About Dental Implants
A conservative, low cost tooth replacement option
- What are dental implants?
Implants are fixtures that are placed into and fuse with the bone of the jaw. The highly reliable fixtures we use today are the result of years of development. They can be conservatively placed with minimal alteration of the existing jawbone. Replacement teeth are then attached to the implants.
- Why consider an implant?
When teeth are lost, there is often change in appearance and a decrease in a person's ability to chew or speak. Single teeth can be replaced with an implant, thereby sparing the adjacent teeth from being altered to affix a conventional bridge. Even with well-made dentures, some people cannot chew, speak or laugh without dislodging their dentures. Others develop sore spots where loose dentures rub against tissue. Implants improve the stability and retention of dentures significantly. It is possible with implants to eliminate dentures completely and return to the improved function of full mouth crown and bridgework. With implants, people with partial dentures have the option of a stable fixed bridge.
Anyone healthy enough to have a tooth extracted is probably healthy enough to receive an implant.
- What is the procedure like?
Many implants are as simple as having a tooth extracted. The placement of an implant is a minor surgical operation. It requires an incision in the gum and the placement of a fixture in the bone. The incision is then closed with sutures. Your oral surgeon may provide anesthesia options of nitrous oxide (laughing gas), intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia to make the procedure more relaxing for you. The operation takes from 30 to 90 minutes, depending upon the complexity of the procedure.
Once the surgery is complete, it takes three to four months for the implanted fixture to fuse to the bone. In most cases, you can wear your own denture, or temporary replacement tooth, during the healing period so there is little disruption of business or social activities. After the healing period, the surgeon will uncover the implant and your dentist will attach the final denture, bridge, or false tooth.
- What should I expect after the operation?
Detailed instructions and medications for home care will be given to you by the oral surgeon to speed your recovery and minimize difficulties. You can expect some swelling and discomfort. Some people experience stiffness of their jaw and slight discoloration of the skin. Your surgeon will detail other potential complications.
- How long will an implant last?
Most implants in our use have a 98% success, measured at eleven years. We hope for 15 to 25 years. The most important factor is how well you take care of the implant. If you follow the oral hygiene program recommended by your dentist, it can last as long as other conventional dental restorations, such as crowns and bridges. Research shows that there is little chance the implant will be lost once it has fused to the bone. The secret to implant longevity is good regular care.
- What is the expense?
We charge $1,000 per implant. The restoration or denture is a separate charge from your dentist.