If you’re wondering about dental implants and what they can do for your smile, you’re not alone. Dental Helpline, a non-profit that specializes in answering consumers’ oral health questions, recently reported that questions about dental implants and other cosmetic procedures made up 15% of inquiries over the last year.
Why is that, you ask? Well, it seems that good looks and an attractive smile are becoming more and more important to both ourselves and others, and a great set of teeth is a major contributing factor for achieving that goal.
According to Dr. Nigel Carter of the Oral Health Foundation, people today take more pride in the appearance of their pearly whites than in years past.
“For many of us, the appearance of our smile has taken a much greater priority over recent years,” Carter said. ”In the past, it would be quite common to leave a missing tooth. Now we are searching for the alternatives to fill in the gaps.”
In addition to dental implants questions, Dental Helpline also noted an uptick in inquiries about dental veneers, crowns, and other cosmetic procedures.
Dental Implants Q&A
How do dental implants work?
The dentist begins by assessing the overall health of your teeth by examining your mouth and taking x-rays. If a severely decayed or broken tooth is still in place, the extraction of the tooth will be the first step. Your dentist will also tell you if he suspects that a bone graft may be needed. A bone graft is necessary when a patient doesn’t have enough bone mass in the jaw to support a dental implant.
You’ll likely be asked to choose from a range of sedation options – typically oral sedation or general anesthesia – to keep you comfortable during the extraction and/or implant procedure.
Once the implant site is ready to accept the implant, the dentist will insert a titanium “screw” and anchor it securely to your jaw bone. If the implant insertion immediately follows tooth extraction, the dentist will already have access to the implant site; otherwise, he will make a small incision in your gums to place the implant.
If you qualify for same-day dental implants, the dentist will place a temporary crown onto the implant right away and you’ll walk out with a new smile that very day. If, on the other hand, an immediate load-bearing implant isn’t feasible (for patients who need a bone graft, for example), the patient has to wait approximately 6 months until the surgical site is healed before a crown can be placed.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
1. Dental implants look and feel just like natural teeth. They are a permanent prosthesis and do not (in fact, cannot) come out at night.
2. They are extremely strong and durable. With proper care, they can last a lifetime.
3. Speaking of care – no special pastes are needed! Just brush and floss like you would your natural teeth.
How much do dental implants cost?
Dental implants set the gold standard in tooth replacement therapy, and while pricing varies from one dentist to the next, patients can plan on spending upward of $1,300 per implant. Much depends on the crown material used and whether you need a bone graft or tooth extraction.
While some may consider the cost pricey, the good news is that some dentists offer affordable payment plans or financing options.
Ask your dentist about dental implants and give yourself the glowing smile and renewed confidence you deserve!