Dental Implants: What You Need To Know

Costello Family Dentistry is the trusted source for providing dental implants as a long-term tooth replacement solution in Carleton Place and surrounding communities.

What Is A Dental Implant

A dental implant has two components which work together to replace a missing tooth. A metal post which is usually made of titanium is surgically inserted into an empty socket where a tooth used to be. Once the post has had time to set and fuse to the underlying tissue and bone structures, then a tooth-shaped crown made out of porcelain is fastened to the post. A dental implant will look, feel and function like a real tooth and requires very little maintenance (aside from proper oral care) compared to other tooth replacement options like dental bridges or dentures.

How to Prepare for A Dental Implant Procedure

Getting a dental implant is a long process involving surgery and recovery time. This is why it is important for patients to consult with a dentist at Costello Family Dentistry to see if it is a good tooth replacement solution for them. They should ask any questions they may have about their case, and discuss their needs as well.

When a patient decides to move forward with the dental implant procedure, then an appointment will be set for the surgery that will insert the implant post in the patient's mouth. The dentist will provide a very specific list of instructions to follow leading up to the date of the surgery. Most importantly, patients will need to fast for 12 hours before surgery, and only consume water for 4 to 6 hours beforehand. This is due to the type of sedation that will be used during the procedure. If the patient does not follow these instructions, the surgery appointment will be cancelled and need to be rescheduled.

dental model of a dental implant

Post Surgery Care

Once the dental implant surgery is completed, patients will have to go through a long recovery period which typically lasts between 4 and 6 months. During this time, the implant post will fuse to the underlying bone structure. At that point, the post will be ready for the final crown to be fixed in place.

After the surgery, the dentist will provide instructions for caring for the implant post. This will cover detailed instructions on how to handle common post-surgery effects like bleeding, swelling and pain. It is incredibly important for these instructions to be followed carefully to ensure that the implant site heals properly. This will also reduce the chances of the implant being rejected by the patient.

During the recovery period, patients need to see they dentist at regular intervals. These appointments will allow the dentist to assess the progress of recovery and check for complications that will need to be addressed. Once the dentist has determined that the post has properly set in place, a porcelain crown will be made in a dental lab and attached to the post. Once the crown has been placed, the full implant procedure is complete. At this point, the only maintenance the dental implant needs is the same daily oral care that real teeth need.

What to consider before getting a dental implant

Before deciding to get a dental implant, patients need to consider a few factors to determine if it is a viable solution. The first and most important factor is cost. Dental implants are not cheap and a full procedure can costs thousands of dollars when looking at the appointments, surgery, anesthesia and materials used. In some cases, some or all of the costs can be covered by employment benefits or dental insurance if it included in the policy. In other cases, financing options are also available, and Costello Family Dentistry is happy to offer this options to patients.

Something else to consider before getting a dental implant is medical history and any medications which could interfere with the surgery or recovery process. One common example of this is how obese people are not good candidates to receive dental sedation. This could disqualify them from undergoing dental implant surgery. Patients who take blood thinning medications will have a harder time forming a blood clot in the implant site which is an important part of the recovery process. Women who are prescribed antibiotics need to be cautious when also taking birth control medication. Antiboitics can reduce the effectiveness of birth control.

These are a few examples of considerations that need to be discussed with a dentist before dental implant surgery can be approved. The dentist will be sure to cover all of the requirements for candidacy for the procedure before moving forward. If a patient is not deemed fit for dental implant surgery, they will offer suggestions for lifestyle changes to help them become a better candidate. They will also offer alternative dental solutions to replace any missing teeth so patients will have all of their options before making a decision.

Dentist shaking the hand of his patient
Man smiles at the camera before his dentist begins a procedure

Why Dental Implants Are One Of the best solutions for tooth replacement

There are a number of reasons why dental implants are considered one of the best tooth replacement solution. The number one reason why this is the case is how long dental implants are made to last. With proper oral care, a dental implant can last up to 25 years or more before the post needs to be replaced. Alternative solutions like dentures, flippers, or dental bridges generally need to be replaced every 5 to 7 years, and need maintenance work done at least once in between replacements. This actually makes dental implants a more cost-effective solution despite the large upfront costs.

When considering the time and costs involved with checkups, adjustments, maintenance and replacement appliances, and comparing all of that to the upfront cost of a dental implant, there is a clear winner when it comes to cost-effectiveness. Alternative tooth replacement solutions tend to cost patients more money than the upfront cost of a dental implant over the lifetime of a single dental implant.

Aside from cost-effectiveness, dental implants also help to preserve oral health when a tooth is lost. When an adult tooth is lost, the underlying bone and gum structures slowly begin to deteriorate. Over a prolonged period of time, surrounding teeth lose critical support and eventually become lost as well. The jawbone structure will also become weaker which makes speaking and eating more difficult. As the titanium post fuses to the bone structure, it begins to provide those structures the same support the original tooth provided, keeping the gums and bones healthy for years to come. No other tooth replacement solutions available today provide this kind of support for a patient's oral health.