Dental implants: Answers to common questions

General-Dentistry

With the rising popularity of dental implants, more people are choosing implants as the definitive treatment option for replacing missing teeth. As awareness grows, the questions regarding the use of implants grows.

* What are dental implants?

Dental implants are commonly titanium implants that are placed within the jaw to support artificial teeth. They are placed to replace missing teeth. The most common type of implants is the ‘endosteal’ or ‘root form’ implant that resembles the root of a tooth. Other types include: subperiosteal, transosteal, plate-form, intra-mucosal, etc. Dental implants are a suitable alternative to conventional dental bridges, which are placed after preparation of the adjacent teeth.

* Are Implants aesthetic? Are they comfortable for chewing?

Once the gum tissue around the implant has healed properly, the implant looks completely natural. The skill of the restorative dentist plays a great role in determining the final appearance. Once the final prosthesis or crown is placed, the patient can chew naturally. Some experts say up to 90 percent of the chewing efficiency of natural teeth can be restored with dental implants.

* Are dental implants costly?

The placement of implants includes the cost of surgery, the implant, the final crown, radiographs, including CT (if needed) etc.. It can vary from one dentist to another and can depend on the type of implant being placed. Ask your dentist for further information regarding the fee.

* Is the implant surgery painful? Do I have to miss work the following day?

With modern local anesthetics and anti-inflamatories, the incidence of discomfort is extremely low. In fact implant surgery is less invasive than having a tooth pulled. Minimal discomfort and swelling can be expected after any surgical procedure. You may be given anti-inflamatories and antibiotics for a few days after the procedure. A day’s rest is normally advised. Avoid strenuous exercise and chew only soft food for a few days.

* What are the different methods of placing implants?

The placement of implants can be classified by timing of placing implants after extraction of tooth/teeth into:
1. Immediate post-extraction implant placement.
2. Delayed immediate post-extraction implant placement (2 weeks-3 months after extraction).
3. Late implantation (>3 months after extraction).

Dental implants can be classified into: Immediate loading, early loading and delayed loading depending on the timing of placement of load on the implant. Delayed loading implants take 3-6 months for the entire procedure to heal.