Dental Implant FAQ

Oral & Facial Surgery of Northeast Texas – Texarkana TX

 

What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant replaces a missing tooth (or one that is broken beyond repair).  Highly similar in structure to a natural tooth, an implant consists of a crown, an abutment, and a titanium post.  The post is inserted into the jaw and permanently fuses with the bone, a process called osseointegration.  The abutment fits inside the post and connects it to the crown, the visible part of the implant. A dental implant looks and feels exactly like a natural tooth.

Why are dental implants the ideal replacement for teeth?  They…

  • Are highly durable and can last a lifetime with proper care.
  • Do not slip out like dentures.
  • Perfectly match your natural teeth.
  • Prevent your jawbone from deteriorating.
  • Eliminate dietary restrictions.
  • Restore your bright smile and help boost confidence.

How long does it take to get a dental implant?
It depends on the patient’s needs and recovery time.  The process typically takes 5 to 8 months and can be broken down into the following steps:

  • Consultation and Preparation
    During your consultation, we start creating your custom treatment plan by gathering dental and medical history and discussing your options and budget.  If applicable, we determine whether or not we need to extract the damaged tooth.  Next, we evaluate your jaw to determine whether or not there is enough bone mass to support an implant or if you will need a bone graft.
  • Bone Graft (If needed)
    If you do need a bone graft, this treatment alone can take 3 to 6 months to heal.
  • Implant Surgery
    Implant surgery itself only takes about an hour, which is when the post is placed inside your jaw. Osseointegration (the time it takes for the post to fully integrate with your jaw) ranges from 3 to 6 months.
  • Abutment and Crown Placement
    Once your jaw is completely healed, the other parts of the implant can be placed.  First, the abutment is inserted into the post, and then the crown is cemented snugly on top of the abutment.  This is typically done by your dentist and takes two visits approximately two weeks apart.

Will I need to have bone grafting?
You will need a bone graft if you lack the necessary jawbone density or bone volume to support an implant.  You lose bone density when you have an advanced stage of gum disease or when you wait to replace a missing tooth.

Will I miss work for implant surgery?
Patients are normally able to return to work the day after surgery and experience little discomfort.  Most likely, you will only miss a single day (or the day of your procedure).

Do dental implants hurt?
No.  The surgical site is always numbed during dental implant surgery, and we offer a variety of sedation options to ensure your comfort, as the procedure is performed under anesthesia.  After surgery, as the anesthesia wears off, you may experience discomfort, but this can be easily relieved with over-the-counter pain medications.    

How much do dental implants cost?
While the upfront cost is more than the cost of bridges or dentures, dental implants outlast those replacement options by several decades.  The longevity of implants makes them the more affordable choice in the long run and requires fewer visits to the dentist or oral surgeon down the road.  Your time and money are well spent on a dental implant!