Patients often have a negative perception of dental implants and think that because dental implants involve placing metal into your jaw, that the procedure must be painful and frightening. You will be relieved to learn that dental implant surgery is a safe procedure that can be less daunting than dental extractions or other major dental surgeries.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are artificial replacements for missing teeth. Many patients seek dental implants to help restore confidence in their smile and improve their ability to eat and drink normally. Dental implants can also help reduce the risk of bone loss and prevent surrounding teeth from drifting or moving into the empty space once occupied by a tooth.
During dental implant surgery the roots of a missing tooth are replaced with screw-like metal “posts” that are placed into the jawbone. These metal posts support an artificial tooth that looks and functions like a natural tooth. Because the implant is placed directly into the jawbone, dental implants offer superior protection against slippage that commonly occurs with dentures.
You may be surprised to learn that dental implant surgery is not a single procedure, but is performed in stages, typically over the span of several months. The time between each step in the implant process allows your body to heal and grow new bone tissue.
During your initial dental implant consultation, Dr. Li will perform a comprehensive dental exam that may include x-rays and advanced photography or modeling to get an accurate “picture” of your jaw. We will also conduct a thorough review of your medical history to determine if you are a candidate for dental implant surgery, and to evaluate your tolerance to any prescription pain medications that may be prescribed after the procedure.
Local anesthesia, general anesthesia, sedation or a combination of pain control techniques may be used during surgery. Dr. Li will work with you to find the best anesthesia option to help you feel comfortable and stress-free during the procedure. Depending on the type of anesthesia chosen for the dental implant surgery, our care team will provide you with detailed pre-operation and post-operative care guides that will explain what you can eat or drink before and after surgery.
Are dental implants painful?
While dental implant surgery may sound frightening, many patients report a high degree of satisfaction with the procedure and cite only mild discomfort in the days following. Dr. Li will prescribe pain medication to help ease the symptoms during recovery. Symptoms may include facial swelling, soreness around the cheeks or implant site, and bruising or minor bleeding.
During the procedure Dr. Li will monitor your comfort to ensure you cannot feel any aspect of the surgery. If you are exceptionally nervous about being awake during dental implant surgery, Dr. Li can discuss if sedatives or general anesthesia might be the right fit for you.
How long do dental implants last?
Dental implants are designed to last many years, with some studies indicating implants that have lasted up to 20 years! The “lifespan” of your dental implant depends on many factors including lifestyle, hygiene and overall health.
Patients who smoke have a higher risk of damaging their dental implant. People who have diabetes or cancer are also at an increased risk of dental failure. Implants may also decline over time depending on the location of the implant. For example, implants near the back of the mouth may wear out faster due to the high impact of chewing.
Dr. Li will perform a thorough evaluation of your health and inform you if you are at an increased risk for dental implant failure.
To protect the integrity of your dental implant, be sure to practice daily and thorough oral hygiene. Regular flossing and brushing will help ensure your investment in a dental implant pays off for years to come.
How much do dental implants cost?
Dental implants are typically priced individually, since most patients only require one or a few implants at a time. The price for a single implant can cost anywhere from $900 to several thousand dollars depending on a patient’s specific dental needs.
Dr. Li and the care team at Ellerslie 66 Dental Clinic strive to make dental care affordable and accessible to all of our patients. We will work with you to find a dental implant treatment plan that works for your financial situation.
If you have questions about dental implants or dental implant surgery, our compassionate care team can help you understand all of your options. Contact us now or give us a call at (780) 705-9866.