What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a small titanium screw that functions like a natural tooth root. They can be used to replace a single lost tooth or many missing teeth.
The implant is surgically placed into the jaw bone and then bonds with the natural bone to serve as an anchor for a tooth replacement.
Dental implants can help to prevent surrounding teeth from shifting, resolve bite issues or jaw joint pain, and help restore facial tissues and appearance.
Why Replace Missing Teeth
If a tooth is missing, the teeth surrounding the gap may begin to shift out of place and cause misalignment issues. The jaw bone around the area may also begin to deteriorate, resulting in facial collapse or negatively impacting your ability to eat and talk.
The Dental Implant Procedure
The dental implant procedure requires a dental implant (titanium screw) and a tooth replacement.
Your dentist will begin by surgically placing the implant into your jawbone below the gum tissue. As the tissue heals, the implant bonds with the bone and attaches to the gums.
Once the healing is complete, generally 3 to 6 months post-surgery, patients return to our office to complete the procedure.
At this final appointment, your dentist will attach a tooth replacement, such as a dental crown, bridge or denture, to the implant to create the look and function of a natural tooth.
Dental Implant FAQs
Read the answers to our most frequently asked questions about dental implants at Alinea Dental.
- How long does a dental implant last?
If you care for your implant properly, it can last a lifetime. Proper care includes brushing and flossing at home, as well as attending regular hygiene cleanings and exams at your dental office.
The longevity of a dental implant may also depend on other factors including nutrition, genetics, or the development of any dental diseases.
- How do I care for my dental implants?
You should care for a dental implant just like you care for your natural teeth.
Visiting your dentist for regular hygiene appointments and maintaining a proper brushing and flossing routine at home can help prevent decay or diseases from developing in the surrounding teeth and gums, which can negatively affect your dental implants.
- Does getting a dental implant hurt?
During dental implant surgery, your dentist will administer anesthesia to make you comfortable so you won't feel pain during the procedure.
Following the procedure, there is not usually much discomfort. Most patients can manage any pain with over-the-counter pain medication for a few days after the procedure.
You will also need to eat a soft diet for the first couple of weeks after the implant procedure to avoid pain or irritation.
- How long does the dental implant process take?
The entire dental implant procedure usually takes about two to nine months to complete, depending on your treatment plan.
Your dentist can provide you with a more specific timeline based on your particular case.
- Will my insurance cover dental implants?
Some insurance companies will cover the cost of dental implants, while some will only pay for a portion of the cost, and others won't pay for any part of it.
To determine what part, if any, of your dental implant treatment will be covered by your insurance, check with your insurance provider.