What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a small titanium screw that is placed into the bone where the roots of teeth were once present. It replaces the root portion of the missing tooth or teeth. Titanium is very compatible with bone and therefore fuses to the bone serving as an anchor to replace the tooth or teeth that have been lost. Dental implants have many benefits, but the most important one is that it prevents the jaw bone from shrinking. If the bone is allowed to shrink it can make your face look older than it is. Dental implants are safe, stable, and comfortable and no one would even know you have a dental implant. Dental implants are so reliable they can last a lifetime with proper care.   


Who places dental implants?

Dental implants are placed by skilled specialists such as Periodontists and Oral Surgeons. Once this phase of treatment is completed and the dental implant is fully Osseo-integrated (fused with the bone), you will return to your dentist to have the implant restored. The dentist will have the lab custom make a crown to fit over your titanium implant that will look and feel as natural as your own teeth.


Who is a candidate?

Anyone missing one or more teeth may be a candidate for dental implants. Your dentist will do a thorough exam and recommend a specialist to you to make sure you are a candidate. It is important to make sure there is enough bone in the area that will have the implant to be sure that the titanium screw will fuse to the bone and be stable. Health is also a determining factor as to whether or not you are able to have dental implants placed. Your dentist will make sure to go over your medical history and consult with the specialist to make sure you are healthy enough to get an implant. Age is not a determining factor.


How much do they cost?

Implant costs vary among specialists. It also depends on how many dental implants are being placed. In addition, additional fees apply once you return to your dentist to have the restoration (crown) completed.


Care of Implants

It is important to see your dentist or dental hygienist regularly (typically every 6 months or more frequently if advised) to have your dental implant examined, x-rayed, and cleaned properly. Implants are just like natural teeth and require the same care. It is also very important to make sure you are properly caring for your dental implant at home by properly brushing, flossing, and using a recommended mouth rinse.


Types of Implants

Implants can be placed to replace one or more missing teeth. Implants can also be placed for patients who currently wear dentures. Some patients choose to have implants placed to serve as an anchor for their denture. It makes the denture more stable and prevents the denture from moving in your mouth while talking or chewing.