“Are dental implants right for me?”
DENTAL IMPLANTS FAQ: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What is an implant?
A: An implant is the best way in today's dentistry to replace a missing tooth in your mouth. Implants are artificial roots — usually made of titanium — and crowns made of beautiful, natural-looking ceramic.
Q: Is the surgery to place a dental implant painful?
A: No, it is usually done under local anesthesia in our office, in just the same way as a filling. Once the anesthesia takes effect, you shouldn’t feel anything.
Q: What can I expect after the anesthesia wears off?
A: Generally there are no open wounds with implant surgery so healing is quite quick and un-eventful. You can expect some minor discomfort, but that can generally be managed with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or similar medication in prescription strength.
Q: How long does it take to place dental implants?
A: It depends on the number and location of the implants, but simple, uncomplicated dental implant placement usually takes less than an hour.
Q: What about eating after implant surgery?
A: It’s generally important to avoid exposing any recent surgical site in the mouth to food if possible. A good rule of thumb is to eat soft, nutritious foods and keep well hydrated. Your dentist will recommend a diet and instructions on how to care for your new implants during healing.
Q: How long does healing and construction of the replacement teeth (implant crowns) take?
A: The entire process usually takes about two to nine months, depending on your treatment plan. There are two main phases: First the implants have to heal by fusing to the bone, and then the tooth replacement restorations have to be fabricated and attached.
Q: How long do dental implants last?
A: Once a dental implant has fused to the bone successfully and it is functional, it should last many years if cared for properly. Many implants have now been in place for more than 40 years.
Q: Can my body reject a dental implant, and if so what then?
A: Rejection of dental implants because of an allergy to titanium is extraordinarily rare, but it can happen. Occasionally an implant also doesn’t “take” or fuse to the bone the first time, either because it develops a capsule of fibrous tissue around it instead of fusing to the bone, or it gets infected. In either case it is simply removed and the site is allowed to heal. Then your surgeon can place another implant, which will integrate with the bone normally.
Q: Are dental implants expensive?
A: Expense is always relative. For example, dental implants may be a little more expensive than fixed bridgework to place initially, but since they last so much longer, over time they are much more cost-effective.
Q: Are dental implants covered by insurance?
A: Like most elective procedures, dental implants are not covered by most dental insurance plans if there is a cheaper alternative. As they become more commonplace, however, some plans are covering them. Your dentist may offer payment plan options to ensure you get the best treatment available to replace missing teeth, regardless of your insurance coverage.