The Top 5 Most Common Dental Implant Questions (and their answers!)

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Dental implants are an increasingly popular option for replacing one or more missing teeth. In fact, many dentists agree that dental implants are the “gold standard” of tooth replacement options. For this reason, if you have been looking for tooth replacement options, chances are you’ve stumbled across information about dental implants. However, an implant dentist can provide you with detailed information about dental implants since they specialize solely on them. Based on the questions that patients ask everyday, here are the top five questions people ask their implant dentist about dental implants: 

What do dental implants look like?

Many people know what dentures look like since they’ve been around for decades, however not as many people know what dental implants look like. As a result, one of the most common questions revolves around the appearance of the implant, as well as how it will change their appearance. Dental implants are small, titanium screws that are implanted into the jawbone and are not visible after placement. A small metal connector piece called an abutment is screwed into the implant. Although this metal piece will stick out of the gums, it will be covered with a crown, bridge, or denture, and will not be noticeable once the process is complete. The structure of dental implants mimics that of a natural tooth, meaning that they have a natural appearance and cannot easily be distinguished from natural teeth. 

Who should get dental implants?

Dental implants are intended for individuals who have one or more missing teeth. They can also be used to replace teeth that have been extracted due to severe decay or damage. A single dental implant can be placed to replace a single missing tooth, while multiple implants can be placed to replace multiple teeth. An entire mouthful of missing teeth can also be replaced using an implant-supported denture. However, the jawbone must contain an adequate amount of bone mass in order for the implant to be successful. In cases where there is a lack of bone mass in the upper jaw, a sinus lift or zygomatic implant may be used. For the lower jaw, a bone graft can help build bone mass. Dental implants are also not recommended for anyone under the age of 18 since their jaws are still growing. 

How do dental implants work?

Dental implants function much like a natural tooth due to their structure. The implant acts as the tooth root, while the attached prosthetic acts as the visible portion of the tooth. While other tooth replacement options can replace the visible portion of the teeth, they do not replace the root. However, the tooth root is what provides stimulation to the underlying bone and preserves bone mass. In acting as the tooth root, dental implants preserve the bone mass, which means that the facial structure will not change overtime. With dentures, the lack of jawbone stimulation causes the jawbone to deteriorate and lead to changes in the facial structure. In addition to preserving the bone and facial structure, dental implants can also restore normal chewing function due to their strength. 

Are dental implants painful?

Dental implants are placed under dental sedation with anesthetics, meaning that you will not feel anything during your procedure. Depending on the level of sedation, you may even be completely asleep when your implants are placed. After the implants are placed, it is normal to experience some soreness for the first few days. In most cases, this can be easily remedied with over the counter pain medications and generally does not cause too much discomfort. In fact, many patients are surprised about how little discomfort is associated with getting dental implants. This is because there are not a lot of nerves present where dental implants are placed. Little nerves, means little pain. 

Can dental implants be done in one day?

Yes! Due to technological advances, dental implants can safely be placed in one day. In some cases, they can even be placed during the same time as a tooth extraction. Same day implants are sometimes referred to as “teeth in a day” since you will leave the dentist’s office with a dental prosthetic loaded onto the implant. These teeth will be temporary to allow your implants to fuse with the bone. Once the implants have healed and fused with the bone, then you will get your permanent teeth. 

While these questions give you an overview of what dental implants are, how they work, and what to expect about the process, it is still important to meet with an implant dentist. Only an implant dentist can tell you how dental implants will affect you specifically. Additionally, they can also answer any questions that you may now have about dental implants.

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Dr. Atcha is a diplomat implantologist and a cosmetic dentist nationally recognized in complex dental implant cases, complex cosmetic dentistry cases, digital implant dentistry, and sedation dentistry. Dr. Atcha holds dental licenses in Illinois, Florida, and California.

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