Most Common Questions about Dental Implants
At our office we meet new patients every day and they ask us so many questions about dental implants. Let the following most common questions & answers about dental implants serve as your guide to finding the information you need to make good decisions about your dental health.
1. Are Dental Implants Safe?
Yes, dental implants are very safe. The body accepts them as if they are natural parts of the body. This concept is called “osseointegration”. Between 97% and 100% of patients receiving dental implant surgery will successfully have success.
2. How long do they last?
Dental implants, when free from infections, will last a lifetime.
3. How much dental implants cost?
One of the most common questions about dental implants it’s about costs. It is impossible to put a flat price on the surgery or the restorative phase. The treatment fee is based on the number of implants placed during the surgery and the specific type, material, size of the project. Most Dental offices will provide an estimate for the work expected to be accomplished. Some offices will also provide this estimate at no charge to the patient.
4. How do they work?
Dental implants basically serve as anchors or posts. They are the replacement of the tooth roots. Dental Implants are made out of medical grade titanium, they have external screw threads of anchoring to the bone, and have an internal screw thread for securing with small screws various teeth components.
5. What are the various types of teeth components secured to a dental implant?
This is a more technical question about dental implants but it’s important to know that there are a variety of components that can be attached to a dental implant. This is one of the reasons there are no flat fees. The possibilities are too many to have just one outcome and one price. When reading and researching dental implants, it is important to understand the terminology used.
Here is a summary of the various parts and components used in Implant Dentistry:
Dental Implant Crown
– single tooth attached permanently to a dental implant.
Dental Implant Bridge
– multiple teeth connected to each other permanently attached to dental implants.
– complete set of teeth in one arch connected to each other, permanently attached to 4 dental implants. Variations exist, where there might be 5 or 6 dental implants supporting the arch.
– a denture which snaps to dental implants and gains stability and retention.
The most common implant connection to an Overdenture. The component gets installed to the implant after the bone and gum tissue are completely healed and snaps into a receiving “button” or “housing” installed in the tissue-side of a denture. It allows the patient to remove the denture with relative ease for daily hygiene and maintenance. It retains the denture during speaking, function and mastication. There are also several other variations, all accomplishing the same result, notably Locator R-Tx and O-Ball.
6. How do dental implants feel compared to teeth?
The main difference between dental implants and natural teeth is the connection to the underlying bone. Dental Implants are surrounded intimately by the jaw bone. Teeth are actually surrounded by small attachments called ligaments anchoring the tooth to the bone called periodontal ligaments. The space around tooth roots is several fractions of a millimeter (ranges between 0.15-0.40 mm wide). It is in this space, blood vessels and most importantly nerve endings are present.
These nerve endings provide us with sensitivity when biting and chewing. We “feel” through our teeth with the help of these special tiny nerve endings. Dental implants have virtually no movement, no space, no ligaments and have virtually no sensation or perception compared to natural teeth.
7. What is their maintenance schedule?
Dental Implants are maintained much like natural teeth. Patients are encouraged to maintain excellent oral hygiene by brushing and flossing and visit their hygienist for a professional dental cleaning as prescribed by their dentist. Most dentists recommend cleanings be performed every 6 months, unless there has been a history of periodontal infections in which case dental cleanings will be recommended at every 3-4 months.
8. Do dental implants have complications or even fail? How do they fail? Can dental implants be taken out?
Dental Implant can develop complications. Most can be addressed in a successful manner. When complications cannot be managed successfully, the dental implants are removed. Here is a list of the most common causes of failure:
Gum disease, similar to natural teeth gum disease.
Small amounts of dental cement used in attaching teeth to abutments accidentally remaining under the gum tissue attracting and harboring oral bacteria leading to gum and bone infections. Surprisingly, this can happen even many years after the dental cement was used during installation of the new teeth.
An improper teeth bite which overpowers the ability of the bone to remain healthy around the dental implant
Dental Implant or Restoration Screw Loosening and screw breaking.
Bone Atrophy and Gums Recession. A natural process by which bone resorps and shrinks following teeth extractions. The gum tissue follows the bone, pulling away from the original location. This leads to exposed abutments and even exposed areas of the dental implant.
Restorations Breaking, fracturing or chipping. This is due to either a material failure or/and abnormally strong bite forces.
9. What types of dental work can dental implants be used for?
Single Tooth Missing
- Fixed Implant Crown (non-removable)
Several Teeth Missing
- Fixed Implant Partial Denture/Bridge
- Removable Implant Partial Denture/OverPartial
All Teeth Missing
- Fixed Implant Complete Denture/All on 4 / Hybrid Denture
- Removable Implant Complete Denture/Overdenture
- Multiple Crowns and/or Bridges
10. Can people with diabetes benefit from dental implants?
Yes, diabetic patients could receive dental implants so long the diabetes is well controlled. Diabetes is considered well controlled when the A1c is under 6.5. There is an increase risk of healing failure when the A1c is between 6.5 and 8.0. There is a considerable risk of healing failure when the A1c is above 8.es.
11. If I smoke will I be able to get dental implants?
Smoking is a risk factor for for implant failure not a strict contra-indication. Smokers are advised and encouraged to cease smoking for a period of time prior to receiving dental implants. Smoking is also a risk factor for getting gum disease around implants, which ultimately leads to implant failure. Smoking is discouraged in patients who have or want to have dental implants. Whether or not your dentist will accept to participate in your treatment is a personal decision between you and your dentist.
12. Does Medicare pay for dental implants?
Medicare does not cover dental implants. Medicare does not cover dental implants as the dental industry and most dental patients think of dental implants. However, there are a very small number of dentists in the US who claim they are able to help patients receive reimbursement from the Medicare system.
They claim the necessity of bone grafting and bone anchors (dental implants) as a means to underwrite the dental implant treatment. Since this is not a common practice in the United States and it borders moral and integrity boundaries, our office does not engage in such practices.