What Is A Dental Implant?
In the field of cosmetic dentistry, dental implants are the most sought-after option for teeth replacement. Owing to their structure and fantastic success rate, implants make the perfect prosthesis. They were created by Swedish orthopedic surgeon, Per-Ingvar Brånemark in 1952. Over the years, dental implants have received multiple structural and technological upgrades that now make them the cornerstone of tooth replacement and cosmetic dentistry.
An implant consists of two parts –
- A post is usually made of titanium which is placed surgically in the jaw bone. This mimics the root of a tooth, thereby not only providing stability but also preserving the jaw bone.
- An abutment that is fastened to the titanium or zirconia post. The crown (false tooth made of ceramic) to fill in space is placed onto the abutment.
What Is The Procedure For A Dental Implant?
The process of getting fitted with a dental implant starts by visiting your cosmetic dentist. Cosmetic dentists specialize in cosmetic dentistry, i.e. anything to do with the aesthetic of your oral cavity. Patients have to undergo extensive screening to assess whether they’re a good candidate for a dental implant.
Normal healthy individuals with no medical conditions and proper oral hygiene are usually given the go-ahead for dental implants. Moreover, patients with strong relationships (to offer moral support) are preferred over those who don’t have a support system.
Smokers, people with poor oral health, and debilitating conditions like cardiac disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, etc. are advised against dental implants.
Irrespective of the situation, your dentist takes the final decision on whether or not they consider you a suitable candidate for an implant. The procedure from start to finish is a very lengthy one, meaning it requires a lot of patience and money.
- In the initial examination, multiple digital imaging and X-rays will be taken to assess the health of the jaw bone. Furthermore, any teeth with cavities and damage will be either restored or removed, depending on the extent of the injury. Your cosmetic dentist will draw up a customized treatment plan after the completion of the assessment.
- To keep you comfortable and pain-free, your dentist will administer either only a local anesthetic or in combination with a sedative. The gum at the site of implant placement is cut and pulled back to expose the bone. The bone is then drilled into to place the titanium post. After placement, the gum is stitched back into position.
- The patient is sent home with post-operative instructions and medicines to help with the soreness and inflammation. The post is then allowed to fuse with the jawbone through the process of osseointegration. You will be asked to visit your dentist regularly to ensure proper healing of the area.
- When the fusion is complete, the abutment is placed above the gum line.
- Once the gums have healed, impressions of the upper and lower jaws are taken and sent to the dental lab. The lab manufactures the dental crown/dental bridge/denture to be placed onto the abutment and restore the space. Based on the dentist’s recommendation and requirement, you can opt for either a fixed or removable prosthesis.
- On the final visit, the prosthesis is fitted into place. Future regular dental visits are advised to monitor the progress of the implant.
Do You Need Sedation For Dental Implants?
In case you’re having only one of two implants placed, sedation isn’t indicated. Local anesthesia is usually sufficient to prevent any discomfort during the procedure. However, if a bone graft is recommended, your dentist might include the use of a general anesthetic. For bone grafts, bone tissue is harvested from elsewhere in the body and placed onto the jaw to support the implant.
Another option of anesthesia is conscious sedation. This is used in combination with a local anesthetic and administered via oral (pill) or nasal (gas) routes. As the name suggests, you remain conscious and aware of your surroundings but you are completely relaxed. Conscious sedation is used on patients experiencing increased anxiety regarding the dental implant procedure.
While general anesthesia might seem like the perfect option for your surgery, it can be potentially dangerous. Local anesthesia is much safer and doesn’t necessarily produce any unpleasant side effects. Discuss your options for anesthesia and sedation with your cosmetic dentist at Le Sueur Family Dental to help you decide the best route for yourself.
How Long Does A Dental Implant Last?
While the titanium post can last almost a lifetime, the exposed parts of an implant (abutment and crown) are prone to deterioration and damage. These last about 15-25 years, depending on the level of care and maintenance the implant receives.
Aside from proper oral hygiene, which is key in maintaining an implant’s shelf-life, other factors that affect them are –
- Location of the implant: Since posterior teeth receive higher pressure than anterior teeth, implants may fail more quickly.
- The skill of the dentist placing the implant: Well-trained and experienced dentists handling dental implants offer better results.
- Your general lifestyle: Smokers and drinkers are more prone to implant failure than people who don’t indulge in these habits.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
The cost of dental implants varies on the number of implants being placed, the region, and the dentist. Typically the cost for a single implant including surgery for placement, the components, and the dental crown ranges from $3000 – $4500.
While on the surface it might seem like a pretty steep price to pay, dental implants are a fantastic investment. This is because when compared to the other tooth replacement options, with proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime. Other options like bridges and dentures have to be replaced every 5-10 years. The cost of constant upkeep is much higher than the cost of a single implant.
Although dental implants have become the standard of care for teeth replacement, dental insurances don’t always cover their cost. In such a case, you can take advantage of Le Sueur Family Dental’s in-house plan.
To discuss implant options, payment plans, or insurance coverage please call us at (507) 665-6812.