Answers to Commonly Asked Questions
This page is intended to answer some of the questions you may have regarding dental implants.
What are dental implants?
They are fixtures of specialized screws that replace a tooth or teeth in your mouth. Dental implants are made of a medically pure metal called Titanium. The implants are placed in the upper or lower bone that previously was supporting a tooth or teeth. After placement they remain in the bone for 4 to 6 months. During this time they actually fuse to the jawbone and become osseo (bone)integrated. After the appropriate healing time, the implants are uncovered and used to replace one or more missing teeth by fabricating either a crown or crowns as needed, or a removable overdenture prosthesis which will be either screwed into the implants or snap onto them with the support of a metal bar used as a substructure. prosthesis.
How long have implants been used in dentistry?
Dental implants have been available for the past 50 or so years. There are significant differences, however, between the various types of implants that have been used to replace missing teeth. These differences are important since they are directly related to the implants' success rates. The implants currently in use today, OSSEOINTEGRATED IMPLANTS, were originally developed in Sweden by Dr. P.I. Branemark., a Swedish Orthopedist approximately 25-30 years ago. They have been used in the U.S. for the past 15 years or so.
I understand they originated in Sweden? Is there a difference between the different implant manufacturers?
All implants in use in the United States are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Originally, the only system available was the Noblepharma™ Branemark implant. Today, there are numerous implant companies in use on a daily basis. All of these companies are FDA approved and must meet very stringent requirements. Your dental team will choose the system that is best for you and the one that allows them to accomplish your mutual restorative goal.
What are implants made of?
Implants are made of commercially and medically pure Titanium. This is the same metal that has been successfully used in hip implants for many years. It is inert and is not known to cause any type of rejection phenomenon. Dental implants have an 85-95% success rate.
How complicated is the surgery?
Implant surgery is done in primarily in two stages. The first stage involves the placement of the implants into the available jaw bone. The second stage involves the uncovering of the implants after they have integrated (fused). This can be accomplished with minor gum surgery or with a dental laser and is a relatively minor procedure. In most instances, minimal postoperative discomfort is noticed. You may be given appropriate antibiotics and analgesics as needed. Definitive pre and post operative instructions will be given to you at the time of surgery.
Can implants be rejected?
Implants are rarely rejected by the body. This outcome depends upon certain factors such as implant location, amount and quality of bone etc. These factors will be evaluated at the time of your examination. If you have any questions regarding this or any other aspect of the implant process, ask your dentist.
If I lose several teeth, do they each have to be replaced with a separate implant?
No. Although implants simulate the roots of teeth, biomechanically one implant can be used to replace one or more teeth. This will depend upon the mechanical requirements of your chosen prosthesis. At your consultation your dentist will discuss the various treatment alternatives and the type and number of implants that are needed in order to fulfill your treatment objectives.
What about infection and complications?
During the surgery every attempt is made to maintain a sterile working environment. This tends to minimize any potential for postoperative infection. Once the implants are uncovered, it is imperative for you to maintain scrupulous oral hygiene. Success very often depends on your cooperation and homecare efforts.
What types of restorations can be placed on implants?
This depends upon your treatment objectives. This can vary from simple removable prostheses, using the implants for retention, to totally implant supported porcelain fused to metal crowns and bridges. Implant bridges can be either removable or fixed (not removable) depending upon the number of implants. It is now possible to replace single or multiple missing teeth, returning the dentition to a biologically healthy and esthetically pleasing state.
Will I be able to chew and function normally?
Yes. Once your implants have integrated, you should be able to function normally without any unusual sensations. Your chewing ability will depend upon the type of prosthesis you have chosen, and in most instances it will be improved from you may have experienced with conventional dentures.
How long is the entire implant process?
Dental implants take approximately 4 months in the lower jaw and 6 months in the upper arch to integrate into the bone. Once integrated, it takes from a few weeks to several months to complete the restoration depending upon the complexity.
What is the cost?
The cost of implant dentistry is based upon a combination of the surgical phase and the restorative phase. Your total treatment fee will depend upon the number of implants and the complexity of your final restoration. Your dentist will provide you with a detailed treatment plan and the cost involved.
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