Implants are a popular and effective tooth replacement option.

If you’re missing one or more teeth, choosing the right tooth replacement option can go a long way toward protecting your oral health, restoring the function of your teeth, and rebuilding your self-confidence. Dental implants consist of a titanium rod that’s implanted into your jawbone and topped with a crown, bridge, or dentures; they mimic the feel, function, and appearance of your natural teeth so well that it’s easy to forget they’re replacements.

Although implants are both popular and effective, they’re complex and can be hard to understand if you’re just starting to look into them. We’ve put together a guide to implants to help you get a basic understanding of implants, their benefits, and whether or not you’d like to speak to Dr. Tomasik or Dr. Clor about them.

What benefits do dental implants provide that other treatments don’t?

Since dental implants can be capped with different tooth prosthetics, they can be adapted to meet your individual treatment needs. The biggest factor in the success of implants, however, is the fact that they’re embedded into your jaw to mimic the natural root of your tooth. This provides maximum stability and comfort, enabling your new tooth to look and feel natural on a level that other treatments simply can’t match. They’re held so firmly in place that you can keep eating your favorite foods—even with implant-supported dentures.

Additionally, while all tooth replacement options prevent your teeth from shifting in your mouth, implants are the only treatment that prevents bone loss in your jaw. Since other treatments are only surface-level, they can’t provide the stimulation your jawbone needs to prevent bone loss, but implants can. The metal rod acts as a tooth root and actually encourages bone growth, anchoring it more firmly in place and resolving a small amount of bone loss that may have already occurred.

How long does it take to get an implant?

Getting an implant involves multiple procedures and requires you to spend a lot of time healing, so it takes several months to complete the process. If you need a tooth extraction or bone graft before you can begin the process of getting an implant, expect to add several months to the timeline.

What’s the process to get an implant?

When you decide to get an implant, Dr. Tomasik or Dr. Clor will examine X-rays of your teeth and jaws to design a treatment plan specifically for you. Each procedure will be carried out under localized anesthesia, so you won’t feel any pain. If you need a tooth extraction or bone graft, you’ll need to heal for several months before you can begin the process of getting an implant.

The first procedure involves embedding the titanium rod into your jaw and requires you to heal for six to 12 weeks before the next step; this is so your jawbone can heal and grow around the implant, anchoring it even more firmly in place. Next, your dentist will reopen your gums to expose the tip of the implant and attach the abutment, which is where your crown or other dental restoration will sit. Then, they’ll take a mold of your teeth and send it to the outside lab, which will use it to create your restoration. You’ll need to heal for another two weeks before your dentist can place your crown and check that it fits well.

What can I expect from recovery?

During the healing process, you’ll experience some pain, minor bleeding at the surgery site, and swelling in your gums or face. All of this is easily managed by taking over-the-counter pain medications, applying ice packs to your face, eating soft food, and chewing on the unaffected side of your mouth. Contact your dentist if you notice signs of infection, such as a fever, pus, or skin that’s hot to the touch, or if the pain or swelling gets worse instead of better after the first day or two.

Who is a good fit for implants?

While dental implants are a great treatment for the majority of people, they’re not right for everyone. You need to have healthy gums in order to receive implants, so you may have to undergo treatment for periodontitis and commit yourself to great oral hygiene before receiving an implant. A different treatment is also probably better if you have too much bone loss in your jaw. Additionally, since implants require a lot of healing, people with chronic disorders that negatively affect healing or increase their chances of contracting an infection might not be a good fit for implants and need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

How do you care for dental implants?

Dental implants are incredibly easy to maintain, generally requiring the same level of care as your natural teeth. You should make a commitment to keep up a great oral hygiene routine, including flossing and using mouthwash at least once a day, brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, and visiting our office for regular evaluations. Implant-supported dentures may take a little more maintenance, but Dr. Tomasik and Dr. Clor will make sure you know exactly how to care for them. The implant itself will never need to be replaced, but eventually, the prosthesis on top of it will due to wear and tear.

How much do implants cost, and will my insurance help?

Most dental insurance companies don’t help with the cost of implants because they’re considered elective cosmetic procedures. It’s certainly worth checking with your insurance to see if they’ll cover a portion of your implants, but you’ll likely end up paying for most, if not all, of your treatment out-of-pocket. Additionally, since implants are so versatile and can be topped with different types of restorations, determining an average cost for them is incredibly difficult. When you visit Dr. Tomasik or Dr. Clor for a consultation, they can provide you with an estimate for the cost of your treatment.

Dental implants are the next best thing to natural teeth, mimicking them in more than just appearance; they work to protect your jaw and overall oral health in the same complex ways that the roots of your teeth do. They fulfill their job so well that you’ll forget they’re even there, providing you with the strength, comfort, and confidence of a naturally beautiful smile.

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