Dental Implants

Despite dental care improvements, millions of people in America experience tooth loss -- mainly because of injury, periodontal disease, or tooth decay. For years, the only available options for treatment for those who have missing teeth were dentures and bridges. However, dental implants are available today.

Dental Implants: What are they?

Dental implants are replacement tooth roots. They offer a solid foundation for permanent (fixed) or removable replacement teeth made to match the natural teeth.

Benefits of Dental Implants

There are several benefits of dental implants, which includes:

  • An improvement in appearance. Dental implants feel and look like your own teeth. Plus, because they’re made to fuse with bone, dental implants become permanent.
  • An improvement in speech. The teeth, with ill-fitting dentures, may slip inside your mouth and cause you to slur your words or mumble. Dental implants enable you to talk without the concern that teeth may slip.
  • An improvement in comfort. Dental implants become a part of you, so they eliminate the pain of removable dentures.
  • Easier eating. A sliding denture may make chewing a challenge. Dental implants work like your own natural teeth, enabling you to eat any type of food without pain and with confidence.
  • An improvement in self-esteem. Dental implants may improve your self-esteem and give you back your smile.
  • An improvement in oral health. Dental implants do not require decreasing other teeth, like tooth-supported bridges will. Because teeth nearby aren’t structurally changed to support your implant, more of your real teeth are left intact, which improves long-term mouth health. Also, individual dental implants allow more convenient access between the teeth, which improves hygiene.
  • Durability. They’re extremely durable and last for decades. With the right care, many dental implants last a person’s entire life.
  • Convenience. A removable denture is just that; removable. Dental implants remove the humiliating inconvenience of taking out dentures, in addition to the necessity of messy dental adhesives that keep them in position.

Success Rate of Dental implants

The success rate of dental implants varies, depending upon where inside the jaw they’re placed, but generally they have a 98 percent. With the right care, they may last a lifetime.

Dental Implants: Can Anyone Get Them?

In the majority of instances, anyone who is healthy enough to go through oral surgery or a regular dental extraction may be considered for an implant. Patients at our Spokane dentist must have healthy gums and sufficient bone to hold the dental implant. In addition, they should be dedicated to regular dental visits and good oral hygiene. Heavy smokers, those experiencing uncontrolled chronic disorders -- like heart disease or diabetes -- or the ones who’ve undergone radiation therapy to the neck/head area should be examined on an individual basis. If you’re considering dental implants, speak with the best Spokane dentist to check if they’re the right choice for you.

Will Insurance Cover the Expense of Dental implants?

Generally, dental implants aren’t covered by insurance at this point. Coverage with your medical plan might be possible, depending upon your insurance plan and/or the tooth loss cause. In-depth queries concerning your personalized needs, as well as how they associate with your insurance must be addressed with your insurance provider and dentist.

What’s Involved in Getting an Implant?

Step one in the implant process involves the creation of an individualized treatment strategy. The strategy covers your unique needs and is completed by a staff of professionals experienced and specially trained in restorative dentistry and oral surgery. That team approach offers coordinated care based upon the dental implant option that’s most suitable for your situation.

Then the root implant, (small post designed of titanium), is positioned into the missing tooth’s bone socket. As the patient’s jawbone heals, it will grow around the implanted post, which anchors it securely inside the jaw. The process of healing may take from 6 - 12 weeks.

When the implant bonds to the jawbone, an abutment (tiny connector post) gets attached to the metal post to hold it securely to the new tooth. In order to make the new teeth or tooth, the dental provider will make an impression of the teeth and create a model of your bite (which records all your teeth, their arrangement, and their type). The new teeth or tooth is based on that model. Then, a replacement tooth (crown) is attached to the small connector post.

Rather than one or more individual dental crowns, some people might have attachments positioned on the dental implant that support and retain a removable denture. Also, the dentist matches the shade of your new teeth to your normal teeth. Because the dental implant is secured inside your jawbone, all replacement teeth function, feel, and look like your natural teeth.

How Uncomfortable Are Dental implants?

Most patients who’ve received dental implants claim that there’s very little pain involved in the treatment. Local anesthetics may be used while the procedure is happening, and most people state that dental implants involve less discomfort than tooth removal. After the implant, mild soreness may be treated using Motrin or Tylenol.

Ways Dental Implants are Assessed for Safety

Usually, implant systems are designed of materials following international consensus standards of ASTM International or the ISO (International Organization for Standardization). Such standards have guidelines of what deems a material to be safe. The majority of implant systems are designed of zirconium oxide or titanium. Other types of materials like cobalt-based alloys, gold alloys, ceramic materials or titanium alloys are periodically used. The safety of such materials are well-known.

Implant systems are assessed according to standards placed forth by international consensus. Biocompatibility testing which shows that bodily contact with the device doesn’t produce complications such as allergic reaction or irritation, is a part of the assessment that assists in ensuring that the materials inside the implant system are safe and don’t generate adverse effects once implanted in patients. For a manufacturer to market implant systems in the U.S., they have to initially show the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that their systems are as effective and safe as implant systems already being sold.

How to Care for Dental Implants

Dental implants require the exact same care as natural teeth, which includes flossing, brushing, rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash, as well as routine check-ups. For more questions you have about dental implants that were not covered here, please feel free to get in touch with one of our friendly associates here at Spokane Dental at (509) 822-5614.