Dental Implants

What is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is a medical grade titanium screw that goes into the bone and acts as a tooth root.  It is the foundation for the final restoration, whether it be a crown or an implant denture.  There are immediate implants that can be placed the same day when the tooth is taken out, or there are implants placed after the extraction site has completely healed.  Which is correct depends on many factors and can be discussed with Dr. Parks to choose the option that is best suited for your individual needs.  In addition, since a dental implant only replaces the “root” of a tooth, a crown and an abutment will also be needed to completely replace a missing tooth.  The diagram at the bottom of this page shows the different parts to a single tooth replacement using an implant.

Who should get dental implants?

Anyone looking to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth to aid in chewing or appearance.  Everybody has different anatomy, and unfortunately this limits who can be a candidate for dental implants.  With this in mind, if you are interested, it is always worth discussing the possibility of dental implants with Dr. Parks, he should be able to give you an idea if you are a candidate.

How long does a dental implant last typically?

Once the dental implant is fully integrated and is properly maintained with good oral hygiene, they can last a lifetime.  The prosthesis sometimes will need to be replaced, but the implant itself usually will continue to be functional and provide service.  One key point is that proper hygiene is crucial, just as teeth can lose bone around a root, the implant can have bone loss around itself which overtime can cause failure.

What is the time frame from the placement of a dental implant to the final restoration?

Dental Implants need time for the jawbone to grow into the porous surfaces of the of the implant to lock them into place, which is usually 3-6 months and varies from patient to patient.  Once the implant is fully integrated a restoration can be placed.  The restoration involves taking a mold and having a dental lab construct the crown which usually takes about 1 month.  If everything is ideal the time frame from implant placement to final restoration is about 6 months.  However, if there are circumstances that require additional steps, the time to replace a tooth can be close to one year.  During this time, if it is a front tooth, a temporary treatment partial can be worn for esthetic purposes.  On a back tooth a healing abutment or cover screw will usually be worn.

What are the advantages or disadvantages of dental implants compared to other dental prosthetics?

Dental implants are superior to any other missing tooth solution.  They are permanent and have the longest lasting service.  Compared to a bridge, implants do not require preparation of adjacent teeth and do not require flossing beneath a bridge pontic.  Essentially, a dental implant with a crown is the closest thing to a natural tooth that is available.  However, there are some drawbacks to be aware of.  They cannot be moved by orthodontic forces, so if braces are wanted or needed the braces need to be completed first.  The time frame to have a permanent tooth in a location is longer than a bridge.  Sometimes a bone graft or additional surgeries are required for placement, or an individual’s anatomy and lack of bone volume will not allow placement.  They should not be placed before the jawbone is done growing, so teen patients would need to wait.  Financially they tend to be more expensive.  Ultimately, however, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, and should always at least be considered when replacing a missing tooth.

How much pain is expected?

As expected with any type of dental surgery there is some pain experienced with the placement of a dental implant.  As with all pain, it is dependent on the patient and the procedure.  With this in mind, it is usually less painful than an adult tooth extraction, due to the nature of the procedure paired with good surgical techniques, the patient will usually heal rapidly and have limited discomfort for an extended period of time.

As always, Dr. Parks is more than happy to discuss treatment options, and to see if dental implants are a good choice for you.  He realizes that each patient is different and will require a customized approach to meet your dental needs, and meeting your dental needs is ultimately the goal at Claremore Family Dental.

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