In the last few years we have been hearing more and more talk about dental implants. They are reported to employ the newest in dental technology. But are they safe? How much do they cost? Most importantly, how painful are these implants? Here are answers to these and other questions you may have about this procedure.
Why Would I Want Implants?
There are several reasons you may choose to have implants. If you currently have dentures you may have encountered problems with fitting. Loose dentures can cause problems with eating and speaking clearly.
Dental implants are permanent and will not move or cause slurred speech. They also eliminate the need for denture creams or cleaning materials. If you still have several of your own teeth, implants are preferable over bridgework because they will not damage your own teeth.
How Do They Work?
Having a dental implant is more involved that other procedures such as crowns and bridgework. A preliminary meeting with your dental team will determine the best course of treatment for your mouth. The first step is an implant of a small post into the bone socket where you are missing a tooth. The post is usually made of titanium. The bone heals around the implant, taking from 6-12 weeks. Next an abutment is attached to the post. This is another small metal part that will hold the new tooth. The new tooth will be similar to a crown.
How Painful Are They?
If you have had other dental work done you will probably have a similar amount of discomfort. You can have local anesthesia or you may choose general anesthesia if you are worried about the pain. While the implant is healing medications such as Tylenol are usually all you need.
Who Is Eligible For Implants?
Almost anyone can have implants. Your dentist will have to examine your mouth and make sure you have plenty of bone to anchor the implant. Sometimes patients have to have bone grafts to add additional bone to the site of the implant. You also must have healthy gums for the implant to be successful. People with certain diseases such as diabetes are not good candidate for the procedure. Talk to your dentist to get the proper recommendations for your situation.
Are There Any New Technological Advances?
There are several new techniques and inventions in the implant field which improve the success rate. One procedure allows dentures to be placed permanently over only four implants. This helps avoid bone grafts in some cases. Mini implants have been developed that are smaller than the original implants so they are less expensive and easier to place. Recent advancements also allow all work to be done in one day in the ‘Teeth-In-An-Hour’ procedure. New computer programs have made placing implants much easier using more accurate scanning technologies.
As research continues dental implants become more popular and more successful. Permanent implants may be just what you need. Make an appointment with your dentist to discuss your options.