Do you have one or more missing teeth? Are you looking for a tooth replacement option? Have you been considering having dental implants placed? If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are you have some questions of your own. Even if you have heard of dental implants, there is still probably a lot you don’t know yet. Luckily you are not alone in having questions. In fact, here are five of the most common questions regarding dental implants:
What do dental implants look like?
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots, which means that they are placed in the jawbone and are not visible. With that being said, however, a dental implant is a small cylindrical screw with a hollow center. The implant will screw into the jawbone, while the abutment (connector) will screw into the implant. The abutment is a small metal post that connects the implant to the dental prosthetic being used. After having dental implants placed, you may see the abutment sticking out from your gums, however they are usually covered with a crown, bridge, or denture.
Who should get dental implants?
Dental implants are ideal for people who already have missing teeth or people who need to have their teeth extracted due to severe damage or decay. Dental implants can be used to replace one tooth, multiple teeth, or an entire mouthful of teeth depending on the dental prosthetic they are used to support. However, the one restriction associated with dental implants is bone mass. In order for the implant to fuse with the surrounding bone, there needs to be enough bone mass present. Otherwise the implant will fail to fuse, which can lead to loose implants or implants that fall out. To make sure you have adequate bone mass for dental implants, your dentist will perform dental x-rays. If you don’t have enough bone mass for dental implants, supplemental procedures such as a bone graft or sinus lift may be necessary.
How do dental implants work?
As mentioned above, dental implants are artificial tooth roots. Like natural tooth roots, dental implants reside in the jawbone, act as an anchor, and provide necessary stimulation to the jawbone in order to preserve bone mass. Other tooth replacement options, like bridges or dentures, only restore the visible portion of the tooth structure, which means that the jawbone is no longer stimulated while chewing. As a result, the body leeches bone mass from the jaw and redistributes it to other areas of the body. This is known as bone resorption and over time it will change the structure of your face. Bone resorption is why bridges and dentures will eventually need to be replaced since they will no longer fit properly. Since dental implants preserve jawbone mass, they will also maintain your facial structure.
Are dental implants painful?
Many people make the assumption that getting dental implants must be painful. While it is true that you can expect to feel some minor discomfort immediately after surgery, having dental implants placed is actually not as painful as you would think. In fact, many patients are pleasantly surprised after having implants placed. The reason why dental implants generally do not cause a lot of pain is because they are placed in an area where nerves are sparse. This means there are less nerves sending pain signals to the brain. In most cases, patients only experience minor discomfort for the first few days following surgery.
Can dental implants be done in one day?
Yes dental implants can be done in one day. This is known as “teeth in a day” or “immediate load implants”. During a same day dental implant appointment, your dentist will first begin by placing the needed implants and attaching the connector abutments. At this point, your dentist will then load the implants with the desired dental prosthetic. This ultimately means you will leave your dentist’s office with new teeth. In some cases, dental implants can also be placed during the same procedure as tooth extractions. However, in order to be a candidate for same day implants, you need to have a certain amount of bone mass present to support the implant.