What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a small titanium screw that replaces the root of a missing tooth. They can be used to replace a single missing tooth or a number of them.
The implant is surgically implanted into the jaw bone, where it bonds with the natural bone to serve as a tooth replacement anchor.
Dental implants can help restore facial tissues and appearance by preventing surrounding teeth from shifting, resolving bite issues or jaw and joint pain.
Why Replace Missing Teeth
When a tooth is lost, the teeth on either side of the gap may begin to shift out of place, causing misalignment problems. The jaw bone in the area may deteriorate as well, resulting in facial collapse or affecting your ability to eat and speak.
The Dental Implant Procedure
A dental implant (titanium screw) and a tooth replacement are required for the dental implant procedure.
Your dentist will begin by surgically placing the implant beneath the gum tissue in your jaw bone. The implant will bond to the bone and attach to the gum as the tissue heals.
Patients return to our office to complete the procedure once the healing process is complete, usually 3 to 6 months after surgery.
Your dentist will attach a tooth replacement, such as a dental crown, bridge, or denture, to the implant at this final appointment to give it the appearance and function of a natural tooth.
Dental Implant FAQs
Read the answers to our most frequently asked questions about dental implants at Elliott Dental Studio.
- How long does a dental implant last?
If you care for your implant properly, it can last a lifetime. This includes proper brushing and flossing at home, as well as attending regular hygiene cleanings and exams at your dental office.
The longevity of a dental implant may also depend on other factors including nutrition, genetics, or the development of any dental diseases.
- How do I care for my dental implants?
You should care for a dental implant just like you care for your natural teeth.
Visiting your dentist for regular hygiene appointments and maintaining a proper brushing and flossing routine at home can help prevent decay or diseases from developing in the surrounding teeth and gums, which can negatively affect your dental implants.
- Does getting a dental implant hurt?
During dental implant surgery, your dentist will administer anesthesia to make you comfortable so you won't feel pain during the procedure.
Following the procedure, there is not usually much discomfort. Most patients can manage any pain with an over-the-counter pain medication for a few days after the procedure.
You will also need to eat a soft diet for the first couple of weeks after the implant procedure to avoid pain or irritation.
- How long does the dental implant process take?
The entire dental implant procedure usually takes about two to nine months to complete, depending on your treatment plan.
Your dentist can provide you with a more specific timeline based on your particular case.
- Will my insurance cover dental implants?
Some insurances companies will cover the cost of dental implants, while some will only pay for a portion of the cost, and others won't pay for any part of it.
To determine what part, if any, of your dental implant treatment will be covered by your insurance, check with your insurance provider.