An implant is a man-made replacement for natural teeth which allows the person to return to fixed teeth. It is not a transplant, which is taken from another person. There are several categories of dental implants, which will be selected by the doctor depending on your specific needs and general dental condition. You would require an x-ray to evaluate the amount of bone remaining, models of your mouth to determine space available and a thorough examination to decide which type of implant can help you the most.
Is there discomfort involved? Just as with any surgery, there can be some discomfort; however, anesthetic and patient sedation are used to eliminate any discomfort at the time of the procedure. Approximately 95 percent of patients report discomfort of 0-2 on a scale of 0-10 the day after the implants are placed. The doctor will prescribe medications to ease any discomfort that may occur. Special care will be taken to stay in contact with you after the surgery to be sure that you remain comfortable.
How long does the procedure take? To complete treatment can take from 4 to 9 months and in some cases, longer. It should be understood that this procedure is advanced and can be a longer process than usual to assure its success. We do, however, provide patients with temporary teeth during this time frame. AT NO TIME are you without teeth unless you elect to do so.
Is there a chance of rejection? The body does not reject a dental implant, as it might a soft tissue transplant, such as a lung, heart or kidney. This does not mean that an implant cannot fail, but it would be due to other factors, such as misalignment, improper force on the implant or other conditions or existing diseases of the patient. Dental implants are made of a material, titanium, that is totally bio compatible (compatible with body tissues) and actually integrates with the surrounding bone and becomes part of the body. Titanium is also being used more and more in the medical field to replace body parts.
How long could one expect to be off work? Generally, we recommend the day of and the following day after surgery, that no strenuous exercise be done. You can expect to be slightly swollen. The amount of time off required is an individual decision.
Who is a candidate for implants? Anyone who is missing one or more (even all) of their teeth may be a candidate for implants. If one or a few of the teeth are missing, implants in conjunction with a crown or bridge can replace those teeth and function as normal teeth without losing more bone and being subject to decay. If all or most of your teeth are missing, then implants may be placed to anchor a loose denture. Sometimes, if there is already some bone loss, bone can be added and regenerated or a technique called bone expansion can be used to create a more ideal site for the implant(s). Ultimately, a consultation with a dentist who is knowledgeable on these procedures can help determine your individual needs.