The Most Important Questions Surrounding Dental Implants
If you have missing or loose teeth, you may have already been advised by your dentist at CITIDental Tremont of Boston that the best replacement is a dental implant. There are important reasons having to do with not risking further loss of teeth, changes in your jawbone, oral health complications, the ability to chew, and aesthetics.
Can’t I just ignore the missing tooth, since the gap doesn’t show?
The problem is that the mouth tries to fill in the gap by having the neighboring teeth lean towards it, which causes a chain reaction of loosened teeth that become themselves in danger of falling out. This is the major reason why 69% of those 35-44 have lost at least one tooth, but 26% of those over 74 have no teeth left. The cause is usually poor oral hygiene and not treating the periodontal disease (dental infection of gums and jaw) that results.
If I have lots of missing teeth wouldn’t it be less expensive to just wear a denture, instead of having dental implants?
Unfortunately, dentures do not stop the loss of jawbone that starts when teeth are missing. That’s why they have to be adjusted every five years or so to maintain the ability to chew and speak clearly. When you calculate that dental implants can last the rest of your life with proper care, they are very cost-effective (the price varies with each individual’s unique case).
But doesn’t getting implants involve a lot of painful surgery?
No. Your dentist will use a local anesthetic injection to completely numb the area and most patients just feel some pressure as the implant is put into the empty socket. If you have anxiety about the process, we can provide nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas), which relaxes those who inhale it. You will be given a prescription for a standard pain medication afterwards.
What happens after the implant is inserted?
The area is allowed to heal for a few months and then it is attached by a screw to a dental crown, which looks just like the visible part of the tooth it replaces. We may make it in our office with a specialized machine if it is made of dental porcelain. If another material is chosen, our dentist will take an impression of the area at the time the implant is inserted into the jaw and send it for crafting by a top dental laboratory.
Is everyone a good candidate for implants?
No. Heavy smokers, patients with advanced osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, or autoimmune disorders, and those who have had head or neck radiation are at much higher risk for failure. But 95% of dental implants are successful for those who initially qualify.