27 Mar Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Implants
What Are Dental Implants Exactly?
A dental implant is a titanium screw which sits in the jawbone where a tooth root used to be. While it’s common to refer to a dental implant as the whole restoration, technically it only refers to the titanium screw itself.
The other two parts that make up a dental implant procedure are an abutment and a restoration.
The abutment is a post which sits in the implant with a connection point on top. This connection will look different depending on what the restoration the implant is supporting.
A restoration can be a single dental crown, a bridge, or even a full denture.
What Are Dental Implants Used For?
Dental implants are used to replace one or more missing teeth. A single implant can be effectively used to replace a single missing tooth; two or three can be used to support a bridge; and four or more can be used to support a full denture.
Why Are Dental Implants So Highly Rated?
Dental implants are the closest thing to a natural tooth in terms of look and, more importantly, function. Perhaps the greatest benefit of a dental implant is maintaining the integrity and volume of your jaw bone.
Tissue grows and changes constantly, from the day we’re born till the day we die. When we have teeth extracted, we leave a void in our jawbones where the tooth root used to be. If this void is left, the bone will shrink around it.
This will reshape the jaw, the gum, and eventually your mouth. Teeth on either side of a gap left by a missing tooth can “tip” into the gap, causing complications.
Dental implants restore and maintain the volume of your jaw, allowing it and your mouth to function normally.
Can Anyone Get Dental Implants?
Most people are suitable candidates, but there are serious contraindications that need to be taken into account.
For example, smokers, diabetics, people with severe gum disease, patients with insufficient bone volume, and people with pre-existing conditions that would make them unsuitable candidates for major, non-essential surgery are generally not ideal for dental implants.
Otherwise, if you have a healthy mouth and enough jaw bone to support the implant you’re generally good to go.
How Long Do Implants Last?
Dental implants can last for many decades, upwards of 40 years in many cases. For many people they’ll last the rest of their lives.
Exactly how long they will last, however, will generally depend on the level of care you take, as gum disease and severe periodontitis can compromise the implant.
Do Dental Implants Get Rejected?
Rejection rates of dental implants are very low. Titanium is used because it’s a biocompatible metal, but some very rare instances of titanium allergy are known. Severe gum disease or periodontitis can also result in the implant being rejected.
Are Dental Implants Painful?
You’re under general anesthetic during the procedure itself. Afterwards there is discomfort and pain, which can last 2-5 days. It’s generally treated with over-the-counter pain medication.
Pain will be more severe and longer-lasting depending on how many implants are placed at a time, and how complex the surgery itself will be, but is still widely considered easily manageable.