Dental Implants FAQ
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are titanium or ceramic screws placed in the jawbone to replace the roots of missing teeth. They provide a stable foundation for permanent dental restorations such as crowns or fixed dental prostheses. Implants are the only permanent solution for missing teeth and the only option that preserves the jawbone’s integrity. Implant dentistry restores the look and feel of your natural teeth and gives you a beautiful, healthy smile.
Why should I consider dental implants?
There are many options for replacing missing teeth, including dentures and bridges. Still, these do not last as long as implants, can be challenging to care for, and require periodic fittings and replacement. On the other hand, dental implants last a lifetime, becoming fully integrated with your jawbone. The dental restorations placed on the implants can last 20 years or longer. Other advantages of dental implants include:
- A natural look and feel
- No shifting, slipping, or pinching.
- Dental implants require no special care beyond brushing, flossing, and regular dental checkups.
- You do not need to remove implants at night
- Implants do not damage adjacent teeth
- Dental implants preserve the integrity of the jawbone, preserving facial contours.
What is the dental implant process like?
More than one step is involved in getting dental implants, and we ask that patients understand they are committing to a process that can take six to eight months or more. However, the results last a lifetime and help preserve your oral health far better than any other tooth replacement option.
An initial consultation includes a review of your medical and dental history, a thorough dental exam, 3D imaging of your teeth, jawbone, and gums, and an assessment of your suitability for implant surgery. From there, we develop a treatment plan.
The implant surgery is performed under some form of anesthesia (usually IV sedation or general anesthesia) in a sterile surgical suite in our office. After placement, osseointegration and healing take anywhere from three to six months. During this time, the titanium implant fuses with the jawbone. Once recovery is complete, a crown or dental prosthesis is attached to the implants using an abutment that fits into the titanium implant.
When can I return to work after dental implant surgery?
Most patients require three or four days at home to rest and recuperate. Tenderness, some swelling, and mild to moderate pain should subside within the first four days. Try to schedule your implant surgery to include a weekend in your recovery time.
How successful are dental implants?
South Carolina Oral Surgery, our success rate with dental implants is around 98% due to our attention to the process and careful monitoring of our patients.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
If you have good overall health and enough jawbone, you may be a candidate for dental implants. If your teeth have been missing for a year or more, your jawbone may have deteriorated significantly. In that case, you may need bone grafts to restore the jawbone’s strength before implant surgery.
Gum disease, cavities, and other oral health problems must be treated before embarking on implant surgery. Some individuals may not be good candidates, including those with hemophilia, cancer, certain immune disorders, or uncontrolled diabetes.
Are dental implants painful?
Dental implant placement is not painful because you are sedated during surgery, and the area is anesthetized. Once these medications wear off, you will have some discomfort and swelling for a few days. These are easily controlled with pain relievers and ice packs. South Carolina Oral Surgery provides every patient with post-op care instructions and prescription pain medication if needed. Most of our patients say that the pain is far less than they had feared and is usually gone within a week.
Are dental implants expensive?
Dental implants are more expensive than temporary solutions such as dentures because invasive surgery must be performed and the materials used as expensive. However, implant surgery is a once-and-done solution to missing teeth that more than pays for itself over time. Dentures must be replaced, relined, and repeatedly repaired over the years. Implants do not.
Many factors impact the cost of implants, which we will review with you at your initial consultation. More insurance companies every year are covering part or all of the cost of dental implants. Our staff is experienced in working with dental and medical insurance providers to determine the maximum coverage available and helping you coordinate a payment plan that works for you. We always tell you the cost upfront, so there are no surprises.
If you want to learn more about dental implants, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at 843-554-5003 or use our online registration form to schedule a consultation.