COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT IMPLANT DENTISTRY
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are a long-lasting way to restore a missing tooth, or missing teeth, using a titanium root. People missing teeth can have trouble chewing, smiling, or speaking, which lowers their quality of life. Implants are placed directly in the bone of the jaw, giving them the strength, appearance, and feel of natural teeth.
Should I get a dental implant?
The best way to determine if you’re an implant candidate is to come down to our San Francisco dental clinic for a complimentary consultation. We’ll take a look, talk with you about what your goals are, and determine together if a tooth implant, or multiple teeth implants, is right for you.
Implants are a great solution for missing or problem teeth for adult patients. Research shows that, once the jaw is finished growing (which happens around age 18), age is no longer a deciding factor on whether or not you’re a good candidate. Dr. Young has placed implants in patients over 90 years old. If you’re an older patient, Dr. Young will work directly with your physician to evaluate your medications and make sure you’re in good health for the implant procedure.
How do dental implants work?
Implants are a conservative approach, dealing solely with an area missing a tooth. Dr. Young will take an x-ray and other diagnostic records to determine how and where the implant will be placed. It’s important to have a solid bone base to ensure the longevity of the implant. If your bone is shrunken or worn due to old age or a prolonged period of toothlessness, Dr. Young will do a bone graft to encourage growth before placing the implant.
If the bone is healthy and plentiful, as it is in many cases, you’ll come in for a quick surgical visit (30 minutes on average), during which Dr. Young will place the implant and set you up with a temporary restoration. Implant placement is a minimally-invasive, guided surgery, so most patients are able to return to work immediately after the procedure, and they feel little discomfort.
Over the following two or three weeks, your bone will naturally fuse to the implant, a natural process called osseointegration. Your jawbone responds positively to the titanium in the implant, tightening around it like a natural extension of the bone. After the bone has tightened around the implant base, you’ll come back in for your final restoration. Depending on the type of implant, this can be an artificial tooth that screws into the implant base or a crown, bridge, or full denture.
Do dental implants ever fail? Why?
The implant success rate for a healthy patient is 90 to 95%. But, occasionally, the bone does not fuse to the implant. In those rare cases, the implant is removed and another is placed. During this phase, Dr. Young will provide you with a reliable temporary, so you’ll stay comfortable and your appearance won’t be affected.
Another possible reason for implant failure is due to problems with cement restoration. Dr. Young uses screw restorations whenever possible, avoiding cement when he can, as it is less reliable. Screw-retained restorations are also great because they can be removed for cleaning and put back in with ease. Maintenance and hygiene are important to make sure your restoration and gums are clean, so the implant stays secure.
How much are dental implants?
The cost of dental implants is variable depending on what type of grafting, if any, is needed on the implant position. Many implants are covered by insurance, and Dr. Young can work directly with your insurance to determine if your insurance will cover the dental implant procedure. The best way to determine what the cost of your implant will be is to come in for a complimentary exam. Dr. Young will take a look at your condition and come up with a treatment plan, as well as possible financing options, if preferred. Dr. Young offers interest-free financing for up to six months through CareCredit. Additional financing can also be set up over two to five years. The application for CareCredit financing is available on Dr. Young’s website, and his team can help guide you through the process.
Are dental implants painful?
Before and during the implant procedure, Dr. Young will provided numbing or local anesthesia to provide comfort to the area. The surgery is very precise, so there’s minimal discomfort. If you’re dealing with a problem tooth that requires extraction, Dr. Young can do the extraction and the implant placement at the same visit, so less healing is required and discomfort is minimized.
Some bone grafting procedures are more invasive, and require a longer healing process. For those, there may be a little discomfort for the first few days of the healing process. Dr. Young can work with you to treat any discomfort you might experience.
For nervous patients, we can provide sedation options to help make you more comfortable.
How long do dental implants last?
Research shows that after implants integrate into the jaw they can last for 40 years or more. The key to longevity is placing the implant on good bone and maintaining good soft tissue with proper hygiene, maintenance, and home care. Frequent visits to the dentist will also help maintain the implant. Any top crown or dentures attached to the implant can last 10 to 20 years, and can be easily replaced.