Dental implants are growing in popularity every year and many are requesting them over traditional dentures and bridges. A dental implant replaces the entire tooth from root to crown with a permanent restoration that looks and feels natural.
Your Initial Evaluation
In the initial consultation and planning stages, your dental surgeon will inspect the area where the dental implant is needed. They will also examine the area using digital imaging technology and CT scans. Your surgeon will also check the jawbone in the area to determine whether there is sufficient bone density in the area to support the implant.
You May Need Pre-Implant Treatments
Sometimes, the initial stage of a dental implantation surgery will involve removing a damaged or otherwise compromised tooth. In some cases, it will be necessary to perform a bone graft using your bone or synthetic materials designed for the purpose. This provides a solid foundation for the implant. After the bone graft, you will need three to nine months to heal before the actual dental implant can be placed.
Placing the Implant
If you have sufficient bone to support the desired dental implant, you may be able to get the dental implant installed at the very same appointment you have the old tooth removed. Before starting your surgery, you will have a local anesthetic applied to numb the affected area. A sedative will be administered if you suffer from dental anxiety.
A small incision allows for the placement of the implant post into the jaw. Most people have minimal discomfort during the procedure and can return to work the next day. It takes three to six months to heal and allow the implant and surrounding bone to integrate, a process known as osseointegration. Next, a small connector called an abutment is placed on top of the post. The abutment attaches to a variety of custom restorations, including:
- Single Crowns
- Fixed Bridges
- Full Dentures
- Partial Dentures
What Does Dental Implant Surgery Cost?
As with most procedures, dental implant surgery can vary quite dramatically in cost depending on what exactly is needed. A reasonably conservative cost estimate for a single dental implant would range from $3,000 to $4500. Most dental insurance will not cover your implant surgery costs. Some companies may help you pay for the crown of the dental implant, but they likely will not be willing to pay for the rest of your costs.
Many insurance providers consider dental implantation surgery to be an “elective” or “cosmetic” procedure and not strictly necessary. This fact is slowly changing as implantation surgery becomes the standard treatment for the replacement of missing teeth. Dental implants have a success rate of over 98% and offer a relatively conservative approach to solving this common problem.
What are the Side Effects and Risks?
As with any surgery, a dental implantation procedure has risks. Your dental surgeon will check for potential problems such as bleeding disorders, medical conditions, allergies, and other issues of concern. Fortunately, the success rate is so high that you are highly unlikely to experience any severe problems.
Implant surgeries rarely fail, but problems could result from an unusual infection, a fracture of the dental implant, damage to the nerves in the area, or trauma. You should have great results as long as you work with a professional who is appropriately qualified.
Does Dental Implant Surgery Hurt?
When you have the surgery, you will be under an anesthetic, and the area will be numbed completely. This will prevent you from feeling any pain during the procedure. After the local anesthetic wears off, the amount of residual pain or discomfort you feel will vary with each specific case. Most people will experience a healing process that involves a similar amount of discomfort to that of routine tooth extraction.
You can use over the counter pain medication such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Advil). An ice pack can help reduce any swelling. You may need prescription antibiotics and mouth rinse to help the area heal and to prevent any infection from occurring.
Who Specializes in Dental Implantation Surgery?
Any licensed dentist can perform dental implant surgery. Because these implants are surgically placed directly into the jawbone, choose a dental professional who has a great deal of experience. Oral surgeons and periodontists are two types of dental professionals that specialize in treating issues of the gums and mouth, including those that affect the jawbone. If you want to replace missing teeth with dental implants, contact your dentist and see if they place them or if they can refer you to a specialist.
Have you had any experience with dental implantation surgery? Did it improve your self-confidence? Let us know in the comments below!