Being a dentist for over twenty years now, a lot of my patients have asked me numerous questions about dental implants. In this article, we will break down the most frequently asked questions about dental implants, with answers that many of you have been longing for.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are screw shaped titanium posts that are inserted into your jawbone. In of itself, it is not a tooth! It is a prosthetic appliance that allows you to replace your missing teeth. On top of this post, a dental crown, partial denture, fixed bridge, or full denture can attach to the implant(s) allowing you to regain your ability to chew once again. After the fixture or post is placed, where a small surgical procedure is involved, the implant integrates with the jawbone in a process known as osseointegration.
Once the fusion process is completed (which takes anywhere between 3-6 months), an abutment connector which attaches the implant to the dental crown. Hence, there are three components to a complete dental implant include the implant fixture, the abutment, and the crown.
Dental implants have become the #1 tooth replacement option all across the United States.
Who are good candidates for dental implants?
Anyone who has a missing tooth may be a good candidate for dental implants. There are certain medical conditions that may prohibit your dental team from placing implants. Some of these include bone cancer, and osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor, and provide him or her with a complete medical background to prevent any health related complications from occurring.
What are the advantages of dental implants?
As human beings, we are privileged to have teeth that can last us a lifetime if we take care of them. Unfortunately, tooth loss is a common occurrence all across the world. Dental decay and gum disease are two prevalent oral health problems that span the globe, and lead to millions of people losing one or more teeth. Dental implants have given us the ability to have another chance at chewing our food properly, improving our lifestyle, and regain our ability to smile with confidence. The wonderful news about dental implants is they are made of a metal called titanium and they never decay!
Are there any disadvantages to dental implants?
Just like any other minor surgery, implant placement can have complications. A few of these include inflammation, infection, and implant failure. Your dental team will go over how these issues can be prevented during your examination appointment. If you are lacking gum tissue or bone support, a soft tissue and/or bone grafting procedure may be recommended first. This can ultimately increase the cost of your dental implant treatment. A lot of patients are just not able to handle these costs as it does not fit their budget.
How much do dental implants cost?
Although prices may vary across the country, the average cost for a single dental implant is $3,500. This includes the abutment and crown as well. The cost is about the same as replacing your tooth with a fixed dental bridge.
Does dental insurance cover dental implants?
Most PPO insurances are starting to cover a portion of your dental implant therapy. with most of them covering around 50% of the total treatment. HMO plans currently do not cover dental implants. Check with your dental team to see if your particular plan provides you with benefits for dental implants.
What is the success rate of dental implants?
Statistics show that dental implants are over 90% successful. There are certain habits that lower the success rate of dental implants including health problems like uncontrolled diabetes, smoking, and poor oral hygiene.
How long do dental implants last?
If good oral hygiene is undertaken by the patients, and your dental team does a good job with the surgery and restoration of your implant, a dental implant can last a lifetime. Dental implants are impervious to dental decay, but they are susceptible to failure in those who suffer from gum disease. Regular cleanings and check ups with your dentist is crucial in maintaining your implant for as long as possible.
Can I get metal free implants?
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as metal free dental implants currently on the market. The two materials currently available are titanium implants, and zirconia implants. The former metal is commonly seen in knee and hip replacement surgeries. Although both are safe to use, more conclusive long term studies are seen with titanium implants. Zirconia implants are newer on the market and their effectiveness has not been establish in comparison with titanium.
What are All-On-4® Dental Implants?
The All-on-4 concept states that 4 dental implants can be used to construct a hybrid denture that is permanently put into place. This concept was conceived by Palo Malo, and has become the go-to fixed procedure for patients needing to replace all their teeth. Unlike traditional dentures, dental implants help the appliance remain inside your mouth without the need to remove it. They are the closest simulation to your natural teeth that we currently have in modern dentistry.
If you have any further questions in regards to dental implants, please give our Houston office a call today (281) 762-0637.