Who is a good candidate for implants?

Anyone who has missing teeth could potentially benefit from implants, either alone or as anchors for a bridge or dentures. Implants are often used as part of an overall dental restoration plan.

Are there different types of implants?

Historically, dental implants were made using various shapes, techniques and materials, but success rates for early methods were unimpressive. Most implants today are made of titanium. Research eventually led to the use of titanium because of its amazing characteristics. Titanium is a very strong yet inert metal that is not rejected by the body and to which bone will actually adhere (a process called osseointegration). Research has also shown that root-form implants, which are roughly the shape of a single tooth root, had the fewest problems — with success rates between 95 to 100 percent. Implant sizes may vary, depending on the volume of bone that is present, but most practitioners today use titanium root-form implants because of their proven success.

Are implants expensive?

Compared to removable dentures, yes. However, insurance may cover part of the cost of the implant procedure, and most patients feel that the benefits of implants outweigh the costs.

How long does an implant procedure take?

Protocols for treatment vary depending on the circumstances of each case. In the best case scenario, tooth extraction, implant placement and restoration can all be completed during the same appointment. This procedure is called Teeth-in-a-Day®. Most commonly, if the bone is strong, it will take between four to six months from the implant placement surgery to the final restoration. When foundation structures are inadequate or unhealthy, a bone graft may be required prior to implant surgery. In these cases, restorations could be delayed one year from the beginning of treatment. During that time, you may be fitted with temporary replacement teeth.

Is it painful?

Local anesthetics are used to be sure that you feel nothing during the procedure, and afterwards, you will be prescribed analgesics. Most patients are amazed at how easy the procedure was for them and how little discomfort they experienced. Nevertheless, placing an implant is a complex procedure, which can elicit fear and anxiety in some patients. You can rest assured that we use calming medications, as necessary, and take every precaution to ensure that you are relaxed and comfortable before, during and after your surgery.

How long will I be out of commission after my implant procedure?

Generally, we recommend you take it easy for one day after surgery, which means rest and avoiding strenuous activity. You may be feeling the effects of medications we prescribe, and strenuous activities after surgery can cause bleeding, swelling or bruising. The exact amount of time off required is an individual decision.

Is there a risk of my body rejecting the implant?

No. Unlike a live soft tissue transplant, implants are made of surgical titanium, an inert metal, and are not rejected by the body. This doesn’t mean that an implant can’t fail due to infection, movement or injury, but there have been no reported cases of titanium rejection or allergy.

How do I choose an implant dentist?

The dentist you choose should be properly trained to diagnose and place implants. One way to ensure this is to verify that they are accredited by the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. You can verify membership through the AAID website.