1. What are dental implants?
Dental implants are basically sophisticated screws made of a
medically pure metal, Titanium. These screws are then placed
in the jaw bone and rest under the gum for 3 - 6 months.
During this time they actually fuse to the jawbone and
become osseo (bone) integrated. After the appropriate
healing time, we uncover the implants and use them to
replace one or more missing teeth by fabricating some sort
of dental prosthesis. They allow you to function more
normally than conventional dentures or bridges.
2. How long have implants been used in dentistry?
Dental implants have been available for the past 50 or so
years. There are significant differences, however, between
the various types of implants that have been used to replace
missing teeth. These differences are important since they
are directly related to the implants success rates. The
implants currently in use today, OSSEO INTEGRATED IMPLANTS,
were originally developed in Sweden by Dr. P.I. Branemark.,
a Swedish Orthopedist approximately 25-30 years ago. They
have been used in the U.S. for the past 12 years.
3. I understand they originated in Sweden? Is there a
difference between the different implant manufacturers?
All implants in use in the United States are regulated by
the Food and Drug Administration. Originally, the only
system available was the Noblepharma™ Branemark implant.
Today, there are numerous implant companies in use on a
daily basis. All of these companies are FDA approved and
must meet very stringent requirements. Your dental team will
choose the system that is best for you and the one that
allows them to accomplish your mutual restorative goal.
4. What are implants made of?
Implants are made of commercially and medically pure
Titanium. This is the same metal that has been successfully
used in hip implants for many years. It is inert and is not
known to cause any type of rejection phenomenon.
5. How complicated is the surgery?
Implant surgery is done in two stages. The first stage
involves the placement of the implants into the available
jaw bone. This is most commonly done with just local
anesthesia. It is complicated only in the sense that the
surgery requires great precision. Every attempt is made to
insure success. The room is set up similar to an operating
room, the equipment thoroughly sterilized and the most
modern techniques utilized. Stage two involves the
uncovering of the implants after they have integrated (
fused ). This can be accomplished with minor gum surgery or
with a dental laser and is a relatively minor procedure. In
both instances, minimal postoperative discomfort is noticed.
You will be given the appropriated antibiotics and
analgesics just as a precaution. Very definitive
postoperative instruction will be given to you at the time
6. Can implants be rejected?
No! They are made of an inert metal which has no history of
rejection by the body. They are not a living organ such as
the lung or liver and therefore there is no rejection
phenomenon. If failure should occur, and this is only a
remote possibility, it is mechanical in nature and not due
to rejection by the body. By the way, depending on the
source you read, implants are anywhere from 85-95 percent
successful depending upon certain factors such as implant
location, amount and quality of bone etc. These factors will
be evaluated before we place your implants. If you have any
questions regarding this or any other aspect of the implant
process, ask your dentist.
7. If I lose several teeth, do they each have to be replaced
with a separate implant?
No. Although implants simulate the roots of teeth,
biomechanically one implant can be used to replace one or
more teeth. This will depend upon the mechanical
requirements of your chosen prosthesis. At your consultation
your dentist will discuss the various treatment alternatives
and the type and number of implants that are needed in order
to fulfill our treatment objectives.
8. What about infection and complications?
During the surgery every attempt is made to maintain a
totally sterile field. This tends to minimize any potential
for postoperative infection. Once again, your dentist will
prescribe the appropriate antibiotics as a precautionary
measure. Once the implants have been engaged in your
prosthesis, it is imperative for you to maintain scrupulous
oral hygiene. Success very often depends on your cooperation
and homecare efforts.
9. What types of restorations can be placed on implants?
The answer to this question depends upon your treatment
objectives. This can vary from simple removable prostheses,
using the implants for retention , to totally implant
supported porcelain fused to metal crowns and bridges.
Implant bridges can be either removable or fixed (not
removable) depending upon the number of implants. We are now
finally able to replace single or multiple missing teeth
returning the dentition to a biologically healthy and
esthetically pleasing state.
10. Will I be able to chew and function normally?
Yes. Once your implants have integrated, you will be able to
function normally without any unusual sensations. Your
chewing ability will really depend upon the type of
prosthesis you have chosen.
11. How long is the entire implant process?
Dental implants take approximately 3-4 months in the lower
jaw and 6 months in the upper to integrate. Once integrated,
it takes several visits to several months to complete the
restoration depending upon the complexity.
12. What is the cost?
The cost of implant dentistry is based upon a combination of
the surgical phase and the prosthetic phase. Your total
treatment fee will depend upon the number of implants and
the complexity of your final restoration.
13. Will everyone know I have Dental Implants?
Since the prosthesis covers the implant posts, no one will
know, unless you tell them, however, dental implant patients
usually want the "world to know" how their implants have
changed their lives.
14. What is the difference between implants and transplants?
Transplants are organic because they are transplanted from
one body to another. Implants are inorganic material and the
body is not aware of their presence and usually does not
15. Will implants hurt after the healing is over?
You will not be aware of them at anytime. Implants are