People can lose a permanent tooth for a number of reasons, from an injury to the mouth to poor dental hygiene. If you do lose a tooth, it’s essential to replace it sooner rather than later. If you wait too long to replace a missing tooth, you could experience a wide range of consequences, including loss of jawbone strength and an unbalanced facial appearance.
That’s why oral surgeons often recommend replacing missing teeth with dental implants, which are designed to mimic the appearance and function of the real thing. With proper maintenance, they can often replace missing teeth permanently.
You may have some questions for your oral surgeon if he or she suggests this treatment. Always feel free to ask about any and all issues you wish. Part of an oral surgeon’s job involves addressing patient questions and concerns.
In the meantime, the following are some of the more common questions patients have about dental implants. While it’s still important to coordinate with your oral surgeon, the information here could help you better understand the basics of this treatment method.
Why are dental implants superior to other false teeth?
If you are a good candidate for an implant, your oral surgeon may recommend it over other options. For instance, implants are more durable than other tooth replacements, such as bridges, as they are designed to last about as long as natural teeth (with proper care, of course).
Convenience is another reason you may prefer implants over dentures or bridges. Once an implant is permanently installed in your mouth, all you need to do is care for it the same way you care for all your other teeth. There aren’t any extra steps involved, such as removing and cleaning the implant at various times.
Additionally, many patients and oral surgeons feel implants look more natural than other options. This is worth keeping in mind if you wish to improve your appearance after losing one or more teeth.
It’s worth noting that because they’re anchored to the jawbone, dental implants aren’t always the right option to replace missing teeth. If a patient doesn’t have sufficient jawbone strength, the implant won’t have the necessary support (although it can be possible to correct this via bone grafting).
How successful are dental implants?
Implants successfully treat missing teeth (for patients who are good candidates for treatment) the vast majority of the time. Granted, there are instances when a patient’s body may reject the implant due to an allergy, but this is not common. Success rates for dental implant treatment are reported to be between 90 percent and 95 percent.
How long does treatment take?
The amount of time it takes to complete dental implant treatment varies from one patient to the next depending on a wide range of factors.
Typically, an oral surgeon will first assess your needs, then develop a treatment plan tailored specifically for you. The next major step often involves installing the titanium rod that will later be covered by a crown. Once the rod is installed, it needs time to fuse to the jawbone. Patients wear temporary crowns during this period. After enough time has passed, they can complete treatment by replacing the temporary crown with a permanent one designed to match the look and shape of their teeth.
However, treatment doesn’t always follow these basic steps. Maybe a patient doesn’t have sufficient bone strength to support an implant. Their oral surgeon might then recommend bone grafting. This adds another step to the process.
A basic dental implant treatment can last from six to eight months in many cases. That said, the main point to remember is this can vary on a case by case basis. Don’t be deterred if you learn your treatment may take longer than expected.
Is treatment painful?
As with many forms of dental and oral surgery, patients sometimes experience a degree of discomfort after the procedure. This tends to be fairly minor. Most patients are able to address their discomfort with over-the-counter painkillers, and it usually subsides after a few days.
Of course, you can still discuss this topic with your oral surgeon if you’re concerned about pain. He or she may be willing to prescribe stronger medicine if necessary. Either way, the long-term benefits you’ll enjoy from dental implant treatment are worth the minor discomfort you may experience shortly after having an implant installed.