Dental Implant Frequently Asked Questions
If you’ve just lost a tooth or are scheduled for a tooth extraction, thinking about restoring your smile may be the furthest thing from your mind. However, the sooner you replace missing teeth the better, especially if you’re considering dental implant tooth replacement. Even though dental implants are now widely considered the standard in tooth replacement, many patients do not know much about this treatment option. If you’re interested in learning more, read on to hear the answers to some of the questions we hear most often from patients, or call Ravi Doctor, DDS to schedule an appointment with us in Arlington or Southlake.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a small post that can be crafted from a variety of metals, but is most often made of titanium. When implanted into the gum line, the dental implant post will fuse with the gums and jawbone mimicking the natural function of tooth roots.
How Many Implants Will I need?
The number of implants you need is entirely dependent upon your unique situation. Typically, we recommend the following:
- Single implant post –used to support one dental crown to replace a missing tooth, and in some cases, two dental crowns fused together can also be supported with one implant
- Two implant posts – a fixed bridge restoration can be supported by two implant posts, one at each end, and in some situations, a small partial denture may be supported by two implant posts
- Three or more implant posts – partial and full dentures can be supported by three to six strategically placed dental implants
How Long Does Implant Restoration Take?
Dental implant restorations are placed relatively quickly. The implant placement procedure typically takes only a few hours, but following the surgery, patients will need to wait three to six months to allow the implant to fuse with the jawbone. Then, they will need to visit for two or more additional treatments to create and place the custom tooth replacement prosthetic.
How are Dental Implants Placed?
Dental implants are surgically placed. The procedure itself is relatively simple. A small incision is placed in the gum tissue. Then, the implant post is inserted into the jawbone. A protective cap is placed over the top of your implant post while it fuses with the gums and bone tissue. After the dental implant post is placed, patients will need to allow the implant to fuse with the jawbone, which can take three to six months. Once the implant has fused with the supportive bone tissue, an abutment will be attached to the dental implant, and the replacement tooth or teeth will be anchored to the implant by the abutments.
Will the Implant Surgery Hurt?
The surgical placement itself will not be painful. Our team will fully numb your mouth before we begin the procedure. However, following implant placement, patients will experience some discomfort. Every patient is different, but over the counter pain relievers, like aspirin or Ibuprofen, or cold compresses should be adequate to relieve pain. If you experience pain or discomfort that cannot be relieved with over the counter medications or ice packs, let our team know right away. You may be experiencing a complication that needs to be addressed.
What Causes Dental Implant Failure?
There are a wide range of reasons that patients experience dental implant failure including:
- Not following at-home care instructions
- Chewing hard or tacky foods too soon after placement
- Loading the replacement tooth or teeth before the implant has fused with the jawbone
- Improper dental implant placement
Will I Need Bone or Gum Tissue Grafts?
You may. Bone and soft tissue grafts are preparatory procedures necessary for patients who do not have adequate supportive structures available to support the implant post. These procedures make it possible for patients who would otherwise not be candidates for implant supported tooth replacement to receive this advanced tooth replacement solution.
How Much do Implants Cost?
The cost of dental implants varies widely based on the type of implant, material used, difficulty of placement, and other concerns. Typically, a single implant will cost between $600 and $1500 in addition to the cost of your replacement tooth. In most cases, patients receive additional implants at a lower price. While most dental insurance plans do not cover the cost of dental implants, we will utilize your insurance coverage any way we can to offset treatment costs. Our knowledgeable team will also work with you to receive financing when necessary.