Dental Implant FAQ
Palo Alto, CA
A dental implant is a titanium prosthetic that is designed to replace the root of a lost tooth. This device is covered by an artificial dental crown, which restores a person’s ability to chew and smile with confidence.
Since the placement of a dental implant requires surgery, many people are often anxious about the procedure. At Palo Alto Oral Health, our doctors and we assure you that a dental implant procedure is nothing to fear. Here we answer some of the most pressing questions by our clients.
What Does a Dental Implant Procedure Involve?
During a dental implant procedure, we will anesthetize the area where the surgery will take place. Once the tissue is numb, we will make a small incision in your gums and make a small hole in the underlying bone. The dental implant, a screw-shaped device, will be placed inside your jaw and allowed to fuse to the bone over a period of several months. Once your jaw is completely healed, we will place a crown atop the implant.
Will I Need to be Sedated During a Dental Implant Procedure?
Since the jawbone has fewer nerve endings than a tooth, this procedure is often performed under the effects of local anesthesia. However, if you are prone to anxiety, we may recommend a mild sedative so that you can be comfortable during the procedure.
What is Osseointegration?
Osseointegration is the scientific name for the process that allows your dental implant to fuse to the bone. This process can take anywhere between six weeks to six months and is completely painless. Once osseointegration is achieved, your dental implant will be securely anchored to your jawbone and will be able to withstand a significant amount of biting and chewing force.
Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
Fortunately, anyone with a mature jaw and relatively good oral health can be a good candidate for dental implant surgery. In addition, you need to have a dense and healthy jawbone so that it can hold the implant tightly. They should also be committed to taking good care of their oral health, should not have bad lifestyle habits like smoking and alcohol use.
What if I Do Not Have a Strong Jawbone?
Dental implant surgery is possible even if you do not have a dense jawbone. However, we will need to perform minimally-invasive bone augmentation surgery to improve the quality and quantity of bone in your jaw. This process involves taking a bone graft from your own body or an animal or synthetic source and placing it in the area which requires augmentation. This process can take anywhere between three to 12 months, depending on the condition of your jaw. After this, you can have dental implant surgery.
Can I Have Dental Implant Surgery if I Am Pregnant?
Dental implant surgery involves the use of x-rays and sometimes sedatives, which can be risky for expectant women. In addition, pregnancy causes dramatic changes in hormones, which can interfere with osseointegration or the healing process. That is why we advise pregnant women to have their dental implant surgery after their baby is born.
Can I Have Dental Implant Surgery if I Have Diabetes?
People with diabetes or other chronic or immunity-related disorders have conditions that can pose complications during surgery. You may, however, still be able to have a dental implant surgery if your general physician approves it.
What Are the Benefits of a Dental Implant?
Dental implants are the most realistic and closest-possible alternative to your real teeth. They offer superior biting and chewing function and look and feel almost exactly like your natural teeth. They also do not require any special maintenance except for regular cleaning and dental checkups. Moreover, they will also never decay and can last for 25 years.
What Are the Risks of a Dental Implant?
Like all surgeries, dental implants may pose a slight risk of infection; however, we will take the appropriate measure to make this risk negligible. In addition, dental implants may not be advised for people with certain medical conditions or who are very elderly.
What Can I Expect After Dental Implant Surgery?
You can expect some minor swelling, bleeding, and pain for a few days after surgery. However, these issues can be easily managed by over-the-counter medication and simple home remedies, like applying a cold pack to the side of your face. If your symptoms persist or worsen after several days, schedule an urgent appointment with us so that we can figure out the issue and treat it accordingly.
How Long Do Implants Last?
Dental implants are made of titanium which does not decay. However, the success of your dental implant depends on your dental hygiene, dietary habits, lifestyle habits, and certain medical conditions. Typically, though, dental implants have an 88% to 98% success rate depending on where it has been placed. With good care, your dental implant can last for over 25 years.
If you are missing your teeth and want a highly effective replacement for them, call us at (650) 321-9693 so that we can examine your mouth and discuss your options with you.