Dental Implants FAQs – Answers to Common Questions
Even though dental implants have been readily available for many decades, many patients are still unaware of the benefits dental implants provide. Typically, patients seek dental implant therapy to replace one or more missing teeth or to stabilize a denture. Dental implants have an advantage to typical bridges in the way that they maintain jawbone and the overall structure of the jaw. It gives a physiological stimulus that will allow your jaw bone to continue its normal function. Educating patients is the purpose of this dental implants FAQ. At our Tampa, FL, (Tampa Bay Area Florida Offices) dental practice, we pride ourselves on patient education.
When you lose teeth, as time goes by, your jaw bone will begin to shrink. This shrinking effect can cause us to look older than we are. However, with dental implant therapy, this atrophy or shrinking will not happen. Dental implants also allow you to continue eating the foods you love. For example, many patients who love to eat nuts, apples, corn on the cob, or steak will have a difficult time doing so with a bridge or a denture that has not been anchored with dental implants.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a threaded screw made of a titanium metal alloy that is very strong and allows for a post to be placed into it; onto which then is placed a cap or crown. Many people think a dental implant is the entire tooth. The implant itself replaces the tooth root. The crown or cap is the other half of the tooth replacement.
Are Dental Implants Painful?
Pain associated with dental implant treatment is typically minimal. The majority of our patients are sedated for their surgery. This twilight sleep allows them to be comfortable and unaware of the surgical procedure being performed. In many cases, our patients don’t even remember being in the office. After surgery, the amount of discomfort experienced typically ranges from mild to moderate and is controlled with appropriate medication that we prescribe.
Why Do People Get Dental Implants?
There are many reasons. Many of our patients come to us with problems of eating and chewing. That would rank first in my book in terms of motivation to see us for tooth replacement.
Typically, we have patients with a few missing teeth, many missing teeth or even all missing teeth for which they wear complete upper and/or lower dentures. This latter group of individuals has the most difficulty eating and chewing food as a result of denture wear.
Many of these people have a diet that consists of very soft foods such as cottage cheese, apple sauce, pudding and Jello.
These soft foods, as you can imagine, are not very satisfying, nor are they nutritionally sound. When treatment is completed, these patients are able to eat and chew food well, which in turn allows them to feel better about themselves. In fact, this is another reason that many patients desire implants. That is to say, they are self conscious of their smile and even their self esteem is compromised as a result. Dental implant reconstruction for many of our patients results in a dramatically improved smile, an increase in self esteem, and the ability to eat and chew food in a much more efficient manner.
How Many Dental Implants Do I Need?
One dental implant can hold one tooth or a number of dental implants together can replace many teeth. To replace one missing tooth, one dental implant is ideal and optimal. However, we have people who have no teeth and wear dentures. For this type of patient, we place as few as three dental implants or as many as seven or eight in a full jaw that then support an entire complement of teeth.
How Many Visits are Necessary for Dental Implant Therapy?
This depends on the extent of the patient’s condition. Usually 1 or 2 visits are necessary to diagnose and formulate a comprehensive dental implant treatment plan. Appropriate record taking is done as well as an implant consultation with the entire team of clinicians that includes the surgeon and the general dentist. Also, a Cone Beam Computerized Tomography scan is taken at the time of your consultation. The CBCT is a sophisticated and essential radiographic tool that is used to evaluate the patient. Then usually one or two surgical procedures are performed, each of them requiring 1 or 2 post operative visits.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Dental implants can last a long time. Although nothing is forever, typically for a patient 45 years or older, dental implants are for life. The actual implant thus can last for a number of years. It is the crown or the cap that undergoes wear similar to tires on a car. As a result, crown replacement is necessary between 10-15 years on average. There are certain disease processes like uncontrolled diabetes that can affect the bone and result in bone loss and implant failure.
What Is the Success Rate of Dental Implants?
The national success rate of dental implants is in the range of 93-96%. Our practice’s success rate now in more than 30 years of private practice with more than 25,000 root form implants is 98%+. We have been able to track a majority of our implant patients throughout the last decades.
Will People Know I Have Dental Implants?
Only with an X-Ray! With the present surgical and prosthetic procedures no one can tell the patient has a dental implant. The implant today allows for tissue and crown integration very well, making this type of restoration a very natural one. There are times when patients become so used to their dental implant and their natural feel that they forget which tooth was replaced.
Will I Be Smiling More with My Dental Implants?
Yes! This is especially true with any dental implant work done in the front of the upper jaw that affects the smile directly. Our patients are happier as a result of having implants and even feel better about themselves as well.
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