When teeth become damaged, the problem can often be corrected through routine dental treatment like fillings, root canals and extractions. But what if a tooth is lost, broken beyond repair or needs to be extracted, leaving a hole where it used to be?
Many dentists will recommend that you consider dental implants. According to Mer Bleue Dental, an Orleans dental clinic that provides family dental care and treatment, when a person loses one or more of their teeth, tooth replacement becomes a very serious and time-sensitive issue. And like many dental offices, their specialists are experienced in dental implant placement and restoration.
But what are implants?
Well, they’re essentially artificial tooth roots threaded like screws that are placed in your jawbone. The intention is for them to bond with your natural bone, providing a strong base for supporting one or more artificial teeth, called crowns. Crowns are generally made of porcelain and are custom-made to match your natural teeth and fit your mouth. A connector called an abutment is positioned on top of the implant to hold and support your crowns.
Depending on a person’s needs, they could be fitted with one or even several implants. The objective is to replace missing teeth that look and feel like the real thing.
If you’ve been considering getting an implant to replace a lost or damaged tooth (or teeth), here are five facts you should be aware of before committing to the procedure.
1. Dental implants are super strong.
This is one reason so many people like having them. While the crowns ideally will look like your natural teeth, the implants themselves are very strong. “Dental implants are made using titanium, which is a biocompatible material,” notes the blog for Smile Esthetics, a dental office in Scottsdale, Arizona. “Once an implant is inserted into the bone, your mouth completely heals around it. This means dental implants are almost as strong as your natural teeth. With implants, you can enjoy the same biting power you used to have with your natural teeth.”
2. Getting implants can take significant time.
With a filling, a root canal or even an extraction, you’re in and out of the chair in an hour or even less time, then you go about your day. With an implant procedure, it usually takes place over a period of months. This is because it’s a multi-step process.
First, the dentist has to insert the implant into the jaw and allow time. It can often take from six to eight months for the implant to fuse with the bone of your jaw. If there’s not enough bone mass in your jaw for this to take place, grafting might be needed to build up the bone using additional material, which can involve more time.
Once the site is prepared, it will take about an hour to install each implant beginning with the abutment. When the implants have settled in, the crowns can be added. If one or more teeth that are being implanted are visible when you open your mouth smile, your dentist can have a “flipper” made. This is a partial appliance that temporarily replaces this missing tooth or teeth until the implant is ready.
3. Costs vary among dentists for a number of reasons.
Often, people know that getting a dental implant can be costly, and that the prices can vary wildly. For example, a single implant might have one cost attached at an Orleans dental clinic like Mer Bleue Dental, but a dentist or periodontist in Toronto or Saskatchewan might charge differently. According to Olympia Benefits’ website, “In Alberta, Canada, you can expect to pay anywhere between $900 to $3000 for a single dental implant. Meanwhile, a full mouth reconstructive dental implant will cost you up to $96,000.”
Costs vary greatly based on the factors involved, including the type of implant, the professional who performs the surgery, the location of the surgery, what implant material is used, and what’s covered by the patient’s dental insurance or health plan.
- Most implant surgery is successful.
While virtually nothing has a perfect record, dental implant surgery is almost always successful. ”The truth,” writes Denise DeBona, DDS, a dentist in Red Bank, New Jersey, “is that dental implant surgery is extremely predictable and successful. Dental implants are placed successfully about 98 percent of the time. That’s an amazing success rate for any procedure.”
While it’s true that there are a few requirements for having dental implants, most people who have enough jawbone to support the implant and are in good to decent health are likely excellent candidates for the procedure.
5. Implant crowns look and act like real teeth.
Many dentists will tell you not to confuse implants with dentures, as they’re not remotely the same. There are many cases when dentures that aren’t properly fitted can be uncomfortable for the wearer, who can find him or herself making several trips to the dentist to get them adjusted. Implants, on the other hand, literally become a permanent part of your mouth, and when the procedure is successful, you shouldn’t even realize that you’re fitted with them as the objective is for them to function naturally. Also, they don’t develop cavities!