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Dental Implants: The Basics

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What are dental implants?

Dental implants replace natural teeth and are typically made of titanium or ceramic. They must be placed into your mouth by a dental professional, usually one who specializes in this type of replacement like an oral surgeon or periodontist.

Who is a good candidate for dental implants?

Candidates for dental implants include people who are missing teeth (especially front teeth) from an accident, trauma, or tooth decay. If you have a damaged tooth, you may also be a candidate for implants. Check with your dentist to determine if the tooth is salvageable or if an implant is needed.

Will my dental implants fall out?

While it is always possible that real and implanted teeth will fall out, it is unlikely that dental implants will fall out. Titanium and ceramic implants are actually fused to the bone and become a fully integrated part of the body.

Are dental implants safe?

Yes. Dental implants have been around for over 40 years and there have been many studies to show that they will last and are safe. Studies show that dental implants last over 20 years and the success rate is over 95%.

What is the dental implant procedure?

Dental implant surgery entails placing a titanium or ceramic root-shaped piece inside the jawbone to support the replacement tooth. Over a period of the next four months, the cells from your body actually grow over and incorporate that implant to make it part of your body.

How long does the surgery last?

Dental implant surgery can take a long time to complete. The actual procedure may take several hours.

Can I go home right after the procedure?

Yes, dental implant surgery is an outpatient procedure done with a local anesthetic, so you may go home afterwards.

What can I eat after the procedure?

After the procedure, you’ll want to eat soft foods for up to 2 weeks.

What are the most common complications of the surgery?

Complications from dental implant surgery as rare. However, as with any surgery, potential complications include infection and can also include injury to surrounding teeth, nerve damage, numbness, and sinus problems.

How painful is the surgery?

Most patients do not experience pain during the procedure as they are usually under a local anesthetic (meaning you are awake but the area is numbed). Additionally, the bone where the implant is placed does not have nerves that sense pain.

 

After the surgery, you may experience some discomfort in your chin, cheeks, or under the eyes. Over-the counter pain relief is generally recommended to manage this pain but always consult with your doctor before taking medication. You can also rinse with salt water for relief or use an ice pack to reduce swelling.

How long does it take to heal following the procedure?

It may take up to two weeks to heal from each step of the dental implant procedure.

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