic, nobody will even suspect that tooth loss was once a problem for you.
5. How Long Does It Take to Get Dental Implants?
The dental implant process isn’t quick, but the results are definitely worth the wait. Implant treatment generally requires three to six months to complete because it’s an in-depth, multi-step process:
- Extraction of any teeth that will be replaced with implants
- Implant placement into the bone tissue
- Recovery time while implants fuse completely with the jawbone (this takes months)
- Abutment and crown placement
The process may take longer if you need bone grafting surgery before implant placement can begin.
6. What Should I Expect During Dental Implant Surgery?
Dental implant surgery takes place in multiple steps. You won’t feel any pain during the procedure as your dentist extracts old, damaged teeth and places titanium screw implants into your jawbone. After the procedure, you can expect swelling, bruising, pain at the implant site, and minor bleeding for the first few days. Pain medications and antibiotics will help control your discomfort and prevent infection as you heal.
7. What If I Have Problems With My Dental Implants?
Dental problems happen. If your implant becomes loose or uncomfortable, a restoration dentist can evaluate the problem and recommend a solution.
8. Where Can I Get Help with Dental Implants?
Many dentists claim to specialize in dental implants, but some lack the training and experience to give you superior, reliable results. It’s important to find a dentist who is recognized as an industry leader in dental implant treatment and technology.
At DeAngelis Family Dentistry in Carlsbad, California, Dr. DeAngelis and her team specialize in dental implant restorations. If your existing implants were placed incorrectly or have shifted out of place, DeAngelis Family Dentistry offers the experience and technology to restore your implants and keep you smiling.
Call DeAngelis Family Dentistry today or schedule a consultation online to learn more about dental implants and restorations.