Longing for that perfect smile?
If your confidence is being hampered by missing or broken teeth, dental implants can offer one of the most effective solutions available. If you are considering the prospect of getting a dental implant, you’ll undoubtedly have a number of questions.
To help you better understand dental implants and the benefits on offer, I’m going to answer our patients most frequently asked questions and queries about the treatment.
Dental Implant FAQs
Q. Why do people get dental implants?
A. Implants are an excellent solution for missing or partially missing teeth. Missing teeth can affect your smile and ultimately your confidence. Over time, the absence of jawbone stimulation caused by the missing tooth can change your facial shape, making you look older than you are. An implant prevents these issues by both looking and functioning like a natural tooth.
Q. Who is not a good candidate for dental implants?
A. Unfortunately not everyone will be considered a suitable candidate for dental implants but this can only be confirmed by a dental examination. People may not be eligible for the treatment if they do not have enough bone density to effectively support the implant, if they do not have healthy teeth or gums or if they suffer from diabetes or autoimmune disorders which can affect their propensity to heal.
Those who want an instant solution (the treatment is conducted over a couple of months), are unwilling to refrain from smoking during healing or who are not prepared to invest time in proper dental maintenance may not be the right fit for implants too.
Q. What are dental implants made from?
A. Implants are most frequently made from titanium as it is a material that is naturally accepted by the body. An implant is effectively a titanium post which is attached to the jawbone and acts as a direct substitute for the root. A supporting structure connects the titanium implant post with a crown, denture or bridge.
Q. How long do they last?
A. Maintenance is a key factor but with proper care and regular dentist check-ups implants can boast a typical lifespan of 15-20 years.
Q. Could the implant fail?
A. Dental implants typically have a very high success rate –typically circa 95% – but failure can occur if infection sets in. To prevent the risk of infection, patients are highly advised to refrain from smoking and to commit to a stringent maintenance routine while the area is healing.
Q. Do implants decay?
A. Unlike your natural teeth, your dental implants will not succumb to tooth decay however it is important to maintain healthy gums to ensure the longevity of the implant.
Q. What is involved with the procedure?
A. In the 1st phase, the bone structure around the missing tooth will be examined. In the case of a partially missing tooth, the broken tooth may be moved at this stage or if bone density is low, a dentist may move straight to bone grafting. If grafting is required, patients will have to wait 3-6 months for the area to heal before moving to Phase 2. If bone grafting is not required, dentists may move straight to Phase 2 within the same session.
During Phase 2, the titanium implant post will be inserted into the jawbone. This procedure will take about one to two hours and patients must allow 3 to 6 months for the area to heal, attending regular check-ups with their dentist during this period. In the 3rd and final phase, a crown, bridge or denture will be placed on the implant post – impressions for these artificial teeth will be taken at an earlier trip to your dentist.
Q. How long does a dental implant procedure take?
A. Dental implant procedures are conducted in 3 separate phases. It usually takes anywhere from 5 to 8 months for all 3 phases to be completed. Treatments advertised as “One Day Implants” are not a recommended option as the long term success of implants is highly dependable on allowing the body adequate time to accept the implant before the treatment is concluded.
Q. Is the treatment painful?
A. The procedure is generally conducted under local anaesthetic so patients at best tend to only ever report experiencing mild discomfort.
Q. How long is the recovery process?
A. Following dental implant surgery, patients may experience slight discomfort and pain for up to a week during the healing period – this can be eased with over the counter pain medication. Biting down on the gauze packs provided by your dentist will be essential to controlling the initial bleeding while applying zip-locked ice packs will help to reduce swell. It is advised to consume food and drink with a draw for the first few days and consume mainly liquefied or pureed foods.
Q. What is involved in dental implant maintenance?
A. You need to care for and maintain dental implants just like you would your natural teeth. That means brushing twice a day and flossing once a day as well as attending for dental check-ups approximately every 6 months. Following a solid dental maintenance routine will ensure the longevity of your implants. To maximise care, consider using a special purpose implant brush and interdental brushes to efficiently clean the side of the implant.
Q. What are the differences between dentures and implants?
A. Implants are the metal posts which take the place of the tooth root while dentures are artificial teeth which are attached to the implant posts.
Q. Can any dentist perform dental implant treatments?
A. When choosing a dentist to perform your dental implant treatment, it’s important to check that they have specialist training, qualifications and years of experience in successfully conducting such procedures to ensure the best results.
Q. How much do they cost?
A. The cost of dental implants will vary from person to person and dentist to dentist but typically costs start from €900 per tooth.
Q. Will my dental insurance cover the cost of implants?
A. You will speak to your provider about the level of cover available for dental implant treatments. Some providers may include some level of cover as standard, others may offer as an optional add-on while many may actively exclude the treatment from cover.
Still considering getting dental implants?
You should now be in a position to make an educated decision about whether the treatment is a good fit for your needs.
With proper maintenance, implants can prove a very worthwhile investment – how much do you value your smile?
If you’d like some more information on the topic, call us on 01 2603741
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