Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about dental implants:
Q: How will I know if I’m healthy enough for dental implants?
A: An implant consultation can be performed to evaluate your mouth for the potential of using dental implants. Our office uses a clinical exam and an x-ray exam to determine your ability to receive implants. This exam is also an opportunity to discuss what type of implant replacement will work best for you. The X-ray exam will show how much bone is present in the locations where you will need the implants installed.
Q: How long do implants last?
A: Long-term research studies have shown that implants installed into solid bone can typically last for the patient’s entire lifetime. However, some dental implants can fail if the quality of the bone is not acceptable. This can cause bite stress for implants and contribute to a new implant’s requirement.
Q: Can my body reject the implant?
A: Rejection of the implant is very unlikely, and most are thriving. Dental implants differ from organ transplants since the implant is placed directly into the bone. The site implant’s success depends on a few factors, including the patient’s commitment to proper hygiene and preventative maintenance. As with other dental treatments, patients should receive regular follow-up care to ensure the long-term success of the implant.
Q: How do implants attach to the jaw?
A: Implants attach to the jaw bone by a process known as osseointegration. The length of time required for this process varies with the bone quality at the base of the implant.
Q: How much pain can I expect to experience?
A: There should be very little pain when the implants are installed. In most cases, a local anaesthetic is all that is needed to quell the pain. The amount of pain also depends on the number of implants placed and their location in the mouth.
Q: How long does the dental implant process take?
A: The implant procedure is typically divided into three phases:
After a detailed evaluation and treatment plan, placement of the implants occurs. This procedure is typically completed during a single visit to the doctor’s office, and most implants will remain covered, underneath the gums, for 3 to 6 months. Osseointegration occurs during this period, with the biological bonding of the jawbone to the implant. During this healing period, you will probably wear your modified denture or a temporary denture or bridge; a modified soft diet will be recommended for the first few weeks.
The second phase of treatment is typically 3-6 months after implant placement. To begin this phase, the top of the implants are uncovered from under the gums, and a small metal post will be attached to the implant(s). We will also make any necessary adjustments to your denture or bridge so you can continue wearing them.
In the third phase, which usually starts 2-6 weeks after the second phase, your new replacement teeth will be created and fitted. This phase may require a series of appointments where we make impressions of your mouth and allow you to try your replacement teeth to ensure the correct size, shape, fit, and colour. Total treatment time for most implant cases is typically 5-8 months, possibly longer if bone or gum procedures are needed.
Q: Do implants require special care?
A: The care required to maintain your implants differs significantly from your regular oral hygiene care. Be sure to brush your teeth and floss regularly. If there are any brutal-to-reach places around your implants, SuperFloss or floss with a stiff thread will allow you to clean those tough-to-reach areas.
Q: Can I still wear my dentures after having implants installed?
A: Post-surgical swelling may interfere with wearing full or partial dentures immediately after surgery. The patient may want to wait until after the swelling has gone down to wear their dentures again. Each case is different, so this should be discussed with your implant surgeon.