The Top 5 Most Common Dental Implant Questions (and their answers!)

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When considering any type of dental treatment, it is normal to have questions. Getting accurate answers to these questions is an integral part of allowing you to decide if that treatment is right for you. One treatment that generally stirs a lot of questions are dental implants. While you may have a variety of questions for your dentist, here are the top five most commonly asked questions about dental implants: 

What do dental implants look like?

dental implant in pieces shown next to natural teeth

Before they are placed in your jawbone, dental implants look like small, hollow titanium screws. However, once they are placed, they won’t be visible since they will be below the gum line. The only visible portion is a small metal connector piece known as the abutment. The abutment is used to connect the dental prosthetic into the dental implant. The abutment will rarely be seen, however it will be visible when the prosthetic is removed. If you have a fixed prosthetic, only your dentist will be able to remove it, while a removable prosthetic will generally be removed every night. 

In regards to your appearance, dental implants are the most aesthetically pleasing tooth replacement option. This is because their structure closely resembles the structure of a natural tooth, so they blend in with the surrounding teeth. Additionally, they don’t change as the age, meaning that your results will be permanent. 

Who should get dental implants?

If you have one or more missing teeth, then you should get dental implants. You can also get dental implants if you have one or more teeth that have been severely damaged or are decayed and are in need of extraction. However, you will need to speak with your dentist to determine if you are an ideal candidate since dental implants require a minimum amount of bone mass in order to be safely placed. Since tooth loss can lead to bone loss in the jaw, you may need to undergo supplemental procedures before getting dental implants, such as a sinus lift or bone graft. After taking dental x-rays, your dentist will be able to tell you if you are a candidate for dental implants. 

How do dental implants work?

Dental implants work the same way that your natural teeth do. Unlike bridges and dentures, which only restore the visible portion of the tooth, dental implants restore both the root and the visible portion. By acting as an artificial tooth root, dental implants will fuse with the jawbone to act as an anchor for the prosthetic. This allows for maximum chewing function that cannot be obtained using a bridge or denture. Being implanted in the jawbone also maintains bone mass by providing the necessary stimulation. 

Are dental implants painful?

Dental implants are not as painful as many people think. First off, the implant procedure is performed using dental anesthetics and sedation. Secondly, the implant procedure is also performed in an area where there are very few nerves. While there will be some postoperative discomfort that tends to last a few days, over the counter pain medications are usually enough to manage it. Many patients report having little to no discomfort within a week of having their implants placed and are pleasantly surprised. 

woman looking in the mirror at dentist's office

Can dental implants be done in one day?

Believe it or not, dental implants can be placed in one day. Sometimes dental implants are even placed immediately after having a tooth extracted. This is known as “teeth in a day” since you will ultimately leave your dentist’s office with your new teeth. However, these teeth are temporary and will be worn until your mouth fully heals and your implants have fused with the bone. At that point, you will receive your permanent teeth, which will be stronger and more aesthetic. 

Hopefully reading through these frequently asked questions helps you to understand a little more about dental implants. However, it can also give you more questions, some of which should be answered by a dentist who places dental implants. While you consider having dental implants placed, you should consult with your local implant dentist to obtain a professional opinion about your individual case and to have all your questions answered. 

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