What is a Dental Implant?
Implants are a tooth replacement option that involves placing a new "root" into the bone of your jaw. Once this titanium "root" has fused with your bone it can be used to support a crown, bridge or denture. These implants can also be used to replace partials and other forms of dentures. The success rate for dental implants are extremely high and is due in part to the fact that root-form implants are made of a biocompatible material, titanium. Because titanium is accepted so well by the human body, it is also used for orthopedic implants, such as hip and knee replacements. Dental Implants have now become the standard for replacing older dentistry and missing teeth because they look and feel like your natural teeth and have a higher success rate than all other forms of tooth replacement. The initial cost is generally higher for an implant over other forms of tooth replacement, but the long term benefits easily outweigh the difference in additional cost. An investment in implant dentistry is an investment in overall health, appearance and well being, as it involves preserving the integrity of facial structures, as well as replacing missing teeth.
- Eliminates the need to "cut down" the neighboring teeth to make a bridge.
- Maintains the jawbone structure.
- Feels and functions like natural teeth.
- Does not rely on other teeth for support.
- Replaces partial plates and may be used to secure loose dentures.
- Cleaned and flossed like a natural tooth.
Single Tooth Implants
Do you have missing teeth? It is critically important to replace missing teeth. Eating and chewing with missing teeth can sabotage your bite and lead to incessant discomfort. Missing teeth can give rise to a mouth rearrangement that often results in facial changes that look decrepit.
A single tooth implant procedure may be done if a tooth has been extracted or is missing. A titanium implant base is placed into the jawbone to resemble the tooth root. We allow a period of time for the jawbone to heal over the implant base before fitting for a crown.
Next, an abutment is screwed into the base of the implant to allow for a crown to be fitted on top. Finally, a custom fabricated crown is placed over the abutment to function like a real tooth.
Multiple Tooth Implants
Multiple tooth implants may be placed if you need or desire to permanently replace an extracted or lost tooth. Titanium implant bases are placed into the jawbone to replace the job of the tooth roots. We allow a period of time to allow for the jawbone to heal over the bases before fitting for a crown. Next, abutments are screwed into the bases of the implants to allow crowns to be attached. Finally, custom fabricated crowns are placed over the abutments and will function like a real tooth.
Full Arch Implants
If you have slipping dentures and are tired of being self-conscious about the thought of losing them at an inopportune moment, a full arch implant might be the solution for you. Dental implants that can be placed to accept a full arch of teeth. This is done by strategically placing implants along the upper or lower jaw and attaching a denture-like attachment over abutments on the implant posts. Once placed, a full arch using implants will feel and perform like natural teeth. You will be able to chew with confidence and never have to worry again about losing your dentures.
Am I a candidate for dental implant treatment?
If you are missing one or more teeth and in general good health, you are a candidate for dental implant treatment. There are a few qualifying factors that need to be addressed:
- Quality and quantity of available bone for implant placement.
- Uncontrollable diabetes or other medical conditions.
Overall, there are very few conditions that would keep someone from having implant treatment. Even people who have lost a significant amount of bone can qualify for dental implant treatment; although, an additional procedure(s) to add bone or to create new bone may be necessary. Advances in this type of treatment have made it possible for most people who would not previously have been considered candidates to have successful implant treatment.
Is dental implant treatment covered by my insurance?
Dental insurance coverage of implant treatment depends on your individual policy. Dental benefits are determined by the amount an employer is willing to spend on the policy. Generally, dental policies cover basic routine preventive maintenance, basic care and emergencies. Most insurance plans only cover the basics with an annual maximum allowable benefit of $1,000-$1,500. Most insurance plans do not include dental implant coverage; however, often they will pay the same benefit they would cover for the lowest cost alternative treatment option (partials and dentures) and some of the diagnostic records, if a specific request is made for alternative benefits. You should review your both your dental insurance plan and your medical insurance plan. Medical coverage is very rare and Medicare does not cover implant treatment. All in all, it is best to assume that there is no medical insurance coverage available.
After Placement of Dental Implants
Do not disturb the wound. Avoid rinsing, spitting, or touching the wound on the day of surgery. There will be a metal healing abutment protruding through the gingival (gum) tissue.
BLEEDING. Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for 24 hours. Excessive bleeding can be controlled by biting on a gauze pad placed directly on the bleeding area for 30 minutes. If bleeding continues please call the office for further instructions.
SWELLING. Swelling around the mouth, cheeks, eyes and sides of the face is not uncommon as it is the body's normal process in repairing itself. Swelling does not always appear immediately. It may take 12 to 24 hours before swelling becomes apparent. Swelling may not reach its maximum until 2-3 days post-surgery. Swelling may be minimized by the immediate use of ice packs post-surgery. Two baggies filled with ice, or ice packs should be applied to the sides of the face where surgery was performed. The ice packs should be left on continuously while you are awake. After 36 hours, ice has no beneficial effect. If swelling or jaw stiffness has persisted for several days call the office.
DIET. Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid hot liquids or hot food. Soft food and liquids should be eaten on the day of surgery. Return to a normal diet as soon as possible unless otherwise directed.
PAIN MEDICATION. You should begin taking pain medication as soon as you feel the local anesthetic wearing off. For moderate pain, 1 or 2 Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol may be taken every 3-4 hours. Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) may be taken instead of Tylenol. Ibuprofen, bought over the counter comes in 200 mg tablets: 2-3 tablets may be taken every 3-4 hours as needed for pain. For severe pain, the prescribed medication should be taken as directed. Be sure to take the prescribed antibiotics as directed to help prevent infection. Do not take any of the above medication if you are allergic, or have been instructed by Locascio Family Dentistry not to take it.
HOME HYGIENE CARE. The night of surgery, use the prescribed Peridex Oral Rinse before bed. The day after surgery, the Peridex should be used twice daily, after breakfast and before bed. Be sure to rinse for at least 30 seconds then spit it out. Warm salt water rinses (teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) should be used at least 4-5 times a day, as well, especially after meals. Brushing your teeth and the healing abutments is no problem, but be gentle initially with brushing the surgical areas. Good oral hygiene is essential to good healing.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. Physical activity could cause throbbing or bleeding of the surgical implant area.
WEARING DENTURES. You will always have teeth during your recovery period. Temporary partial dentures or full denture arches should not be used immediately after surgery and for at least 10 days.