Dental Implants Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Dental implants can change your life by improving your smile and restoring your oral function. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding dental implants. If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to call our office to speak with a team member.
What are my tooth replacement options?
If you are missing one or multiple teeth, several different tooth replacement options are available, including:
Dentists consider tooth implants the best permanent replacement for patients with missing teeth. A dental implant consists of three main elements that seamlessly replace your natural tooth’s look, feel, and function. It includes a hollow screw or implant, an abutment, and a prosthetic crown.
An implant permanently replaces your tooth, enables a restriction-free diet, and supports your facial structure. The implant screws into your jawbone and, over the course of a few months, fuses with the bone. An abutment goes between the implant and prosthetic crown to act as an anchoring point.
Implant-Supported Dental Bridge
An implant-supported dental bridge is a permanent tooth replacement solution for patients missing multiple teeth next to each other. Instead of replacing each tooth with an individual dental implant, an implant-supported bridge only uses two dental implants to anchor the teeth at either end of the bridge.
Tooth-Supported Dental Bridge
A tooth-supported dental bridge is similar to an implant-supported bridge. The difference is that the tooth-supported bridge is cemented to natural teeth on either side of the gap instead of attaching it to implants. The procedure takes less time than that of implants and generally involves several visits to our office over a few weeks.
Removable Partial Dentures
A removable partial denture is an affordable, non-permanent, low-impact tooth replacement option. It clamps into place and replaces the crowns of missing teeth but does not stimulate the jawbone when you chew. Removable partial dentures serve more of an aesthetic than a functional purpose as compared to the options above.
Flipper (Temporary Partial Denture)
Like a removable partial denture, a flipper is a non-permanent denture for replacing several teeth in a row. A flipper denture can flip in or out of position because it is unsupported by surrounding teeth or attachment hardware. Of the five options listed here, a flipper is the most temporary and quickest tooth replacement option but does not have long-term health benefits for your jawbone, speech, or facial structure.
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Do I need to get a dental implant?
The best tooth replacement option for you depends on your specific case details. The first step is always to schedule a dental consultation. Dr. Dickerhoff, Dr. Berger, Dr. Powell or Dr. Mischo will go over your health history and assess the health of your teeth, gums, and jawbone. We will go over your replacement options and make sure that your needs and preferences are considered when making a treatment recommendation.
How long does the dental implant procedure take?
The treatment timeline for a dental implant procedure depends on the number of implants involved. The treatment process starts with a placement procedure, then a healing phase, and finishes with a restoration procedure. The process usually takes between six to eight months from start to finish.
How long do dental implants take to heal?
The implant itself is a titanium screw that replaces the roots of a missing tooth. After the titanium screws are placed in the jawbone, there is a healing phase when the implant and bone fuse together. On average, the healing process for a single implant takes from three to six months.
What are full-arch dental implants?
Full-arch dental implants are a permanent tooth replacement treatment for patients missing most or all of their upper or lower rows of teeth, and the procedure can take as little as a single appointment at our office. Instead of replacing every missing tooth with an implant, only four to six implants are needed to replace a whole row of teeth. Once the implants are in place, the full-arch implants permanently replace your teeth’ look, feel, and function.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
Dental implants have several benefits, but the most significant advantage of dental implants and implant-supported tooth replacement options is that implants work to stimulate healthy jawbone growth. When you lose a tooth, you lose the roots of the tooth that are central to your jawbone health.
When your jawbone lacks stimulation, it immediately stops growing. In fact, after just one year, your jawbone mass can decrease by 25% in the spot where you lost a tooth. When your jaw loses volume, you show premature signs of aging, drooping facial features, and altered speech.
Dental implants serve to restore the complete functionality and vitality of your facial structure by replacing the unseen roots of a tooth instead of merely replacing the visible crown. Temporary tooth replacement options, like flippers and removable dentures, do not benefit your jawbone. Instead, they place your bite force on the gums, which can lead to irritation when chewing and eventual restrictions on your diet.
The benefits of dental implants:
- Function like natural teeth
- Last over ten years with proper care
- Prevent losing jawbone mass
- Stabilize adjacent teeth
- Retain your natural appearance and facial structure
What is the difference between implant-supported versus implant-retained dentures?
Implant-supported dentures and implant-retained dentures are different in their ultimate health benefits to patients.
Implant-supported dentures feature the same standard implants that we use for replacing teeth. The implants transfer your bite force into the jawbone and stimulate healthy jawbone growth. It is often the best option for patients whose teeth are severely damaged or who are missing most of their teeth.
Implant-retained dentures use fewer and smaller implants to anchor the denture and support bite force against your gums. The miniature implants keep the dentures from slipping out of place when talking or eating but do not encourage healthy jawbone growth. And, unlike implant-supported dentures, implant-retained dentures should be removed every night for cleaning.
Are dental implants permanent?
Dental implants are a permanent and comprehensive replacement option for patients with severely damaged or missing teeth. Implants are longer-lasting than any other replacement option, with a lifespan of well over ten years. Partial dentures and removable dental bridges need replacing after 5 to 7 years.
Brush twice and floss once a day to get the most longevity from your dental implants. And pay particular attention to the area under the crown where the implant meets your gums.