Dental Implant FAQ's

What is a Dental Implant?

Implants are a tooth replacement option that involves placing a new “root” into the bone of your jaw. Once this titanium “root” has fused with your bone, it can be used to support a crown, bridge or denture. These implants can also be used to replace partials and other forms of dentures. The success rate for dental implants is extremely high, and is due in part to the fact that root-form implants are made of biocompatible material, titanium. Because titanium is accepted so well by the human body, it is also used for orthopedic implants, such as hip and knee replacements. Dental implants have now become the standard for replacing missing teeth, because they look and function like your natural teeth and have such a high success rate.

The Benefits of Dental Implants

  • Dental implants help stop face changing bone loss.
  • For many people, dental implants will handle a lifetime of use.
  • Implant-supported teeth won’t move or pop out.

Why are dental implants the best option?

Dental implants can last a lifetime, unlike bridges, partials and dentures, which may need to be replaced several times. Unlike bridges, partials and dentures, a dental implant replaces the lost root of the tooth, which will help prevent jaw bone loss that can occur with bridges, partials and dentures. The loss of tooth roots can cause a change of the smile and contours of the face over time.

A bridge, once the common single tooth replacement method, requires the alteration of each neighboring healthy tooth, which is cut down and shaped to accept a crown. With dental implant treatment, there is no compromise to adjacent teeth. The lost root and crown is replaced leaving neighboring teeth in place and untouched. Removable partials connect to healthy teeth by clasps. Partials must be removed for proper cleaning and may need to be replaced periodically. A partial clasp connected to healthy teeth will create tooth stress and can loosen the healthy teeth over time. Full arch dentures and partials have the added disadvantage of possibly accelerating the bone resorption process, which, among other things, causes the appearance of premature aging.

Am I a candidate for dental implant treatment?

A specialist in the placement of dental implants would make that determination based on certain criteria which must be met.

You are NEVER too old for dental implants.

Leonard Linkow invented the first metal implant over fifty years ago as a solution for older patients who were missing all of their teeth. Your doctor will consider your overall health, but there is generally no upper age limit for dental implant treatment. Many patients well into their nineties have had dental implant treatment without difficulty.

How long do dental implants last?

Dental implants are designed to be permanent. Proper home care and regular dental check-up visits are key to ensure the success and longevity of every implant placed. Dental implant treatment is one of the most successful procedures in the dental field with documented success rates over 95%.

Can a dental implant work with existing dentures?

Every patient's situation is unique; however, from time-to-time we can use an existing denture by altering the denture to accommodate the necessary denture attachments to fit the implants.

What is the difference between a traditional crown and bridge and an implant supported crown and bridge?

There are several differences.

  1. A dental implant preserves jaw bone.
  2. We do not have to destroy neighboring healthy teeth by grinding down the teeth to pegs in order to accept a crown.
  3. Implants last longer than traditional crown and bridge. Implants are designed to last a lifetime, while a traditional crown and bridge is projected to last approximately 10 years and may need to be replaced.

When should a tooth be extracted and replaced with a Dental Implant?

There are times when it makes sense to extract a tooth and replace it with a dental implant.

  1. If a natural tooth is failing or about to fail.
  2. If a tooth has severe periodontal disease (gum disease) that has eroded the bone that supports teeth. Sometimes in these cases, it is preferable to extract the teeth; eliminate the disease and infection and replace the teeth with a dental implant.
  3. When a tooth has had a root canal (nerves have been removed from the tooth) leaving the tooth brittle and susceptible to fracture. Teeth with severe fractures are usually extracted and are ideal candidates for replacement with dental implant treatment.

How will my teeth look and feel?

A single tooth supported by an implant is like turning back the clock of time. The implant replaces the natural tooth root so the jaw bone and supportive gum tissue is as vibrant as ever. Multiple single implants may support single teeth or an implant supported bridge. Dental implants may also support the base for full arch dentures to attach to, which provides the look, feel and function of natural teeth. Dental implant treatment is the only tooth replacement solution that prevents jaw bone resorption, which can cause your smile to look unnatural and in some cases, change your facial appearance. The long term esthetics of dental implants are superior to any other treatment option.

Is Having A Dental Implant Placed Painful?

Most patients report that the discomfort is far less than they expected. Of course, you are anesthetized during the procedure, and although everyone’s pain tolerance is different, most patients are very comfortable simply taking over-the-counter analgesics after the procedure.

The amount of time that has passed following a tooth loss will affect the cost of a dental implant.

Teeth lost years earlier have likely produced bone loss degrading the jaw bone so that regenerative pre-treatments might be necessary. Before dental implant surgery can commence, bone grafting or a sinus lift may be required to restore the root's anchor bone thickness and density enough to support a dental implant.