If you are looking for a tooth replacement solution, dental implants are among the most popular choice for many patients. But, you might have some questions about dental implants and possibly some confusion or fear about how they work and the surgery. In this guide, we will show all the information that you will need to make an informed decision when considering a dental implant.
Dental Implants Defined
Dental implants are an artificial tooth. They are made up of three parts, the implant, the abutment, and the crown. The implant is shaped like a screw and it is placed directly into the jawbone. The metal will then bond with the bone and create a strong and stable base.
The abutment is placed on top of the implant and this creates a support for the artificial tooth, called a crown. The crown is a durable, lasting tooth replacement solution. They are often made out of materials like ceramic, zirconium, or porcelain.
When a tooth is missing, the bone where the tooth used to be will slowly decay over time. This can change the shape of your face. Dentures and other similar tooth replacement solutions just sit on top of the jawbone. They cannot maintain the jawbone like how a dental implant can. Dental implants are the only solution that can preserve the natural bone of the jaw.
Dental implants can provide you a great smile, but it can also improve your oral health. It is as close as you can get to replace your tooth with a natural tooth. They have another benefit over traditional dentures they preserve the natural jawbone and prevent bone decay and any other change to your face shape.
Titanium used in the implant fuses to the bone, so that the implant won’t slip, make noise, cause bone damage, or need to be removed to clean like a traditional denture or bridge. The materials used also don’t decay, unlike the teeth that would support a bridge.
The implant will be mounted with an abutment which holds the crown. The crown is made to resemble your natural teeth and can even be colored to match the color of the surrounding teeth.
Modern implants have a long history of success, with 30-years of implant surgeries. It has been proven to be a safe and predictable procedure and the most effective way to replace missing or lost teeth. Their key to success is the fact that they look, feel, and act just like natural teeth. The surgery is one of the safest and predictable procedures when performed by a trained and experienced dental implant dentist.
Why get a dental implant?
Patients will often get a dental implant for a few reasons. They can be recommended by your dentist if you:
- Have one or more missing teeth
- Do not smoke
- Are unwilling or unable to wear dentures
- Have healthy mouth tissues
- Have enough bone to support the implant.
- Have a fully-grown jawbone
- Be in good health
- Can commit to a months-long recovery process.
What is dental implant surgery like?
The surgery for getting an implant can seem complicated at first. The surgery may differ from patient to patient depending on the implant that is used and the condition of your jawbone. There are a few different stages involved.
Because the jawbone must heal between the different stages of the surgery the process can be quite long before it is complete. Here is an example of a typical procedure:
Preparation for Surgery
In the first stage of the surgery, you and your dentist will make a comprehensive plan to get every detail right for the treatment plan. Expect to go to a consultation with your dentist and other specialists who will assess the health and condition of your mouth and jaw.
You may have to see specialists in gums, bones, or one who designs and fits artificial teeth, and possibly even an ears, nose, and throat specialist. How complex this part is depending on the patient’s situation.
During the evaluation before the surgery, expect your dentist to include at least these things:
- A comprehensive dental exam. This can include x-rays, a 3-d image, and models made of your teeth and jaw.
- A medical history review. Be sure to alert your dentist of any preexisting conditions and any medications that you might take. Be sure to mention any prescriptions, or over-the-counter drugs and supplements. If you have a heart condition or other pre-existing condition you may have to do additional steps to prepare.
- A finalized treatment plan. The plan will be custom built to your needs and outline the exact steps that you would need to take, what you’ll need to do to prepare for the surgery and how to recover from it. It will also include details like which teeth and how many are to be replaced, the condition of your jawbone and remaining teeth, and other details.
You should be sure to discuss your anesthesia options. They would include local anesthesia, sedation, and general anesthesia. Depending on what is chosen, your dentist will let you know what you need to do before the surgery, such as not eating and drinking. You’ll need somebody to take you home after the surgery and plan to rest for the rest of the day.
Dental Implant Surgery
The surgery has a few stages to it, but it is often done as an outpatient surgery. In between each stage is an opportunity for recovery and healing. Here are some typical steps involved in the surgery:
- Removal of the damaged tooth
- Preparation of the jawbone, sometimes with a bone graft if needed.
- The dental implant is placed
- Bone growth and healing
- The abutment is placed
- The crown is placed
This process can take a number of months to be fully complete. Most of this time is devoted to healing and waiting for the jawbone to grow and be healthy. These steps can sometimes be combined, depending on the particulars of your situation and the materials being used.
Recovery After Dental Implant Surgery
After the surgery, you should expect to feel some typical discomforts that come with dental surgery. These discomforts can include:
- Swollen gums and face
- Bruised skin and gums
- Pain or discomfort at the implant site
- Some minor bleeding
Speak with your implant team to see if you will need pain medication. If you should experience prolonged or increased pain and discomfort after the surgery, be sure to contact your oral surgeon. After each stage, refrain from eating solid foods in the first few days of the recovery as the site heals. If stitches are used, they may be ones that dissolve on their own or may require removal by your dentist.
Is getting dental implants painful?
The surgery is not often painful because you will have some kind of anesthesia, such as local anesthesia or general anesthesia. This is something that will be discussed and established during your initial consultation.
When the surgery begins, you will be anesthetized. Then the gums will be cut open and a hole for the implant will be drilled. There are no nerves in the jaw so you will feel no pain if you are under just local anesthesia for the gum pain. You won’t feel any pain during the drilling itself.
You may feel the most discomfort and pain during the recovery and healing period. Your dentist will likely proscribe pain medications or recommend the use of over the counter pain relievers. Be sure to follow the recovery plan outlined by your dental implant team for the possible recovery.
Most patients will not experience extreme pain during the procedure or recovery. Do expect soreness and tenderness during the first few days after the surgery. For most patients, the pain is less than having a tooth being pulled.
What is the cost of a dental implant?
An entire mouth of implants generally needs four implants installed per arch, one for the top arch and one for the bottom. These implants serve as anchor points for the denture arch. The arch is secured on top of them.
There are many factors that go into the cost of a dental implant. These factors include the location of the service, the materials used, the kind of implant used, how extensive the surgery is, and a number of other factors. These complexities can make it difficult to estimate what the dental implants will cost.
On average, the cost for one tooth is replaced with a dental implant ranges anywhere between $1500 to $6000. This cost includes office visits, x-rays, anesthesia, and more. An entire set of teeth can be replaced between $3000 and $30,000 depending on the factors mentioned above.
Insurance can sometimes help lessen the cost. It largely depends on whether or not the medical need for the implant. If the insurance company considers the procedure to be cosmetic surgery, they will often not cover the expenses.
They might cover the portions of the procedure, so it is important that you contact your insurance company to see what their coverage will offer.
What does one dental implant cost?
A single dental implant costs between $1500 to $6000 on average, with a whole mouth ranging between $3000 and $30,000. This price varies by a number of factors.
How long is recovery from getting dental implants?
Recovery generally takes several months depending on the timeline your dentist will set up. This recovery is not short, and can sometimes take months.
Does it hurt to get a dental implant?
The surgery itself is painless, as anesthesia is used, but recovery can be uncomfortable or painful for a few days.
Why should I get a dental implant?
You may be a good candidate for implants if you are:
- missing one or more teeth
- If you don’t want dentures sliding around
- If you want to get your natural tooth back
Dental Implant Experts in Upland, CA
Upland Dental Group & Implant Center in Upland, CA can do all the necessary dental work to determine the option that’s right for you. Upland Dental Group & Implant Center proudly serves the Upland area with a full range of Dental & Implant services. Give us a call at (909) 985-1966 to schedule an appointment.