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What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are the optimal treatment for restoring missing teeth without harming additional teeth. They are also able to support dentures and prevent difficulties associated with slipping and shifting of the denture. Restored with high-strength porcelain crowns, bridges, and dentures, implants are surgically placed in the jawbone and mimic the root of the natural tooth preventing bone reduction.

Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

Dental implants can repair issues such as missing or severely decayed teeth. Patients in generally good health with adequate jawbone density are typically candidates for the procedure. Keep in mind, however, that you may not be a good candidate for dental implants based on a few factors.

For example, you may be discouraged from implants if you have certain health issues that could complicate the surgery, or if your jaw is too weak to support your new implant. Your dentist or oral surgeon will determine whether you are a good candidate for dental implants at your initial appointment or consultation.

What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?

Dental implants boast a variety of benefits, including but not limited to:

For these reasons, many patients prefer implants to dentures or bridges. Because they fuse to the jaw and essentially become part of the mouth, implants are able to function and appear more natural than most other solutions.

What Does the Dental Implant Process Entail?

Depending on the dental implant treatment plan, it may take a day, or in some cases a few months, to build and place the tooth replacement. However, the process generally goes as follows.

First, our dentist will take an X-ray to determine the implant placement location. They will surgically place the titanium posts for the implant into the jawbone. Over the next several months, the implant fuses to the jawbone in a process called “osseointegration.” You may be given a temporary restoration to take the tooth’s place during this time.

Once the dental implant is fully integrated, a permanent replacement tooth will be installed on the implant. This custom-designed dental crown or other restoration will be colored and shaped like the rest of your teeth, and should appear and function like a natural part of your mouth.

As this is a surgical procedure, we usually administer sedation. Rest assured our dentists have years of experience practicing sedation dentistry.

What Can I Expect in My Dental Implant Recovery?

After your permanent implant is placed, it will take a couple of days to recover from the surgery. Expect a mild-to-moderate amount of swelling and soreness at the surgical site, which can be managed with prescribed pain medicine and/or over-the-counter medications. You are advised to stick to soft foods during recovery. If any concerns should arise after the procedure, feel free to reach out to us.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

Implants are designed to be a permanent addition to your mouth and should last decades, if not your entire lifetime. There are rare cases in which implants may be unsuccessful, which is why we take the time to ensure patients are good candidates before recommending implant surgery.

Keep in mind that to make your implants last as long as possible, they must be taken care of as though they were natural teeth. This is because while implants themselves cannot decay, they can still be impacted by bacteria that builds in the area. Dental hygiene, such as brushing at least twice daily, flossing, and keeping up with your regular cleanings and exams, is essential to ensure your implants last as long as possible.

How Do I Care For My Dental Implants?

One of the primary benefits of dental implants is that they can be cared for just like your natural teeth. This means committing to a good at-home oral hygiene routine and attending your twice-yearly dental visits. In order to prevent excessive wear on your implant crowns, our dentists also advise against biting into hard or pitted foods, such as ice cubes or cherries. It is also important to not use your teeth as tools for opening packages or envelopes, as this can place unnecessary stress on your restorations.

Are Dental Implants Safe?

When placed by an experienced implant dentist like Dr. Stanworth, dental implants are considered a safe and effective solution to tooth loss. Indeed, there is evidence that dental implants can actually support your long-term health better than many other tooth replacement options. Not only do they allow for a more varied diet, but they also help stimulate the jaw and gum tissues, preventing resorption. That said, dental implants are placed using surgical techniques, and it is important to follow all of your dentist’s aftercare instructions to promote proper healing and minimize infection risks. It is particularly important to avoid smoking cigarettes or using other nicotine products, as this can lead to a higher risk of infection and implant failure.

How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?

The cost of implants depends on factors like the number of teeth that need replacing and the specifics of the procedure. Most insurance plans do not cover implants, but we advise patients to contact their insurance provider to learn about their plan’s benefits. We encourage you to look into the various payment options we offer.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Implants

Does insurance cover dental implants?

Some insurance plans may provide partial coverage for dental implants. You should check with your individual provider to determine whether your plan includes dental implant benefits in advance of your visit. Our office can help you submit the necessary claim paperwork once a treatment plan has been created for you.

Do dental implants hurt?

Patients may experience some swelling and discomfort for the first few days after dental implant surgery, which is generally localized around the incision site(s). However, most patients report that this is quite manageable with pain medication and adequate rest. Once implants heal, they should feel almost exactly like your natural teeth.

What can I eat with dental implants?

For the first few days after implant surgery, patients may be advised to stick to a soft-food diet. This is to enhance your comfort during healing and prevent disruption to the newly placed implant(s). Over the next few months, patients may reincorporate firmer foods, but they should still exercise some caution when chewing around the implant site. Following a successful osseointegration period and the placement of the permanent implant restoration, patients can typically consume any foods they like.

Do dental implants look natural?

Dental implants are designed to look, feel, and function as much like your natural teeth as possible. The crown, bridge, or denture used to top the restoration is custom-fabricated for the individual patient, with the color, shade, shape, and opacity of the replacement tooth or teeth being meticulously matched to the surrounding natural teeth.

At Signature Smiles, our experienced team will thoroughly discuss treatment options to best suit your long-term dental needs. Request an appointment to discuss your dental implant options today.

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