What is an implant dentist or implantologist?
Implant dentist and implantologist are synonymous. Any general dentist can be an implant dentist and perform both surgery and placement of dental implant restorations. However, most general practitioners place implant restorations, meaning the crown, bridge, partial, or denture that fits on implant posts. A good number of general dentists prefer to refer the surgical phase of an implant case to an oral surgeon or periodontist.
Do I need an implant to replace each of my missing teeth?
No. One implant post can hold one implant restoration, or crown. Two implants may secure a bridge or partial. Four to six implants are often sufficient to stabilize an upper or lower denture.
Does implant surgery hurt?
Like all oral surgeries, implant placement is performed with anesthesia. Some dentists use nitrous oxide and local anesthetic, while others prefer to deliver oral sedation, conscious sedation (oral and nitrous oxide), or IV sedation when placing implants. Most patients report post-procedure pain, and dentists commonly prescribe over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers and a special diet during the first few days after surgery. The diet should include a good amount of water, no use of a straw, and soft, cool foods that don't need to be chewed. Soups, yogurt, hummus, and guacamole are good examples of tolerable foods after implant surgery. Do not chew on the implant or implant restoration until the dentist tells you to do so. If your implant abutment or restoration dislodges, contact your implant dentist immediately so that it can be reattached.
A bit of bleeding or oozing is normal, and the patient can bite on gauze or a moist teabag for about a half hour to reduce bleeding or oozing. After implant surgery, smoking is strictly prohibited during healing. Stitches will naturally dissolve in about a week, but if they come loose before this time, the patient should not worry unless excessive bleeding occurs. Swelling will subside in approximately 24 to 48 hours following surgery and can be minimized by applying an ice pack to the outside of the cheek, over the area where the implant was placed. To aid healing, elevate the head at a 45-degree angle when lying down.
An implant patient should rinse the mouth with room-temperature salt water three times per day for about a week, and brushing can resume the day following surgery. Be cautious not to scratch or irritate the implant surgery site while the mouth heals. Dentures and partials should not be replaced without the consent of your dentist. Implant patients should attend all follow-up appointments on time, as directed by the dentist, to ensure optimal results from implant placement surgery.
Will implants make dentures more comfortable?
With traditional dentures, the underlining rests on the gums, on natural ridges. For upper dentures, natural suction or adhesive creates stability; for lower dentures, adhesive is required. Over time, friction between the denture underlining and gums causes natural bony ridges to flatten. When this occurs, dentures must be relined for a more accurate fit. Ultimately, the gum ridges completely wear down, and the gums become smooth and flat, and dentures, even with adhesive, become chronically loose or wobbly. The potential for slippage increases. In other cases, patients never find a comfortable fit with a denture. Because implant-retained dentures snap or are affixed to posts anchored in the jaw, they will not loosen, wobble, or come loose. They usually fit comfortably, from day one. Furthermore, because of their stability, implant dentures make the patient feel more confident and comfortable in public, particularly when dining out.
Are implant dentures removable or fixed?
Either. Your implantologist will discuss your preference and explain the pros and cons of fixed and removable dentures. You can then decide which option will work best with your lifestyle.
When are mini dental implants a good choice?
Miniature dental implants are best reserved for older patients who have poor jawbone density, but cannot endure bone grafting surgery.
Will insurance pay for dental implants?
Dental and medical insurance policies can be extremely diverse in their coverage. In some cases, dental insurance will cover all or part of the cost of prosthetics, and medical insurance will cover all or part of implant placement surgery. However, not all insurances cover dental implants. Most dentist offices accept credit cards and offer payment options through third-party banks or in-house financing.