What are dental implants?
Dental implants are replacement tooth roots. Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth.
What are the advantages of dental implants?
- Improved appearance.
- Improved speech. With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within your mouth, causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that teeth might slip.
- Improved comfort.
- Easier eating. Dental implants allow you to eat your favorite foods.
- Improved self-esteem.
- Improved oral health.
- Convenience. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing dentures.
How successful are dental implants?
Success rates of dental implants vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed but, in general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. With proper care, implants can last a lifetime.
Can anyone get dental implants?
In most cases, anyone healthy enough to undergo a routine dental extraction or oral surgery can be considered for a dental implant. Patients should have healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant. They also must be committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. Heavy smokers, people suffering from uncontrolled chronic disorders — such as diabetes or heart disease — or patients who have had radiation therapy to the head/neck area need to be evaluated on an individual basis.
What is involved in getting a dental implant?
First, you dentist will create a treatment plain tailed to your needs.
Next, the tooth root implant, which is a small post made of titanium, is placed into the bone socket of the missing tooth. As the jawbone heals, it grows around the implanted metal post, anchoring it securely in the jaw.
Once the implant has bonded to the jawbone, a small connector post — called an abutment — is attached to the post to securely hold the new tooth. A replacement tooth, called a crown, is then attached to the abutment.
How painful are dental implants?
Most people who have received dental implants say that there is very little discomfort involved in the procedure. Local anesthesia can be used during the procedure, and most patients report that implants involve less pain than a tooth extraction.
After the dental implant, you can treat mild soreness with over-the-counter pain medications, such as Tylenol or Motrin.
Does insurance cover the cost of dental implants?
In general, dental implants are not covered by dental insurance. Coverage under your medical plan may be possible, depending on the insurance plan and/or cause of tooth loss.
How do I care for dental implants?
Dental implants require the same care as real teeth, including brushing, flossing, rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash, and regular dental check-ups.