What is a dental implant? It can be described as an artificial root which is placed in a patient’s jaw.  Its role is to hold a replacement tooth or a bridge in place.  Dental implants are a wonderful option for people who have lost teeth due to accidents, gum disease, injuries etc.  They serve the same function as natural teeth and help people to eat and speak normally.  Dental implants also help people with general and oral health.

Ideal candidates for Implants

Types of available implants

Endosteal implants:  This is the most common kind of implant offered by dentists to their patients.  Steel or titanium screws, blades and cylinders are inserted into the jaw surgically so that they can hold prosthetic teeth. After surgery, patients have to wait for the gum and jaw to heal before a tooth or bridge can be added on.  Bridges and removable implants are the options available to patients with this type of implant.

Subperiosteal implants: This type of implant is placed on the jawbone.  The frame has posts which come up through the gum to hold the artificial tooth in place.  This implant is used for people who have minimal bone growth in their jaw to take endosteal implants.

Ideal candidates for Implants:

People who are in good health can get dental implants. A dentist will ensure that patients meet the criteria before deciding a course of treatment. Periodontists are specialists who work with dentists and other professionals to ensure that your new teeth function well.

What does an Implant procedure involve?

It takes team work between the periodontist, cosmetic dentists and the patient to get the job done.  The doctors talk to a patient and inform him/her on what is required and how the implant will be placed.  Depending on a patient’s oral condition and type of implant needed, a plan is chalked out.

  • Replacing one tooth is easy. It requires just one implant and crown.
  • Replacing several teeth requires a different approach. Bridges can be used in this case and these support the new teeth. Some teeth may have to be extracted to make this possible.
  • Replacing all teeth can be done with an implant supported bridge or a full set of dentures.
  • Augmenting the sinuses: Since the sinuses play an important role in the head, they play an important role in the process. The quality and quantity of bone are crucial. The upper jaw and back of the mouth is a difficult area to work as it is close to the sinuses.  Surgery is usually suggested to augment the sinuses. Augmentation surgery is done to help in growing more bone to hold the implants.
  • Modifying ridges: In case a patient has some deformity in the upper or lower jaw bone, this could mean less bone mass to hold implants. Surgeons expose the ridge by taking gum tissues out. The defect is corrected with bone substitute or other materials to build a ridge which can hold the implants.  This procedure has helped many to get successful implants and also have a better appearance.

What can implant patients expect after their surgery?

After the surgery is done, patients have to take care of their teeth like regular teeth. Flossing, brushing, getting regular checkups are all part of the process.  Periodontists will consult with a patient’s regular dentist to create an oral care plan so that the implants are healthy and last a lifetime. The success rate for implants varies depending on a person’s health and requirements.

Subperiosteal implants

Do insurance companies cover the cost of Implants?

Most insurance carriers do not cover the cost of implants as it is considered cosmetic surgery.  Getting coverage may be possible depending on the policy and also a patient’s health.  It is a good idea to check and also have the dentist put in a word.  Details should be discussed so that costs can be taken care of.

Is the Implant process painful?

Most patients don’t experience any discomfort with the procedure.  Surgery is performed under local anesthesia.  Patients get instructions on care for the first few days and soreness is treated with medication.  If there is any problem, it is best to go back to the dentist and get it addressed immediately.