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Frequently asked questions
Why do we lose our teeth?
There are several reasons that lead a dentist to extract a tooth, such as: advanced gum disease (where the bone that held the tooth has been lost), advanced decay that could prevent the tooth from being reconstructed, or root fracture, normally after an accident.
What happens when we lose our teeth?
Some of the consequences of tooth loss are: aesthetic compromise, decrease of masticatory efficiency (it is harder to chew), overload of the remaining teeth as they have to compensate for the lost tooth (therefore the remaining teeth could be damaged or lost too), difficulty to talk or to say certain words, loss of lip support (wrinkles), tilting of the neighboring teeth, unstable bite, head and face muscle and joint problems, decrease in size of the bone that held the lost teeth (bone resorption).
What are the options to replace missing teeth?
What is an implant?
An implant is an artificial object that is surgically placed in the body. They are generally used to replace a missing part of the body or with cosmetic purposes.
What is a dental implant?
What are osseointegrated dental implants?
What are the advantages of dental implants?
What are the disadvantages of dental implants?
What material is used for dental implants?
What is bone resorption and why does it happen?
How do dental implants contribute to stopping bone resorption?
Dental implants not only replace teeth that have been lost, restoring function and aesthetics, they also stop bone loss as the bone once again receives the stimulus of mastication. Therefore, it is important to replace missing teeth with implants as soon as possible in order to minimize bone resorption.
How do dental implants contribute to reducing the overload on the remaining teeth?
What is the procedure involved in dental implant treatment?
What is the surgical phase?
The surgical treatment consists of the placement of the artificial roots or implants inside the jawbone. It is performed with local anesthesia, and is painless. Sedation and general anesthesia are options for nervous patients. The duration of the intervention is from one to two hours, depending on the number of implants, that will remain covered for two to six months (depending on the area of the mouth where they were placed). After that time sometimes there is a need of a very small second surgical phase, to uncover the tip of the implants, especially in esthetic related areas.
What is the post-operative period like?
The post-operative stage is not painful. The day after the procedure there may be some minor swelling and bruising. Painkillers, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories are prescribed for a short time period.
Will I be able to use my removable dentures or bridges as a temporary solution?
While the dental implants integrate to the bone, your removable dentures can be modified and conditioned to be used temporarily until the implants are ready to receive the fixed porcelain crowns. If you use a fixed bridge, it will be cemented immediately after placement of the implants and remain in place until the dental implants are ready to receive the fixed porcelain crowns.
When will the new teeth be placed on the dental implants?
How does the new prosthesis or crown anchor to the implants?
The system used consists of a series of very precise machine made abutments that anchor to the implant with a gold screw, and that will retain the crowns.
Is it necessary to brush the new implant-supported teeth?
Implants should receive daily flossing and brushing, just as natural teeth. The flossing of the implant-supported crowns will be much easier than for bridges, because the first ones will not be fixed to the neighboring teeth.
Am I an ideal candidate for dental implants?
Is there an age limit for dental implants?
Age is not a decisive factor when determining who is a candidate for dental implants, but it is advisable not to use them in patients under 15 or 16 years old, as maxillary growth is not yet complete. Older patients can receive implants just as well as younger ones, with the same success rate.
Is dental implant treatment painful?
No. A treatment with implants involves a surgical procedure, but pain and all other implications can be perfectly controlled.
How long does the dental implant treatment take?
It is very important to respect the times of osseointegration or integration of the implant to the bone. In general, for the lower jaw it takes two to four months between the time of implant placement and the prosthetic phase (start of the construction of the implant supported crowns or dentures), and six months for the upper jaw. The prosthetic phase lasts between one and three weeks, depending on the case.
Can dental implants fail?
In spite of the excellent clinical results obtained with implants (93 to 97% success rate), there is a 3 to 7% rate of failure. No other dental treatment has such a high long-term success rate.
What happens if a dental implant fails?
If an implant fails, it is possible to substitute it for another one to solve the problem. Nevertheless, most of the implant-supported prosthesis are designed to work, even if an implant fails.
Will dental implants last a lifetime?
In medicine it is complex to say that a treatment will last a lifetime, especially in this case because of the fact that teeth are a tool that we use constantly, every day, subjecting them to a lot of pressures and forces while being placed in a humid and very septic environment (the mouth). There are multiple studies, some over 35 years old, that show very high long-term success rates for dental implants. The most recent studies indicate that 90% of the implants placed 10 years ago, are still working properly today. This is much higher than the 50% ten-year success rate described for tooth-supported bridges or dentures.
Is dental implant treatment expensive?
Dental implant treatment is sophisticated and demands a very complex armamentarium. More than one experienced professional (specialist) is required. The components used have to be very precise, and precious metal alloys (gold, silver, palladium) have to be used in the prosthetic phase. The implants and the prosthetic components have to be from a recognized brand. All of this makes dental implant treatment more expensive than tooth supported treatment, at first. But over time, since implant treatments last longer, require less maintenance and lead to less additional procedures, like the redoing of tooth-supported bridges or dentures (which sometimes implies root canals, extraction of supporting teeth, longer bridges, etc.); implant treatment becomes actually less expensive, and will prevent the loss of more natural teeth.