Dental Implant FAQ

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What is a dental implant?

A dental implant basically a substitute tooth root. This titanium tooth root serves virtually the same function as a natural tooth root. The implant is anchored in the jawbone. There is preserves bone and provides a stable foundation for a replacement tooth. Dental implant teeth look, feel and function just like a natural tooth.

How do dental implants compare to other options like bridges and dentures?

There is no comparison. Dental implants are the “Gold Standard” in replacing missing teeth. Dental implants are the only treatment option that will preserve gum and bone tissue. Dentures are plastic blocks that have teeth in them. Dentures only look like teeth. They in no way function like natural teeth. Dental implants are the longest lasting tooth replacement option. Whereas, bridges, partials and dentures will have to be replaced over and over.

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Dental implants do not damage teeth like bridges. Bridges require cutting down natural teeth to little stumps. Partial dentures use metal hooks to grab onto teeth. This puts excessive forces on natural teeth leading to their slow demise. Furthermore, a bridge does nothing to preserve the gum and bone tissue. Thus, the tissue underneath the bridge will slowly disappear leaving an ugly black void. Partial dentures and dentures actually accelerate the gum and bone tissue loss.

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Unlike bridges and partials, dental implant treatment does not compromise the long-term health of the adjacent teeth. There is no need to cut teeth down to place a bridge, and there are no hooks, such as those on removable partial dentures that cause teeth to become loose. In addition, dentures and partials accelerate the bone resorption process, which also causes the appearance of premature aging.

Do Dental Implant Teeth look Natural?

Absolutely! Dental implants look, function and feel like natural teeth. They are anchored in the jawbone just like natural teeth. They come out of the gum tissue just like natural teeth. Dental implants stimulate and preserve the gum and bone tissue just like natural teeth. The modern porcelain perfectly mimics natural teeth enamel.

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Who is a Candidate for Dental Implants?

In years past, diabetics and smokers were poor candidates. However, with better implant techniques this is no longer the case. Almost anyone can get a dental implant if they are missing a tooth.
A big factor for implant placement is that there must be available bone present. However, with modern bone grafting techniques almost all areas of poor bone can receive a dental implant.

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How Long Do Implants Last?

Nothing in dentistry last as long as a dental implant when replacing missing teeth. Research demonstrates that dental implant treatment has a long-term success rate of over 95%. Whereas, almost half of all dental bridges fail in 10 years. Dentures and partial dentures often have to be completely redone every five years. Dental implants are designed to be permanent and to last a lifetime. The titanium and porcelain can never get decay and will never need a root canal. Dental implants represent the longest lasting and best financial decision when replacing missing teeth.

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Do Dental Implants Ever Fail?

Dental implants are highly predictable and one of the most successful treatments in medical-dental field, with documented success rates over 95%. There are infrequent occasions where the bone does not completely fuse to the implants. This most often happens on the top back jaw teeth because of the type of bone present. However, the old implant is simply removed and a new implant placed. Or the old implant is removed and bone grafting material is placed and the new implant is placed in a couple of months.

How Long Does a Dental Implant Take?

Dental implants can be done immediately at the time of tooth extraction. There must be adequate bone density for this to occur. Furthermore, an immediate dental implant (sometimes called “implant in day” or “tooth in an hour”) is really just talking about a temporary tooth. The temporary tooth is placed while the bone fuses to the implant. Once this is complete a new permanent tooth is placed. Immediate dental implants are more prone to complications. Thus, normally the implant is placed and no tooth is placed on the implant. This allows the implant to not be disturbed during the crucial time the bone is fusing to the implant.

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Is Getting a Dental Implant Painful?

No. Patients very rarely complain of any post-surgery pain. Getting a tooth extracted is more damaging biologically then placing a dental implant. Everyone has different reactions and pain tolerances. However, almost every single implant patient Dr. Nugent has worked with has been very comfortable with just over the counter Advil. Very rarely a patient will take a prescription pain medication.



How Do I Take Care of My Dental Implants?

It depends:
1. Simple dental implants that replace just a missing tooth are cleaned exactly like a natural tooth. Regular brushing and flossing.
2. Implant bridges require a little more work. They need regular brushing. However, in order to get underneath the bridge a floss threader is used to get the floss under the bridge.
3. Implants used for anchor supports on implant dentures need to be brushed. Patients take their implant dentures out and clean the dentures. The implants in the mouth are brushed.
4. For All-on-Four dental implant cases one brushes their teeth like normal. However, one must use special brushes to get underneath the teeth and around the implants.

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How Much do Dental Implants Cost?

The average well placed and well restored quality dental implant costs around 4,000 dollars. This is a financial investment as well as a big investment in overall health, appearance and well being. The dental implant preserves the integrity of facial structures, as well as replacing missing teeth. The cost of a dental implant is comparable to other tooth replacement options. For example, a simple three unit bridge (a bridge that replaces on single tooth) costs 3,500. The price is similar. However, the bridge has a 50% chance of failing in ten years. Dental implants are designed to last a life time. Get the best treatment and pay for it one time.

Are Dental Implants Covered by Dental Insurance?

Insurance coverage of dental implant treatment depends on the individual insurance policy. Unfortunately, it is rare to receive any significant coverage. Most dental insurance benefit coverage is determined strictly by the amount the employer wants to spend on the policy. Thus, there are major limitations and exclusions on most dental insurance plans. The dental insurance companies almost always only pay for the cheapest treatment. Dental insurance plans are designed to cover routine maintenance, emergencies and basic care. Dental Implants are worth the cost! Dental implants provide the absolute best way to replace missing teeth.

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Dr. Michael Nugent is a leader in dental implant technology. He is located at 3421 Burke Rd, Pasadena, Texas. You deserve the best in dental implant care. Call our office today.

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