Common Questions About Implants
Dental implant surgery is an excellent alternative to bridgework crowns, or ill-fitting and uncomfortable dentures. Given the large number of people that have missing teeth, it isn’t surprising millions of individuals in the U.S. alone have dental implants and this number is growing by 500,000 every year.
If you’re missing teeth, considering dental implants, and starting to look for information, Aspire Implant Centers prepared this dental implant FAQ in Valparaiso, IN to help you get started. Patient education is an integral part of our practice and we want every prospective patient to be informed before making the important decision about restoring their smile.
We encourage you to review this list of frequently asked questions in Valparaiso, IN as a guide to prepare for your complimentary consultation with our prosthodontist Dr. Michael Drone and board-certified surgeon Dr. Timothy W. Surber. Of course, we always welcome calls to our practice if you have additional questions.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a prosthesis used to replace missing teeth made up of three parts—a titanium or ceramic post, an abutment, and the restoration. The post replaces the natural tooth root and once it fuses with your jawbone, delivers a secure and strong support for a single replacement tooth, implant-supported dentures, or full mouth dental implants.
What are implant-supported dentures?
Implant-supported dentures provide many of the benefits associated with dental implants while incorporating the affordability of dentures. This blending of two prosthetic methods eliminates many of the problems associated with traditional dentures such as slipping, clicking, falling out, speech difficulties, ongoing bone loss, and most of the food limitations.
What materials are used for the dental implants?
While titanium implants have a long track record starting in the mid-1960s, zirconia ceramic implants are a newer and more natural, metal-free alternative. Ceramic implants may be an ideal option if you’re allergic or sensitive to titanium, have autoimmune disease or galvanic reactions to metals, or simply don’t want any metal in your body. Both zirconia and titanium are biocompatible materials that integrate with the jawbone to provide a strong and stable foundation for replacement teeth.
What are zygomatic dental implants?
With advanced training and skills, zygomatic implants can be safely placed in patients with poor maxillary bone quality or a lack of bone mass. With zygomatic implants, supplemental procedures such as sinus lifts can be avoided. When zygomatic implants are placed, they’re angled into the zygomatic bone (cheekbone). The dense composition of the cheekbone along with the angulation of far longer implants enables a dental prosthetic to be immediately attached to implants during surgery. While zygomatic implants are a viable option for some patients, this protocol isn’t widely offered because it is more complex and requires extensive training and anatomical knowledge.
What materials are used for the restoration?
Zirconia has been called “ceramic steel” due to its optimum properties for dental use including superior toughness, strength, and fatigue resistance compared to porcelain, in addition to excellent wear properties and biocompatibility. Aesthetically, zirconia has a translucency and color comparable to that of natural teeth. For temporaries and some dentures, we typically mill prosthetics from a high-quality composite resin.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
If you lost a tooth or teeth due to decay, periodontal disease, injury, a failed root canal, or root resorption, you may be a candidate for dental implants. Our team will provide you with recommendations based on a comprehensive exam, digital images, and an assessment of your oral and overall health. Advanced dental implant technology, diligent postoperative care, and regular follow-up appointments help most patients receive dental implants, even if they have preexisting health conditions or bone loss. Dr. Drone and Dr. Surber have the knowledge and skills to resolve these issues to help most patients become good candidates for dental implants.
What is CBCT technology?
During your evaluation, we take a painless, 3D cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) scan of your oral anatomy to identify any oral health issues, reveal bone structure and any areas of low bone density, determine the optimal location for dental implants, and assist in developing your customized treatment plan.
Why are dental implants considered the gold standard tooth replacement solution?
Dental implants are considered the gold standard tooth replacement solution due to their unsurpassed longevity, versatility, superb functional benefits, and beautiful, natural appearance. They can be used to replace a single tooth, many teeth, upper or lower arches, both arches, or to secure dentures.
What is the success rate of dental implants?
Dental implants have achieved a consistently high success rate (95-98%) since their introduction more than 40 years ago. A combination of surgical technology, high-quality materials, clinical experience, long-term professional maintenance, and diligent oral hygiene is required to help ensure the best outcomes.
What causes dental implant failure?
Peri-implantitis and failed integration (osseointegration) with the jawbone are the two primary reasons for failure. Poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease, and smoking are risk factors for peri-implantitis. While this aggressive infection damages the bone around the implant in a similar manner as gum disease impacts natural teeth, it does so more invasively and rapidly. The main reasons for implants not successfully fusing with the jawbone include bone loss without pre-surgical bone grafting, smoking, specific systemic diseases, certain medications, and tooth clenching/grinding (bruxism).
How much does treatment cost?
The cost of dental implants is based on factors including the number of missing teeth and location, type of implant posts and restorative materials, need for preliminary treatments (e.g. bone grafting), practice overhead, and geographic differences. At Aspire Implant Centers, we believe in transparent pricing, eliminate higher costs associated with reliance on outside labs, offer third-party financing through CareCredit® and Lending Club, and accept HSA cards.
How long does treatment take?
Dental implant treatment can range from a few months to over a year. After dental implants are placed, it can take three or more months for implants to integrate with your jawbone. With our innovative TeethXpress protocol, we place dental implants and attach a temporary restoration during the same appointment, which means you don’t have to suffer another day with missing teeth.
What happens after surgery?
We suggest resting for a few days after your surgery. In addition to eating a soft diet for a prescribed length of time, you shouldn’t smoke or chew tobacco. This causes gum disease and recession, which can weaken the dental implant structure. Don’t drink through a straw because this places pressure on your mouth that could dislodge the blood clot over the wound, cause additional bleeding, and delay healing.
What should I do if I experience swelling?
Ice is advised the day of and the day after surgery to help minimize swelling, 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off. Don’t use ice after the second day. You can switch to using moist heat or a heating pad starting the third day after surgery, four to six times a day.
How do I care for dental implants?
Dental implants can be cared for like your natural teeth and require no special maintenance. Generally, brushing twice a day and flossing once a day is adequate. Depending on your restoration, we may recommend a water flosser to more effectively remove food debris.
Do dental implants require dental check-ups?
Regular exams and hygiene appointments are key to the success of your dental implants. Your dental hygienist uses instruments designed specifically to clean around dental implants and remove debris and plaque without harming them. During your exam, your hygienist and dentist will examine gum tissue around your implants to check for inflammation and disease that could lead to failure.
How long do dental implants last?
Dental implants are designed to last for decades and have the potential to last a lifetime! Surgical technology and clinical experience, along with personal health habits ultimately affect the longevity of implants. Choosing a highly experienced team with a track record placing thousands of dental implants goes a long way to achieving successful outcomes.
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