Dental implants are ideal for replacing missing teeth and the best long-term solution for restoring your smile.
Dental implants are the modern standard of care for tooth replacement—no matter if it’s one tooth or all your teeth. Without teeth, there are no tooth roots in the jawbone to stimulate bone growth. Without bone growth, the body senses that the jawbone is no longer necessary, and it begins to dissolve away. The result of this is a full facial collapse, making dentures or bridges less effective because there is little bone left to support these devices. As the bone dissolves, facial muscles migrate from their natural position and lips cave in as they lose support.
Making the decision to get a single-tooth dental implant is usually a simple one. With a bridge acting as the only other option available, most dental patients find themselves weighing the pros and cons and ultimately deciding on an implant. Despite the choice, many patients are intimidated by the overall process. Fortunately, receiving a dental implant is a modern standard and not as scary as many perceive it to be.
What Costs More: An Implant or a Bridge?
When it comes to bridgework vs. implants, individuals often use price as the deciding factor for their treatment option. Thankfully, we oftentimes find that our start to finish cost of a dental implant is LESS than what a bridge on natural teeth to replace their missing tooth was going to cost them. The long term success of dental implants is also much higher, making them an even better investment vs. a bridge.
What is a dental implant?
Acting as long-term treatments for tooth loss, dental implants are permanent fixtures surgically placed in the area of the missing tooth. Once the implant heals, or attaches to the bone, it acts as the new root for the abutment and crown that will replace your missing tooth. The implant crown is made to attach to the abutment and fill the space left by the missing tooth. A single-tooth dental implant has three parts—implant, abutment, and crown—which means there are at least three to four different appointments required for the complete procedure.
• The implant is a screw-like titanium post that serves as the replacement for the natural root portion of a missing tooth. The implant is made of titanium because titanium is a strong, biocompatible material that bonds with the bone. The implant is permanently attached to the jawbone.
• The abutment will not be visible in your mouth, but functions as a connector piece that secures your new tooth to the titanium implant.
• The crown is the visible part of the implant that will serve as your new tooth. It’s typically made of ceramic or porcelain and will be custom-made to seamlessly match your natural teeth in color, size, and shape so no one will be able to tell which tooth is artificial. Crowns look and feel natural and do not affect a patient’s ability to speak or eat.
What should I expect from my dental implant consultation?
A consultation is designed to explain the procedure, answer any questions you may have, and to provide guidance and support in making your decision. A CBCT scan, which is offered at no cost to you, will be conducted, and our dental implant specialist will review the results. From there, the doctor will propose your treatment options depending on the state of your mouth and financial situation.
How long will it take to complete the implant process?
The time required to complete the implant process varies depending on many factors. In many cases, an implant can be placed and restored with the implant crown in about four to six months. This includes the placement of the implant, abutment, and placing the final crown. If bone grating is required or if an extraction site needs additional healing time, the amount of time required to complete the process will increase. The first stage of treatment is the implant placement. After your mouth has been numbed, an incision will be made in the gums to expose the underlying bone in the area where the implant will be placed. Your dental implant specialist will then use a special drill that creates a space for the implant to be inserted. After the implant is placed into this space, the gums are stitched back over the implant and the implant is left to attach to the bone—a process that takes a few months. The second phase begins by your dentist making an incision in your gums and re-exposing the implant. There is no pain associated with the re-exposure as you are thoroughly numbed before the procedure begins. A healing cap is placed into the implant to prepare your gum tissue for the abutment and crown placement. At your third visit, the abutment is placed, and an impression is taken. This is what the lab will use to custom make your crown. The final step in the implant process is placing the newly fabricated crown.
Are dental implants painful?
The dental implant surgery itself is fairly uneventful with minimal pain. Pain tolerance is different patient to patient, but many are often surprised at how simple, quick, and painless the procedure is.
What can I expect after the implant placement procedure?
After the initial procedure, it is important to keep up with all post-operative instructions to avoid infection. Bruising and gum swelling are normal complications, and any discomfort can usually be treated with an over-the-counter painkiller like Ibuprofen or Tylenol. Most patients are fine to return to work the day following the procedure.
Recovery time can vary based on the below.
• The number of dental implants you receive—single dental implant, multiple implants, or implants for a full arch or full mouth.
• Whether you have a healthy bone for your implants to bond to or bone grafting is required.
• Any factors unique to your mouth and body and their ability to heal.
• Whether you follow all the instructions in your treatment plan.
• Diabetes and tobacco can affect healing time because it affects circulation which is a key factor in healing.
Will I need to take special care of my implant?
Single tooth implants will function and look like your natural teeth. Implants require the same care as caring for your natural teeth including daily brushing and flossing, and regular visits to the dentist for professional cleanings. Although implant teeth will not decay, the gum tissue around the implant crown is at risk for infection with the absence of good oral hygiene.
Call Sioux Falls Dental Implant Center today at (605) 799-2929 for your free dental implants consultation in Sioux Falls, SD!