FAQs About Dental Implants
Q: What is a Dental Implant?
A: A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is surgically anchored into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place. The benefit of using implants is that they don't rely on neighboring teeth for support and they are permanent and stable.
Q: How do they work?
A:Once the root part of the implant is "bonded" to the bone, it is ready to be used. An artificial tooth is placed directly on top of the implant. In some cases, several implants are placed. Here, the implants are connected to a bridge. A bridge is a number of teeth (usually 3-4) that are bonded together. The two ends connect to the implants. By doing this, many people avoid needing removable dentures at all.
Q: Can anyone receive dental implants?
A: Dr. Chetty will be happy to discuss whether you are a good candidate; however, there are some limitations. You must be in good health and have the proper bone structure and healthy gums for the implant to stay in place. People who are unable to wear dentures may also be good candidates. If you suffer from chronic problems, such as clenching or bruxism, or systemic diseases, such as diabetes, the success rate for implants decreases dramatically. Additionally, people who smoke or drink alcohol may not be good candidates.
Q: What can I expect during this procedure?
A: First, Dr. Chetty performs surgery to anchor the "artificial root" into or on your jaw bone. The procedure is done in our office with local anesthesia. The gum is then secured over the implant, which will remain covered until it fuses with the bone. This usually takes about 3-6 months. The dentist then uncovers the implant and attaches an extension, or post, to the implant. With some implants, the implant and post are a single unit placed in the mouth during the initial surgery. Finally, the dentist makes an artificial tooth, or crown, that is attached to the implant post. It will be as if you never lost your tooth.
Q: How long does the process take?
A: The process can take up to nine months to complete. Each patient heals differently, so times will vary. After the implant and posts are placed surgically, the healing process can take up to six months and the fitting of replacement teeth no more than two months. Sometimes, if a patient has good bone quality, posts can be placed and replacement teeth fitted in one appointment.
Q: What is the success rate of implants?
A: The success rate for implants is over 90%. However, it depends on the tooth's purpose and location in the mouth, as well as the patient's overall health.
Q: How do I care for implants?
A: Poor oral hygiene is a big reason why some implants fail. It is important to floss and brush around the fixtures at least twice a day. Dr. Chetty will give you specific instructions on how to care for your new implants. Additional cleanings of up to four times per year may be necessary to ensure that you retain healthy gums.
Q: What is the cost of implants?
A: Since implants involve surgery and are more involved, they cost more than traditional bridgework. However, some dental procedures and portions of the restoration may be covered by dental and medical insurance policies. Dr. Chetty's team can help you with this process.