Dental Implants FAQ
Do you have one or more? If so, you may be a candidate for dental implants. Unlike dentures, dental implants are embedded in the jaw and can help prevent bone loss over time. Dental implants also help you smile with confidence so you can present your best self to the world.
Here’s what else you need to know about the dental implant procedure.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a prosthetic tooth root that’s made out of a titanium alloy. The implant is biocompatible so it’s able to bond to your jawbone and create a solid foundation for an abutment and crown.
As shown in the image above, the crown is what gives you the appearance of a natural tooth. The abutment is the connector piece between the implant and crown.
Am I a Candidate for Dental Implants?
You may be a candidate for dental implants if you have sufficient bone density in your jaw. That way, you’ll have plenty of bone tissue to support the implant. If you don’t have enough bone density, Dr. Jones may recommend that you get a bone graft.
In general, patients who are non-smokers are also preferred over smokers for the dental implant procedure. This is because smoking inhibits the body’s natural healing ability after.
Here’s what one of our patients has to say about his dental implant experience.
Keep in mind that each patient is different. To truly know if you’re a candidate for dental implants, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jones.
What Can I Expect During the Dental Implant Procedure?
If you’re getting one or two implants, your doctor will most likely use local anesthesia with laughing gas. This helps ensure that you remain comfortable, pain-free, and relaxed during the procedure. You’ll also be awake and aware of what is happening.
Once you’re numb and comfortable, your doctor will make an incision along the gums and drill a hole into the underlying bone. Then, the doctor will insert the implant in the jawbone. At this point, we may provide you with a temporary partial denture that you can wear until you receive your permanent dental crown.
Over the course of several months, the implant will fuse to the jawbone. This is a process called osseointegration. During this time, Dr. Jones will monitor your progress to ensure you’re healing as expected.
Once the implant has completely fused to the jawbone, Dr. Jones will place the abutment and crown over top. Together, the implant, abutment, and crown will give you the full function and appearance of a natural tooth.
What Are Alternatives to Dental Implants?
Many patients choose dentures over dental implants because they’re more affordable. But it’s important to remember that the affordability of a procedure will ultimately depend on your budget and dental insurance coverage.
It’s also important to look at how dentures will affect your oral health in the long run. Unlike dental implants, dentures sit on top of the gums and won’t prevent bone loss in the jaw.
This leaves you vulnerable to a condition called facial collapse, which can make wearing dentures difficult or uncomfortable. It can also give your face a sunken appearance.
The other alternative to dental implants is getting a dental bridge. But this procedure can be considered more invasive because it may require us to remove healthy enamel from adjacent teeth.
As shown in the diagram below, a dental bridge contains a prosthetic tooth that’s anchored in place by crowns on both sides. Depending on the patient, these crowns may be anchored by either natural teeth or dental implants.
If we’re placing the crowns on teeth, we’ll have to file down and shape the enamel so the bridge will fit over top. With a dental implant, we wouldn’t have to touch the other teeth in your smile.