What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is today’s premier method of replacing a missing or severely damaged tooth.  Sometimes a tooth can be damaged beyond the point of modern dentistry being able to restore it with reasonable expectations of longevity.  Dental implants are the most natural-looking, long-lasting way of replacing teeth.

How do dental implants work?

There are two basic parts to a tooth: the root and the crown.

The root of a tooth is the supportive structure that is embedded in the bone; the crown of a tooth is the visible part that is above the bone and gums that is actually used for chewing, what most people refer to as “a tooth”.

A dental implant is essentially a replacement for both parts.

Once the implant site is examined to determine that the bone is sufficient to support an implant, the implant is placed in the bone, below the gums, much like the root of the tooth is positioned in the bone.

How do dental implants work?
What are dental implants?
The implant is typically made of titanium or similar material that is very compatible with human bone and soft tissue, whereas the crown is typically made of porcelain shaded to blend in with the shade of natural teeth surrounding the implant crown.  In order to ensure a solid foundation, it is typically recommended that the implant be allowed to integrate with the bone, a process referred to as osseointegration, for a period of approximately three months before placing the crown onto the implant.  Waiting for adequate osseointegration prior to loading the implant is believed to increase the success rate and reduce the likelihood of implant failure.

Are dental implants permanent?

While, strictly speaking, nothing man-made should be considered permanent, dental implants are thought of as definitive treatment for missing teeth and are among the most long-lasting solutions currently available.

Dr. Priscilla Larson of Sky Orthodontics OKC has said, “Patient’s that care for their dental implants in a manner consistent with how they should care for their natural teeth can expect their implants to last considerably longer than bridges or dentures.”

Though studies and statistics vary depending on a large host of variables, most experts agree that the 10-year success rate of dental implants is between 90-99%, giving dental implants an excellent prognosis, especially with proper planning and preparation.  The success of an implant depends on several factors, too many to list all of them here.  But some of the major factors to consider are the bone quality, bone quantity, medications being taken, smoking, and home care in terms of oral hygiene practices.  Even though an implant is a man-made product, it is still of critical importance to keep the site clean of debris and plaque through consistent, daily brushing and flossing.  Lack of oral hygiene can cause bone loss and can cause implant failure.

The success of an implant depends on several factors, too many to list all of them here.  But some of the major factors to consider are the bone quality, bone quantity, medications being taken, smoking, and home care in terms of oral hygiene practices.  Even though an implant is a man-made product, it is still of critical importance to keep the site clean of debris and plaque through consistent, daily brushing and flossing.  Lack of oral hygiene can cause bone loss and can cause implant failure.

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How safe is a dental implant?

Dental implants are typically made of materials that are very biocompatible, meaning that the human body accepts dental implants and integrates with them.  In fact, the materials used for dental implants are not only accepted by our bodies, but are usually fully integrated into the bone, making them among the safest materials currently used.

Even the procedure itself is considered quite safe.  Though no dental or medical procedure is completely without risk, dental implants are routinely placed and are believed to be the optimal choice for many people who are missing one or more teeth.

Are dental implants permanent?

While, strictly speaking, nothing man-made should be considered permanent, dental implants are thought of as definitive treatment for missing teeth and are among the most long-lasting solutions currently available.  Though studies and statistics vary depending on a large host of variables, most experts agree that the 10-year success rate of dental implants is between 90-99%, giving dental implants an excellent prognosis, especially with proper planning and preparation.  The success of an implant depends on several factors, too many to list all of them here.  But some of the major factors to consider are the bone quality, bone quantity, medications being taken, smoking, and home care in terms of oral hygiene practices.  Even though an implant is a man-made product, it is still of critical importance to keep the site clean of debris and plaque through consistent, daily brushing and flossing.  Lack of oral hygiene can cause bone loss and can cause implant failure.

The success of an implant depends on several factors, too many to list all of them here.  But some of the major factors to consider are the bone quality, bone quantity, medications being taken, smoking, and home care in terms of oral hygiene practices.  Even though an implant is a man-made product, it is still of critical importance to keep the site clean of debris and plaque through consistent, daily brushing and flossing.  Lack of oral hygiene can cause bone loss and can cause implant failure.

 

How safe is a dental implant?

Dental implants are typically made of materials that are very biocompatible, meaning that the human body accepts dental implants and integrates with them.  In fact, the materials used for dental implants are not only accepted by our bodies, but are usually fully integrated into the bone, making them among the safest materials currently used.  Even the procedure itself is considered quite safe.  Though no dental or medical procedure is completely without risk, dental implants are routinely placed and are believed to be the optimal choice for many people who are missing one or more teeth.

Dental implant surgery is one of the safest and most predictable procedures in dentistry when performed by a trained and experienced dental implant dentist. A dental implant is the strongest device available to support replacement teeth, and it allows your replacement teeth to feel, look and work naturally. In addition, dental implants are the only restoration method that stimulates your natural bone underneath the missing tooth.

 

Source: http://www.aaid-implant.org/about-dental-implants/are-dental-implants-safe/

 

What are the risks with dental implants?

Of course, as with even the simplest medical or dental procedure, there are risks involved with dental implants, though statistically, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the implant is placed and later the crown is placed with neither procedure having any complications.  The most common potential complication is temporary soreness during recovery, which is really more of a post-operative consequence rather than a risk or complication.  It’s not uncommon, after all, to have some degree of mild soreness after any dental procedure. In some cases, the procedure could result in prolonged or permanent numbness.  In other cases, a patient may experience failure of the implant.  That said, and because the risks are very real and because every procedure is a unique event, the results of which have nothing to do with the results of previous procedures on different patients, it is important for each patient to carefully consider all potential complications.  So, just to be clear and complete, below is an excerpt from an implant treatment consent form (modified for contextual grammar):

In some cases, the procedure could result in prolonged or permanent numbness.  In other cases, a patient may experience failure of the implant.  That said, and because the risks are very real and because every procedure is a unique event, the results of which have nothing to do with the results of previous procedures on different patients, it is important for each patient to carefully consider all potential complications.  So, just to be clear and complete, below is an excerpt from an implant treatment consent form (modified for contextual grammar):

Complications may result from any kind of surgery, sedation, and local anesthesia which include but are not limited to post-surgical infection, bleeding, swelling, pain, facial discoloration, transient but on occasion permanent numbness of the jaw, lip, tongue, teeth, chin, or gum, jaw joint injuries or associated muscle spasm, transient but on occasion permanently increased tooth looseness, tooth sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods, shrinkage of the gum upon healing resulting in elongation of some teeth and greater spaces between some teeth, cracking or bruising of the corners of the mouth, restricted ability to open the mouth for several days or weeks, adverse impact on speech, allergic reactions, and accidental swallowing of foreign matter.  There is no method that will accurately predict or evaluate the outcome of any surgery.There may be a need for a second procedure if the initial surgery is not entirely successful.  In addition, the success of surgery can be affected by medical conditions, dietary and nutritional problems, use of tobacco products such as smoking or chewing tobacco, alcohol consumption, clenching and grinding of the teeth, inadequate oral hygiene, and medications that a patient may be taking.

There may be a need for a second procedure if the initial surgery is not entirely successful.  In addition, the success of surgery can be affected by medical conditions, dietary and nutritional problems, use of tobacco products such as smoking or chewing tobacco, alcohol consumption, clenching and grinding of the teeth, inadequate oral hygiene, and medications that a patient may be taking.Unforeseen conditions may call for a modification or change from the anticipated surgical plan.  These may include, but are not limited to (1) extraction of the hopeless teeth to enhance healing of adjacent teeth, (2) removal of a hopeless root of a multi-rooted tooth so as to preserve the tooth, or (3) termination of the procedure prior to completion of all of the surgery originally outlined.

Unforeseen conditions may call for a modification or change from the anticipated surgical plan.  These may include, but are not limited to (1) extraction of the hopeless teeth to enhance healing of adjacent teeth, (2) removal of a hopeless root of a multi-rooted tooth so as to preserve the tooth, or (3) termination of the procedure prior to completion of all of the surgery originally outlined.

No guarantee, warranty, or assurance is given to that the proposed treatment will be successful.  In most cases, treatment should provide benefit in reducing the cause of the originating condition and should produce healing which will help keep teeth.  Due to individual patient’s differences, however, no dentist can predict the absolute certainty of success.  There exists the risk of failure, relapse, additional treatment, or worsening of the original condition, including the possible loss of certain teeth, despite the best of care.

Like any surgery, dental implant surgery poses some health risks. Problems are rare, though, and when they do occur they’re usually minor and easily treated. Risks include:

 

  • Infection at the implant site.
  • Injury or damage to surrounding structures, such as other teeth or blood vessels.
  • Nerve damage, which can cause pain, numbness or tingling in your natural teeth, gums, lips or chin.
  • Sinus problems, when dental implants placed in the upper jaw protrude into one of your sinus cavities.

 

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/dental-implant-surgery/details/risks/cmc-20245747

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How is a dental implant placed?

Carefully, as all dental procedures should be done.  An implant consultation is required to determine if the area with the missing tooth is an acceptable site for a dental implant and if the patient is a good candidate for an implant.  Certain medical conditions or bony defects or anomalies could prohibit a patient from being an ideal candidate for a dental implant.

After proper planning and preparation, which may include imaging, bone assessment, and analysis of anatomic factors such as the location of blood vessels and nerve canals, it can be determined if the site is ready to accept the dental implant.  In some cases, a bone graft may be required prior to initiating the actual placement of the implant.  In any case, once the area is ready to receive an implant, the procedure can be started.

After answering any last-minute questions the patient may have and making sure the patient is comfortable proceeding, we will start the procedure by getting the patient numb with local anesthetic, just like for a filling or a crown.  There is usually no need for anything more extensive than local anesthetic.  Once the patient is numb, a small incision is made into the gums, the implant is placed into the bone, and suture are used to reposition the gums back in place.  There is a follow-up appointment approximately 14 days after the procedure during which the implant site is examined and the sutures are removed.

After placement of a dental implant, it is generally best to wait approximately three months for the implant to fully integrate into the bone, a process called osseointegration.  Follow-up appointments may be scheduled throughout the three-month period to assess the healing process.  Once fully integrated, the dental implant is ready to receive a crown.  An impression of the site is taken and the crown is fabricated. The crown attaches to the implant by way of an abutment, which is, in many cases, made specific for an individual patient for a custom fit.  A final appointment is arranged to deliver the crown once it is returned from the lab.

 

Are dental implants painful to have done?

This is a great question.  A lot of people are intimidated by the word ‘implant’ because they assume a dental implant involves a long, drawn-out, potentially painful procedure.  That’s a complete misconception.  In fact, many patients are pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the procedure can be completed.  Because the area is numbed prior to placing a dental implant, the procedure itself should not be painful.  The local anesthetic used is the same as that used during a filling or a crown procedure, and the discomfort during the procedure is generally about the same.

Most single-implant procedures take less than an hour, start to finish, and that’s including taking a few images along the way for documentation.  There is no way to determine the amount of discomfort a particular person will experience, but generally speaking having a dental implant placed is no more painful than getting a filling, and is sometimes even less so.

 

After the procedure

Whether you have dental implant surgery in one stage or multiple stages, you may experience some of the typical discomforts associated with any type of dental surgery, such as:

 

  • Swelling of your gums and face
  • Bruising of your skin and gums
  • Pain at the implant site
  • Minor bleeding

 

If swelling, discomfort or any other problem gets worse in the days after surgery, contact your oral surgeon. You may need pain medications or antibiotics.

 

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/dental-implant-surgery/details/what-you-can-expect/rec-20245754

 

How does it feel to have a dental implant?

Because our team takes great care to ensure that our patients are comfortable before and throughout the procedure, we’ve found that the majority of patients are pleasantly surprised with the comfort level and the overall results of having a dental implant placed.  While the placement of a dental implant is technically considered a surgical procedure, and therefor may result in some soreness, swelling, bruising, or general tenderness, the average patient is perfectly comfortable returning to work and normal activities the next day.

Being well-informed is the key, and we do our very best to give our patients plenty of information and discuss anticipated outcomes during our consultation which takes place prior to scheduling for the actual placement of a dental implant.  While a dental implant is a non-vital material and proprioception may vary slightly from that of a natural tooth, as far as the appearance, functionality, and fit of the final prosthesis, a dental implant is expected to function and carry the load of a normal, natural tooth.  Most people continue with activities without lasting negative impact on their lifestyle in any notable fashion.

 

What is the recovery time for dental implants?

Once a dental implant is placed, recovery is normally fast and easy. The majority of people return to work and normal activity the very next day. Most people experience only a mild sensation for a day or two following the procedure. There may be mild discomfort of the gums while they heal before sutures are removed.

After a dental implant is placed, there is a period of approximately three months during which osseointegration takes place. It is generally recommended that the dental implant not be asked to support the load of chewing until adequate osseointegration is achieved. This means we generally advise waiting for the entire three months before placing a crown on the dental implant.

However, the implant is covered during this time with a healing abutment which prevents food particles and other debris from entering the implant and most patients do not experience any sensation or discomfort beyond the first week or so, and even during that initial time period most people don’t really notice the implant at all.

 

Do you need anesthesia for a dental implant?

Dental implants are usually placed using local anesthetic. Getting a dental implant involves placing the implant apparatus into bone. While the word ‘need’ is a little strong, it is highly recommended that local anesthetic be applied to the area during the procedure. There is typically no need for general anesthesia (being put to sleep).

While general anesthesia is available, in general, it is better to avoid it unless truly necessary. The local anesthetic typically used for placing a dental implant is the same as would be used for a filling, a crown, or other routine dental procedure.

 

What are the side effects of dental implants?

Though dental implant surgery is minimally invasive, there is always risk of side effects, as with any surgical procedure, and patients should be familiar with some of the most common ones. If experienced at all, in most cases, the side effects resolve within a week or so. Nevertheless, it is important for patients to expect:

  • Pain – Local anesthetic is used to keep the patient comfortable during the procedure. After the local anesthetic wears off, however, the patient may feel soreness and tenderness in the gums around the dental implant site. Sometimes, the symptoms may go beyond the gums and the patient may experience pain in the bone or face. The pain is usually relatively mild and resolves on its own, but can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medication which is normally more than sufficient. We typically recommend ibuprofen unless there is a medical reason a particular patient should avoid it. We usually advise aspirin-free medication since aspirin can act as a blood thinner, so taking aspirin can increase bleeding. Be sure to check with your doctor directly before using any form of medication, including over-the-counter medication.
  • Swelling – Our bodies are designed to promote swelling as a natural first response to trauma and as such, swelling can be thought of as part of our body’s initial protection and healing mechanism. That means patients should expect some swelling around the gums or facial structures near the site where a dental implant is placed. Most of the time the swelling goes away on its own, but sometimes patients use ice packs to help.
  • Bruising – As with swelling, bruising is very natural when our body undergoes an invasive procedure. It is likely that internal bruising may not be visible but may cause tenderness. Sometimes visible bruising occurs on the lips, cheeks, chin, or neck. This should cause no alarm and will likely resolve on its own in time.

As stated, most of these common side effects resolve on their own quite a bit without professional intervention and within a reasonable amount of time. Any prolonged, enhanced, or extensive symptoms should be immediately reported to your dentist as severe side effects could mean that there is an infection or other complication that does require professional intervention.

 

How much does it cost to do tooth implant? Are Implants expensive?

The cost of a dental implant is a common question. And it’s a tough question to answer without a proper consultation and evaluation. There are too many factors involved to give a simple answer that would apply to everyone across the board. Every individual patient treatment plan is different in terms of cost because there are variations regarding number of appointments required and the procedures that are needed.

For instance, a person may need a bone graft, a sinus lift, or both. Other procedures may also be needed in order to ensure successful placement of a dental implant. That being said, a consultation is easy to schedule, during which a straight-forward answer is simple to give. Just to get into the right ballpark, at the time of this writing, a dental implant together with an implant-supported crown may cost up to $3,500 to $6,500 per tooth, depending on what procedures are needed.

We are always happy to consult with a patient and to consider individual needs and to explain how these needs factor into pricing. Bone augmentation (grafting), soft tissue management, a custom abutment, a provisional crown, and many more variables are critical factors to consider. And that means that if you call a bargain-basement dental office to get a quote over the phone without even having a consultation, you should take that conversation with a huge grain of salt. A price that sounds too good to be true usually is, and a one-size-fits-all approach to healthcare is almost never the right answer.

Please be careful. It’s very easy to have a consultation and there is no obligation to move forward with treatment until you are perfectly comfortable doing so. And that means being fully informed about personalized treatments options, anticipated number of appointments, as well as estimated costs.

The investment you make into a dental implant is an investment in yourself, in your quality of life, and in the enjoyment of the foods and activities you’ve come to love. Dental implants are much more natural looking and comfortable than other tooth-replacement options such as dentures or bridges. The overwhelming majority of patients appreciate dental implants and say that they give much higher long-term satisfaction compared to other available treatment options.

Also, remember that the various steps required for a dental implant are spaced out over a few months, meaning payments may potentially be scheduled accordingly.

 

How much is a full set of teeth implants? (Full Mouth)

Many people do their research and find out how much a single implant would cost them and then make the mistake of simply multiplying by 28 and assuming that is what it would cost to reconstruct their entire mouth.  The fact is that every case is different and there are far too many treatment options available today to simply give a generic quote that would apply to every single person.

The only way to have any accuracy in an estimated cost for a full mouth reconstruction with dental implants is to have a consultation and to thoroughly analyze the particular needs and expectations of an individual patient.  You would be well-advised to take caution if presented with a flat quote without a consultation, as it may mean that you are overpaying.  Just to name a few of the options available, a person with no teeth (or none that can be saved or treated other than by extraction) may consider individual implants throughout the entire mouth, a series of implant-supported bridges, or implant-supported overdentures.

Many people are now enjoying what is commonly referred to as “All-on-4” treatment, an elegant solution that creates an implant-based foundation to support a customized, highly durable prosthesis that attaches to the implants and remains securely in the mouth indefinitely and does not cover the palate as do traditional dentures.  Each of these treatment options have unique pros and cons, risks and benefits and, consequently, lead to a wide variation in fees.

 

Are tooth implants covered by insurance?

Dental implants are among the most predictable and successful dental surgical procedures and are preferred by most patients above other tooth-replacement options such as dentures or bridges.  Because of the long-term benefits to the oral health of the patient, more and more dental insurance plans are starting to cover dental implant placement and restoration.

That said, dental insurance plans vary greatly in what procedures they cover, how much they cover, and annual limits to coverage.  Your insurance plan is an agreement between you and your insurance company and does not directly involve your dentist.  That means your dentist does not and cannot realistically understand every detail of every such agreement.

It is, therefore, important for each patient to fully understand their individual agreement between them and the dental insurance company.  The timing of the dental implant process can also work to the advantage of the patient because the process involves a few steps, these steps being spaced out over a few months, meaning payments may potentially be scheduled accordingly.

 

What is a bone graft for dental implants?

The success of an implant depends upon proper integration between the implant and bone.  That means there needs to be sufficient bone at the site where the implant is to be placed.  Sometimes, there is a bone deficiency in the area where a patient would like to have an implant.

Simply put, a bone graft for a dental implant is an attempt to make bone grow in the site of the implant in order to ensure that there is adequate quantity and quality of bone to properly support the implant and to handle the load of a functional prosthesis.  If it is determined that the area is a good candidate site for a bone graft, a bone grafting material is placed under the gums, normally in or on top of the existing bone.  If a tooth or root is to be extracted prior to placing the impant, the bone grafting material can sometimes be placed in the extraction site at the same time as the extraction.

Regardless of when it is placed, the bone grafting material designed to encourage bone to form and grow in the area. This process is dependent upon natural processes of the body and normally takes a few months.  Once the bone graft is complete and the bone is solid and sound, it is possible to proceed with placing the dental implant.

 

Why is a bone graft needed for a dental implant?

What is the failure rate of dental implants?

No matter how carefully a dental implant procedure, or any dental procedure, for that matter, is planned and executed, there is always a chance for failure.  The human body is simply too complex and the procedure involves too many factors to be able to promise success in every case.

The success rate of dental implants is measured and reported in several studies and the conclusion reached by each study varies according to particular elements of each study.  In general, most studies conclude that the 10-year success rate for dental implants is roughly in the range of 90-99%.  As arithmetic may suggest, that means the failure rate is somewhere roughly close to approximately 5% +/-.

It is important to note the difference between failure of an implant and failure of an implant-supported crown, two separate pieces which must be considered individually.  Dental implant failure normally refers to a scenario that requires the removal of the implant body from the bone, whereas a broken crown simply requires a new crown without any further surgical treatment.

 

What are the signs of dental implant failure?

Dental implant failure is most commonly accompanied with one or more of symptoms such as pain, swelling, inflammation, drainage (pus), or a loose or mobile implant.  It does not necessarily indicate failure if one or more of these symptoms are present during the first few days or weeks immediately after placement of the implant.  That could simply be part of normal healing and recovery.  However, an immediate consultation should be sought if one or more symptom arises well after the implant is placed, fully integrated, and healed.

 

What causes infection after dental implants?

A dental implant requires diligent hygiene and daily homecare including brushing and flossing much like a natural tooth.  Dental implants can collect plaque and bacteria just like a natural tooth. While an implant comprises man-made materials and therefore cannot decay or get cavities like natural teeth, the gums and bone around an implant can certainly suffer from poor hygiene and general lack of maintenance.

Infections around a dental implant can be caused by any number of factors such as poor oral hygiene, smoking tobacco, malocclusion (a bad bite), clenching or grinding, diabetes, or a compromised immune system.  In rare cases, a patient may even be allergic to the material out of which the implant is made.

 

What is Implantitis?

Implantitis, or more accurately, peri-implantitis, is an irritation or swelling around an implant, usually caused by infection.  An infection around an implant can cause symptoms such as pain, swelling, bleeding, throbbing, drainage (exudate such as pus), loosening or mobility of the implant, bad taste, bad breath, or puffy gums.

Left untreated, peri-implantitis, just like any form of periodontal disease, can be quite damaging and can cause a dental implant to fail or even cause damage to adjacent teeth or bone.  In fact, if overlooked for long enough, such an infection can lead to systemic health problems, even including problems with the heart or other organs.

Therefore, it is important to report any of these symptoms to your dentist right away and have the area examined.  If treatment is needed, potential treatment options may include a localized dental cleaning, antibiotic or antimicrobial therapy, decontamination of the implant surface, or rinsing with a professional type of solution.

Contact Burke Dental if you have any questions!

If you want to replace missing tooth or teeth with a more secure, longer-term solution, we encourage you to learn more about dental implants. Our Staff at Burke Dental are happy to answer your questions and provide you with full information about this option that many people are choosing. Call us today at (703) 978-6000 or click the button below to schedule a consultation.

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