Dental Implants: Complete Guide to Procedure, Costs, Risks and more

Dental implants can fill critical gaps in your teeth. Learn how that happens.

Interested in dental implants? Dentists say it's a good decision

Losing a tooth can alter one's self-confidence, making them more and more conscious of talking. Moreover, tooth loss can also cause irregularities in biting habits, which can result in eating disorders.

Dental implants replace the missing teeth, giving you more confidence and a better relationship with food. They also enable you to stimulate the jawline, maintaining the shape and supporting facial features.


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What does a dental implant look like?

Dental implants look like a ‘screw-like’ anchor. They are used as an artificial replacement for natural teeth. An implant is made of a material that agrees with the human body, like titanium. They attach the jawbone and gum tissue, providing a stable base for dentures, bridges, or dental crowns.

Dental implants can either be used to replace a single tooth or several teeth and are used to provide additional support to full dentures. As crowns and implants stay inside the mouth, they do not need any adhesive to stay in place. Among all the restoration options, dental implants look nearest to natural teeth.

What are the different types of dental implants?

A number of companies out in the market manufacture dental implants. Depending on your preferences and the materials used in their production, dentists recommend which one is best suited for you. A dental implant's cost is also dependent on the type you opt for.

Single Tooth Implant If you are missing only one tooth, these are the ones for you. They are drilled into the jawbone via a screw and act as a permanent replacement where the tooth is lost.

All-on-4 Dental Implants They are used for patients with multiple missing teeth. All-on-four protocol offers four implants installed in the jaw bone that supports the upper and lower jaw. When the patient has multiple gaps that require filling, all-on-4 implants are an ideal option as they support the entire arch, giving a natural traditional denture-like look.

Implant-supported Dentures This term refers to the dentures that are supported by four or more implants. This specific type of denture is not placed on top of gums but instead gets installed in the jaw bone. They require proper cleaning and maintenance, which can only be provided by a dental health practitioner.

What exactly is bone grafting?

The success of tooth implant surgery is dependent on the jaw bone of the patient. To support such bones, it is crucial to have enough bone on the location. In case of significant bone loss at the site of the missing tooth, a bone graft might be needed.

Bone grafting is a procedure through which a piece of bone from one location is used to fill in another location where there is tooth loss, and can give the best results to patients.

Dentists might use artificial materials to support the formation of the jawbone. Advanced techniques are typically implemented to support the faster formation of bone in areas where grafting has been done.

Three-step procedure for getting a dental implant

The tooth implant procedure might take three to six months of time to conclude. It is a three-step process, which includes the following stages:

  • Firstly, the damaged tooth is removed. Then an implant is screwed in the jaw to prevent debris from entering it. It takes three to six months for the implant to fuse into the jawbone. During this time, the gum is secured over the implant.

  • On your return visit to the dentist, the implant is first uncovered and then attached to an implant called a 'post'. After gum issues around the post heal, the implant acts as the foundation for the new tooth.

  • In the last step, a crown that best fits the natural teeth in terms of size, shape, and color is made. After it, the crown is attached to the implant post to complete the process.

Tooth implant cost depends on how many are needed and the materials used in manufacturing.

Recovery and after-care

The recovery period after dental implants depends on many factors, like the procedures involved in the treatment. After the implant, it is important to follow a good oral hygiene routine as it helps in proper integration with the bone structure. Ignoring proper brushing and flossing can result in failure of the treatment and infections. Smoking is also discouraged after implants.

In the case of provisional restorations, it is important to be mindful of cleanliness to assure the best healing. The discomfort should be minimal after the surgical procedure. Swollen gums are expected, as well as minor bleeding where an implant is installed. Dentists might prescribe you pain relievers to help you through the situation. Moreover, the diet should also be restricted to soft food. Self-dissolving stitches are typically used in the process and hence do not require separate removal.

Healing time after dental implant surgery is up to six months. On the other hand, seating and fitting of the crown can take nearly two months. However, there is no definite time frame, and it depends on the case. If proper care is taken, the implant can last a lifetime.

What is the cost of dental implants?

Dental implant’s cost varies according to several factors, like how many teeth need replacements, the need for a bone graft, or a sinus lift. If you are wondering how much dental implants go for, the price can range from $3,000 to $6,500 per tooth.

The average tooth implant’s cost per tooth is $5,563, according to the natural dental fee survey 2017. In case you also require a sinus lift or bone graft, a single implant can cost nearly $11,500.

Are there any risks involved with dental implants? If so, what are they?

Although tooth implant procedures have a high success rate, it still does not rule out the possibility of complications in some cases. Nearly 5% to 10% of the dental implants fail shortly after getting the procedure done.

If you are considering getting dental implants done, you must consider the following possibilities of complications. Two common issues that you can encounter are:

The risk of infection

If the dentist uses strict infection control procedures during the treatment, the chances of infection are successfully lowered. However, as the mouth is full of bacteria, poor infection control can result in complications.

Peri-implantitis is the most common type of complication during the dental implant; it is a gum disease that can lead to bone loss and implant failure. If left untreated for a long time, it can cause sinus infections and, in some cases, life-threatening diseases like septicemia. Usually, some teeth are removed from the jawbone to contain the infection.

Poor positioning of implants

Dental implants must be properly positioned and should mimic the natural jawline for ensuring long-term usage. If they are not correctly positioned, the patient can encounter problems like difficulty to maintain hygiene, chewing, eating disorders, and in some cases, irreversible issues like ulcers.

In the case of poor positioning of implants, the only solution is to remove it, and the dental implant procedure is to be conducted again from scratch.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of dental implants over dentures?

Better eating and chewing: Tooth loss can make the relationship with food quite unhealthy as you mostly rely on softer foods. Getting a dental implant will fix it.

  • Taking care of speech issues: Tooth loss can make the speech awkward as well due to lisp or whistling sound. Implants correct the issue by covering the gap and fixing the lineup of the teeth.
  • Improved dental hygiene: Dental implants fit and align alongside the natural teeth, giving improved access for brushing in between, flossing and mouth-washing. The gum line also receives thorough cleaning during the process.
  • Better than dentures and bridges: Dentures and bridges might not be a comfortable choice for everyone, as removing and cleaning them can be inconvenient. Dental implants provide a more comfortable, permanent, and sustainable solution to the problem.
  • Wear better and longer-lasting: Natural teeth have enamel that is at the risk of chipping and erosion. On the other hand, implants are made of acrylic and wear better. They can even last up to 25 years with proper maintenance.
  • Well-suited for facial bone growth: If a gap caused due to tooth loss is left untreated for a long time, it can lead to deterioration of the jaw bone. Dental implants stimulate bone growth where an extraction has proceeded.

Dental implants vs. bridges: How do they both compare?

The following factors are typically observed in a bridges vs tooth implant scenario.

  • Dental implants last nearly 15 years on average, while bridges last 5 to 7 years.
  • Another difference is how much dental implants are for. Bridges are covered in some health insurance extras policies, but implants are not.
  • Some bone or gum can be lost after the bridge is fitted, while an implant prevents bone loss.
  • Implants can be taken care of with regular brushing and flossing, while bridges require extra specialized maintenance.
  • Both of them look natural. However, dental implants look nearest to the natural teeth.
  • Implants require multiple visits spread over the course of 2 to 6 months, while bridges can be fitted in 2 to 3 dentist appointments.

Can dental implants last forever?

Your dental implant can last a lifetime if proper care is taken. However, contrary to that, all other artificial tooth replacements like bridges, dentures, or dental crowns have a lifespan, which is generally between 5 to 10 years.

How long is the procedure for dental implants?

The dental implant procedure of installing a single dental implant takes nearly 1 to 2 hours. A few weeks, or months after the implant has been integrated, the dental health practitioner begins constructing a bridge or crown.
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