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What is a dental implant?

Dental implants have three parts: 1.) the post, usually titanium, that takes the place of your missing tooth’s root; 2.) the abutment, built into the post to connect it to your replacement tooth; and 3.) the replacement (false) tooth, custom-made to match your other teeth.

Why are dental implants so popular?

Implants are an excellent alternative to dentures and bridges: they not only restore your smile and ability to speak and eat normally, but they also preserve your bone and facial structure, prevent adjacent teeth from shifting (which can alter your bite), and are as easy to maintain as natural teeth.

Does getting dental implants hurt?

As implant technologies have become more sophisticated over the years, the pain involved has been greatly reduced. Today, computer-assisted planning before surgery results in more efficient implant placement, less patient discomfort, a reduced or eliminated need for bone grafting, and an easier recovery. With proper sedation and adherence to home instructions, many patients return to work and regular activities the next day.

I’m not sure I can afford implants. Are they expensive?

The cost – as well as the process – depends on your needs. When you come to Wilmington Oral Surgery to discuss implants, we conduct a brief exam, take X-rays and ask questions to determine a plan and what the fees will be. We then explore what your insurance will pay, and go over other payment options to set your mind at ease about affordability.

Because they last longer than dentures and bridges, implants are often not more expensive than these less permanent alternatives in the long run.

How long does it take to get dental implants?

That depends on your situation. Your medical and dental history, the health of your jawbone, and the techniques we plan to use all go into the treatment plan, which includes a timeline.

The entire process, can take up to 9 months to complete. But in many cases, we can remove teeth, place the implants, and deliver fixed prostheses in a single treatment visit. (Two to four appointments are needed prior to the day of surgery).

How do I know if I am a good candidate for implants?

You are a good candidate if:

  • Your jawline has stopped growing.
  • You have good bone density. Through bone grafts, even people with bone loss can get implants, but the process is more complex.
  • You practice good oral hygiene and have good gum health. Patients with active periodontal disease cannot get implants until the disease is completely gone.
  • You are willing to commit to after-surgery recommendations. The implant process is usually straightforward, but you must be willing to commit to excellent oral hygiene for several months during healing, and not smoke or drink alcohol, both of which can interfere with healing.

If you are considering implants, a brief exam, interview and X-rays at Wilmington Oral Surgery will be able to determine whether you are now or can become a good candidate.

What about safety?

Dental implants have been used for half a century and are safe. As with any medical procedure, however, there can be complications. Before surgery, we will review your health history and any habits which could affect the success of your implants — such as smoking — so you are fully informed about the risks and benefits.

How do I take care of my dental implants?

This is part of the beauty of implants: they are as easy to care for as your natural teeth! Most of our patients even forget they have implants after healing is complete. All you do is brush, floss and visit your dentist for regular cleanings and check-ups, just as you do for your natural teeth.

What are the drawbacks?

Dental implants are an excellent solution to missing teeth, unstable dentures, speech/smile/eating problems caused by dentures, lack of back teeth on which to attach a bridge, and the hassle of taking care of dentures.

But implants aren’t for everyone. Your oral and overall health and lifestyle all play a role in whether implants will be a success for you.

If you would like to learn more about dental implants, call Wilmington Oral Surgery for a free consultation any time.

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