What You Need To Know About Dental Implants

DENTAL IMPLANTS ARE permanent false teeth to look just like your other teeth. They’re a popular alternative to dentures or bridges, and the American Dental Association considers them to be “one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past 40 years.”

How Do They Work?

Unlike dentures and bridges, which don’t feel or look entirely real and must be removed and cleaned outside of your mouth daily, dental implants are surgically placed into your jaw. In place of the roots your natural teeth have, the new tooth is held in place by a surgical screw. The crown shade and shape is carefully selected to match the surrounding teeth, so it blends right in.

There are two basic types of implantendosteal and subperiosteal. Endosteal implants are surgically attached directly to the jaw bone with a titanium post, and the entire implant structure (apart from the crown itself) is hidden under the gums and looks and feels just like any other tooth. Subperiosteal implants consist of a metal frame that fits onto the jaw bone rather than screwing into it, and these are a good option if you lack the bone structure necessary for endosteal implants.

Who Are They For?

If you are missing teeth due to injury, disease, or decay, dental implants could restore your smile more effectively than other options. However, not everyone with missing teeth is a candidate. Just as with real teeth, oral health is crucial to successful implants. Before you get an implant, you need good, strong bone and healthy gums to support it, and once it’s in, you have to keep it clean by brushing and flossing. Yearly visits to our office for professional cleanings and checkups is crucial to ensure the implant is successful. 

Dental Implant Vs. Dental Bridge

Some patients want to know the difference between a dental implant versus a dental bridge treatment. Although, both are great options for replacing a missing tooth, only one is fully permanent. For better quality of life we suggest a dental implant treatment. The dental implant will not break and will not have to be replaced. A bridge can break, is not completely permanent and may have enough wear and tear after a long time. This can lead to possible replacement. The implant restoration is a longer process than a bridge, but can be worth it in the long run. Implant is more costly than a bridge, but because the process can take 6-9 months a payment plan can make it more affordable. To learn more about payment plan options at Higginbotham Family Dental visit the payment plan page.

How Long Does Dental Implant Procedures Take?

Dental implant services length of procedure can vary. When you get a single implant treatment, the initial treatment visit usually takes one to two hours. This will depend on if a bone graft is done before the implant is placed. Dental implant treatment is not just one visit though, it can be three or more visits. This will all depend on each patient case by case. A patient can get a tooth pulled and an implant placed on the same day within the hour.  The last step in treatment of placing the crown, usually takes 30 minutes. If placement for dental implant brides, partials or dentures are in the treatment plan, then the time will take longer. It is best to make these appointments first thing in the morning if possible. They can sometimes run up to 3 hours for more extensive cases. 

Dental Implant Surgery Timeline

The first appointment in the dental implant process is a full exam, x-rays and cleaning to establish bone structure. Not every patient is a candidate for dental implants, so this has to be done first. The doctor will put a treatment plan together for the patient and present it to them. The financial coordinator will go over the treatment again to discuss with you on estimates of the treatment and getting it scheduled.

The first dental implant treatment appointment will be dependent on bone grafting, tooth extraction and if healing is needed. Most dental implant surgeries can be anywhere from 3-9 months with multiple visits with in those months. Denture implant procedures may take even longer to make sure the look and fit are just right for the entire arch.

Dental Implant Pictures

Here are some dental implant pictures. We have some before and after pictures of our patients on our implant page on our website if you want to see more or learn more about dental implant procedures at Higginbotham Family Dental.

Dental Implant pictures

How Painful Is A Dental Implant?

A Dental implant surgery is not as painful as you think or even not at all. Like most procedures, patients are numbed where the implant is placed so the patient feels nothing. For more nervous patients, nitrous oxide (gas) is given to keep the patient relaxed and comfortable. During the procedure at anytime if the patient can feel anything, then more numbing solution is used. The patient may experience some initial swelling after the procedure or none at all. Any pain or swelling is minimal and post op care is with acetaminophen and ibuprofen. 

Are You Put To Sleep For Dental Implants?

A patient may want to be put to sleep for a dental implant surgery. However, adding this to an implant procedure can be quite costly. If you go to a dental implant specialist, they will charge the treatment at the specialist rate as well as charge per hour for deep sedation. At Higginbotham Family Dental we are able to offer conscious sedation or oral sedation at a much lower cost for patients that have a little more anxiety or fear about the procedure. To keep dental implant cost down for patients being put to sleep is not the best option and is not always necessary.

How Long After Dental Implants Can I Eat Normally?

After a dental implant service, patients can wait until they are no longer numb or mostly no longer numb. Dental implant care is similar to other dental treatments. Be careful around the area of the dental implant surgery while healing. Eat normally as long as it is comfortable and does not cause any irritation or pain to the dental implant surgery area. Dental implants feel more natural and stable. Dental implants allows you to eat normally confidently. It helps quality of life by being as close to your natural teeth as possible.

Still Have Questions? We Have Answers!

If you would like to learn more, we can answer any questions you have with a free cosmetic consultation. We’re here to help you achieve the smile of your dreams!

The content on this blog is not to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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