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Long Wharf Dental Group
1 Long Wharf Drive, Suite #221, New Haven, CT 06511

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Are Dental Implants Right for You?

What Can Dental Implants Do for My Smile?

Are you one of the many adults under the age of 65 who have lost at least one natural tooth? Or, are you one of the nearly 20 percent over 65 who have lost all of their teeth? If so, then dental implants may be the solution for you.

The three main requirements for getting implants are:

  • You need to have good physical health
  • You need to have healthy gums
  • You need to have sufficient bone in your jaw

If you lack sufficient jawbone, then we can perform a bone graft by taking bone from other parts of your body or by using a bone-substitute material.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are custom-made artificial teeth that are permanently affixed to your jawbone and look, feel, and function like your natural teeth. They’re as comfortable as your natural teeth and no one will even know that you have implants.

There are two types of implants and your dentist will recommend the right type for you:

  • Endosteal implants that are installed in the jawbone
  • Subperiosteal implants that are placed beneath the gum tissue

Implants have three separate components:

  1. The body of your implant (also called a post), is made of lightweight titanium that’s very strong, so it can be used for one tooth or several. Titanium is known for its high assimilation rate, so your body should accept it without any issue through a process called osseointegration. Your surgeon will surgically insert the post into your jawbone and it will function the same as the root of your natural tooth.
  2. The abutment is the connector between the post and the crown. It anchors your tooth to the post and is installed after the post has fused to your jawbone.
  3. The crown (the prosthesis) is the visible part of the artificial tooth. Attaching it is the final step of the implant installation.

Why Are Dental Implants So Effective?

Implants are effective because they’re structured the same as your natural teeth. The post functions the same as the root of a natural tooth and anchors the tooth to the jawbone. The abutment is a cushion for the crown and acts the same as the gum of a natural tooth. The crown functions the same as the enamel crown of a natural tooth. Since they’re permanently installed, there’s no need to worry that they’ll fall out or that your speech will be slurred. When installed by a qualified oral surgeon, this is one of the safest dental procedures available.

What’s the Process for Implant Surgery?

Although your procedure will be specific to your needs, you can generally expect the following sequence of events:

  • Damaged teeth will be removed, other necessary procedures may be performed, and the site will be prepared for the installation of the post.
  • A minor bone graft will be performed, if needed, and the body, which is the titanium post, will be installed.
  • If you need a substantial bone graft, it will be done at a later stage and may require several months to heal.
  • Allowance for healing and growth time of the jawbone
  • The abutment will be installed abutment and impressions will be made of your teeth and gums so that the dental lab can make your crowns.
  • Your crown or crowns will be permanently attached.

The timeframe needed for your entire dental implant process will depend on how fast your body heals, as well as the amount of work you’ve had done.

Is Bone Grafting Always Necessary?

If you have a strong jawbone, then you probably won’t need a bone graft. If not, then your surgeon will recommend your best option, whether it’s taking bone from another part of your body or using a bone-substitute material.

How Will the Surgeon Install My Implant?

Your oral surgeon will make a small incision in the gum and then drill a hole in the exposed bone. The post will be surgically inserted into the bone, and then you’ll wait for osseointegration to occur.

How Will the Surgeon Install My Abutment?

After your post has been assimilated into the bone, your surgeon will make another incision near the post and place the abutment. Once that incision has healed, which usually takes about two weeks, you’ll return so we can take impressions of your teeth and gums and make a mold that will be used to fabricate your crowns.

How Will the Surgeon Install My Crown?

If you’ve opted for removable crowns, you’ll receive them in pink plastic gums that will snap onto your abutment and can easily be removed for cleaning. If you’ve chosen fixed crowns, we’ll adjust them for fit and then either cement them to the post or screw them on.

Will I Receive Aftercare Instructions?

After an implant procedure, patients typically experience minor bleeding, pain, bruising, and swelling. This is normal. Your oral surgeon will provide you with aftercare instructions for alleviating any discomfort, and you’ll be prescribed pain medication as needed. Your symptoms shouldn’t last for more than a few days, but if they do, then please call us.

There Must Be Drawbacks to Implants. What Are They?

One of the biggest drawbacks to implants is their upfront expense. Depending on the procedures that you need, one tooth can cost several thousand dollars and may not be covered by dental insurance. Likewise, if you need a replacement crown in the future, it might not be covered by your insurance. Fortunately, many surgeons offer payment options to make implants more affordable. Another drawback is that the implant procedure requires surgery, which some people aren’t good candidates for. They could have an adverse reaction to the anesthesia, infections are possible, nerve damage can occur, the surrounding teeth can be damaged, and the jawbone could be fractured. Also, the implant procedure isn’t a quick fix for dental problems. The entire procedure can last for several months, so you need to have patience and perseverance.

Most people who have implants, however, feel that they made the correct decision. Implants won’t slip or fall out, your speech is as clear as with your natural teeth, you can eat your favorite foods, and you have a full set of teeth. Considering the financial outlay over time for messy adhesives, cleaning and soaking solutions, worn-out or broken dentures, many implant wearers feel that implants are more cost effective over time.

Where Can I Go to Have Implants Installed?

Installing implant dentures requires a considerable amount of experience, education, and training, and most general dentists aren’t skilled or trained in this aspect of dentistry. If you’re searching for an implant dentist, make sure they’re board certified and will provide you with their credentials. If you’d like to schedule a consultation for implants or any other dental procedures, please call our office today or use our convenient online booking tool. We look forward to working together.

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Long Wharf Dental Group

1 Long Wharf Drive, Suite #221, New Haven, CT 06511

(203) 764-2386