Dental Implant Services
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What are Dental Implants?
When you lose a tooth or have one extracted, it’s necessary to replace it – not only for aesthetic reasons but to prevent your jaw from losing bone. Bone is preserved by the pressure of chewing, so when there’s a space in your gums, the absence of that pressure could lead to jawbone deterioration and the loss of neighboring teeth.
A dental implant is one option for replacing a missing tooth, and if properly cared for, it can last forever. The implant itself is a small metal post that acts as a stand-in for the missing tooth root. It will eventually bond with your natural bone and serve as a strong base for an artificial tooth.
On top of the implant is a connector, also known as an abutment. The abutment connects with and supports the artificial tooth, called a crown. Soon after a dental implant is placed and the crown is attached, it will feel like a natural tooth.
What is the Dental Implant Process?
After the damaged tooth is extracted, you and your dentist can begin the planning stage for implanting the metal post. The dentist will take x-rays to determine if you have enough bone available in your jaw for the implant to be supported. If not, you’ll need a bone graft to create a good supporting base.
The grafted material will help the existing bone to make more cells, but it may take a few months for your jaw to be ready to accept an implant.
Dental Implant Placement
On the day your implant placement is scheduled, your dentist will most likely provide a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable during the procedure. Your dentist will insert the metal implant into your jaw so that it sits slightly above the top of the bone. Then the dentist will then secure your gum tissue over the implant.
You’ll likely experience soreness and some swelling after the surgery, so the dentist may prescribe pain medication. However, most patients manage with over-the-counter medications like Advil or Tylenol. Aftercare instructions will include limited activity, gentle oral care, and a soft food diet for the first 24 hours and up to ten days.
Before the next step can take place, the implant must fuse with your bone in a process called osseointegration. It may take three to six months for this process to be complete. During this time, your dentist will offer a temporary false tooth that can be removed for cleaning and while you sleep.
Placing the Abutment
Your dentist will uncover the implant and attach the abutment that will connect with the crown. You’ll need additional healing time – approximately two weeks – before you can move on to the next step.
Making and Placing the Crown
Once healed, your dentist will make an impression for a custom-made artificial tooth. After the crown has been created, your dentist will attach it to the implant post with a dental screw.
Your dentist will want you to return to the office to make bite adjustments, if needed. But after that, you’ll be able to treat your implanted crown as you would your natural teeth.
What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
As a permanent, fixed solution for missing teeth, dental implants are designed to feel like a natural tooth. They’re much more secure than removable dentures, so you’ll feel more confident while eating and speaking.
But aside from being able to more easily manage your day-to-day life, an implant will stimulate your jawbone and prevent bone loss.
How Do You Care For Dental Implants?
You’ll care for your dental implant just as you would your natural teeth. Brush and floss twice daily, and visit your dentist every six months.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Dental implants are designed to last a lifetime, but occasionally the crown may need to be replaced. Nearly 90% of crowns last five years or more, but more than 50% – and up to 80% – will last 15-20 years.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
The initial investment for a dental implant is more than for non-permanent tooth replacements. But over the long-term, dental implants are cost competitive and will not require the amount of maintenance as some other types of tooth replacements.
Your quality of life should also be a determining factor when considering which tooth replacement is best for you. Dental implants are far superior when it comes to mimicking a natural tooth and will prevent the need for future dental work that would accompany bone loss
Does Insurance Cover Dental Implants?
More insurance companies are covering at least a portion of dental implant costs as they recognize the benefits of this method compared to alternative tooth replacements. Of course, it will depend on the specific insurance company and what level of coverage you have purchased. You may want to ask your insurance company if they’ll provide an allowance that’s equal to what they would pay for a bridge or dentures.
You can also work with our team at Osseo Family Dental to arrange for payment options to make dental implants more affordable for you.
Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Candidates for dental implants are in good general health and free from gum disease. To find out if dental implants are right for you, schedule a consultation with Osseo Family Dental. We’ll conduct a full examination and ask about any medical conditions that may need to be addressed before you can consider dental implants as your solution for missing teeth.