1. What are dental implants?
Dental implants are small metal (titanium) cylinders, which are surgically placed under the gum, in the bone of either the upper or lower jaw. These provide the foundation for the stable replacement of lost teeth.
2. Who should have dental implants?
Anyone missing one or all of their natural teeth is a candidate for dental implants.
3. How do implants feel in my mouth?
Once properly placed into the bone, the implant acts and feels like the root of a healthy natural tooth.
4. What are the chances of the implant not healing properly?
Nationally, the success rate of properly placed implants ranges from 88% to 98%. The success of dental implants depends upon the proper diagnosis and surgical skill of a trained and experienced surgeon.
5. How long will implant-supported dental prosthetics last?
The present implant designs have been maintained in healthy individuals over twenty-five years. Proper placement of the cylinders by a trained surgeon working closely with a restorative dentist and a patient who maintains careful and continual home care provides the best long-term results.
6. How will the patient know if the implants are healthy?
The completed implant-supported dental prosthetics should be monitored on a regular basis. The Tulsa Dental Implants and Periodontics routinely checks all implants twice during the first year and at least once every year thereafter. In most cases the restorative office will alternate with the specialist’s office to assure that the patient is evaluated at least on a biannual basis.
7. How will implant surgery affect my work schedule?
Most patients find that there is less pain in the placing of dental implants than is experienced in the removal of diseased natural teeth. Depending upon the number of implants and the oral anatomy of the individual, most patients return to work the following day.
8. Can dental implants be used to replace a single tooth?
The dental implant is one of the best methods to replace a single missing tooth either in the front or in the back of the mouth. In the past the only way a single tooth could be permanently replaced was with a bridge, which required the cutting of neighboring teeth to provide posts upon which the bridge was supported. The dental implant provides support for the missing tooth without involving the alteration of surrounding natural tooth surfaces.
9. If I am wearing a lower denture which no longer fits comfortably, can dental implants help provide a comfortable and functional denture?
Dental implants were originally designed and have the longest clinical success histories when used to support lower dentures on receding ridges. Four to six properly placed dental implants can provide the support needed to allow the denture wearer to laugh, smile, and eat without pain or fear of displacement of the denture. Dental implants will provide a stable base so that the restorative dentist working closely with the Tulsa Dental Implants and Periodontics can restore the facial contours resulting in a more youthful and natural appearance.
10. How do I clean the dental implant supported teeth?
The two major causes of implant failure are (1) improper chewing stresses placed on the new teeth and (2) inadequate regular oral hygiene. The implant-supported teeth must be regularly cleaned using aids modified to not only fit the implant-supported prosthetics but the individual mouth. Tulsa Dental Implants and Periodontics has a specially trained staff to initially instruct and regularly evaluate the patient’s home care. Regular maintenance appointments are a must at both the Tulsa Dental Implants and Periodontics and the restorative dental office.
11. How long will it take from beginning to completion for my new implant supported teeth or dentures?
Once the diagnosis and treatment plan has been established the dental implants will be surgically placed at Tulsa Dental Implants and Periodontics. The implant cylinder must heal in the bone under the gum for a period of 4 to 6 months. During this time the restorative dentist will provide a temporary replacement for esthetics and chewing function. At the end of the proper healing time the patient will return to the restorative office for the construction of the final prosthetics. From initial appointment at Tulsa Dental Implants and Periodontics to the final placement of the teeth or denture at the restorative dentist is usually 5 to 7 months.
12. Why does my dentist refer me to the periodontal surgeon for the placement of the implant cylinder?
It is impossible for the busy restorative dentist to keep current in all aspects of modern dental therapy. This is especially true in the continually improving and exacting aspects of the surgical placement of dental implants. The TEAM concept of the restorative dentist working with the surgically trained Periodontist provides the patient with maximum benefits (and the additional comfort) of having two will trained doctors providing the best care available.
13. Can I afford implant-supported dental replacement appliances?
In modern America most people can “afford” what they feel they need or “must have” ranging from a simple roof over their head to the “weekend place at the lake” or an automobile to get back and forth to work or the sports car with the sun roof and all the frills. The exacting surgical placement of a titanium implant supporting a carefully made prosthetic replacement does cost money. Not everyone will feel that their oral health, appearance, or improved chewing ability will be worth the expense. Our patients with implants tell us they are a wonderful, “quality of life” investment. We will do our best to work with you to make implants affordable for you.
14. How can I find out if dental implants will help improve my quality of life?
No clinical procedure as exacting as dental implants should be undertaken without a careful examination by a qualified doctor. This examination will involve at least two types of x-rays, a careful medical history, a thorough oral examination, models of the existing oral anatomy, and proper laboratory tests. There must also be careful and complete communication between the surgeon, the restorative dentist and the patient to assure the correct number and location of the implants.
It is very difficult to anticipate all of the questions, which you may have concerning dental implants. However, we have provided answers to the most commonly asked questions. If you have further questions, please contact your general dentist or the Tulsa Dental Implants and Periodontics. We welcome the opportunity to provide you with information about this valuable service.
-adapted from Dr. Conrad Hornbuckle