What is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants are small, titanium screws that function like a natural tooth's root. They can be used to replace a single lost tooth or multiple missing teeth in your smile.
A dental implant is surgically placed into your jawbone below your gum line and then bonds with your natural bone in order to serve as an anchor for a dental restoration.
Dental implants can help to prevent surrounding teeth from shifting, resolve bite issues or jaw joint pain, and help restore facial tissues and appearance.
Why Replace Missing Teeth
If you are missing a tooth, the teeth surrounding this gap in your smile may begin to shift out of place and cause issues in the alignment of your teeth. The jaw bone in this area may also begin to deteriorate, causing facial collapse and negatively impacting your ability to eat and speak.
The Dental Implant Procedure
The dental implant procedure requires a dental implant (titanium screw) and a tooth replacement.
Your dentist will start by surgically placing the implant into your jawbone below the tissue of your gums. As this tissue heals, the implant will bond with the bone and attach to your gums.
Once the healing process has been completed (generally between 3 and 6 months after surgery) patients will return to their dental office to finish up the procedure.
At this final appointment, your dentist will attach a tooth replacement, such as a dental crown, bridge or denture, to the implant to create the look and function of a natural tooth.
Dental Implant FAQs
Read the answers to our most frequently asked questions about dental implants at Downtown Dental.
- How long does a dental implant last?
If you care for your implant properly, it can last a lifetime. This includes proper brushing and flossing at home, as well as attending regular hygiene cleanings and exams at your dental office.
The longevity of your dental implant may be influenced by other factors such as nutrition, genetics or the development of dental diseases.
- How do I care for my dental implants?
You should care for a dental implant just like you care for your natural teeth.
Visiting your dentist for routine hygiene appointments and making sure that at home you maintain a proper brushing and flossing routine can help to prevent decay and diseases from developing in the surrounding gums and teeth and negatively impacting your dental implant.
- Does getting a dental implant hurt?
During dental implant surgery, your dentist will administer anesthesia to make you comfortable so you won't feel pain during the procedure.
Following the procedure, there is not usually much discomfort. Most patients can manage any pain with an over-the-counter pain medication for a few days after the procedure.
You will also need to eat a soft diet for the first couple of weeks after the implant procedure to avoid pain or irritation.
- How long does the dental implant process take?
The entire dental implant placement procedure will usually take between 2 and 9 months to complete and heal depending on the specifics of your treatment plan.
Your dentist can provide you with a more specific timeline based on your particular case.
- Will my insurance cover dental implants?
Some insurance companies will cover the cost of dental implants, while some will only pay for a portion of the cost, and others won't pay for any part of it.
To determine what part, if any, of your dental implant treatment will be covered by your insurance, check with your insurance provider.