Dental Implants Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do I Need Dental Implants?

There are many excellent reasons to get dental implants if you have one or more missing teeth. Missing teeth make it difficult to speak clearly and eat some foods, impacting your quality of life. When the root of a tooth is missing, the jawbone is no longer stimulated and begins to deteriorate. In the first year after a tooth is extracted, the bone in the area can resorb by more than 25%, putting the adjacent teeth in jeopardy and prematurely aging your appearance. And, of course, a smile with gaps in it is not as attractive as a complete set of teeth.

Can you go without dental implants? Missing teeth negatively affects your health, appearance, and the remaining teeth in ways that can lead to serious health complications later in life. There are alternatives, such as dentures or bridges, but these are not permanent, do not last as long, and are more challenging to care for than dental implants.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are titanium posts or screws surgically placed in the jaw to mimic the missing tooth’s root. Once in place and sufficiently healed, your dentist will fabricate a crown or prosthetic teeth to attach to the implant and replace the top portion of the missing tooth. This combination combines function with a natural look and feel.

Can I replace all my teeth with dental implants?

If most of your teeth are still in good shape, we recommend keeping your natural teeth and using implants to replace only the missing or diseased teeth. When most of your teeth are missing, we may recommend extracting the few remaining teeth and replacing them with an entire upper or lower arch of dental implants. Alternatively, you can replace each individual missing tooth with implants and individual crowns.

How long do dental implants last?

Titanium is bio-compatible, robust, non-corrosive, and lightweight. Properly cared for dental implants are designed to last a lifetime. Once they fuse with the surrounding jawbone, implants can last decades. The crowns or restorations attached to them usually also last many years, depending on wear and tear and other factors. Occasionally, a crown or restoration may need replacing, but this can often be done without disturbing the implant.

How long do implants take to heal?

Healing times vary depending on your needs and your particular treatment. Once an implant is placed, the typical healing time is between three and four months, then your dentist can start on your crown.  During this healing time, many patients will choose to have their dentist fabricate a temporary restoration for them to satisfy their esthetic needs.

Can anyone get dental implants?

Any healthy adult with sufficient jaw structure to support them can get dental implants. In many cases, bone grafting may be needed before an implant can be placed. There are uncommon medical conditions that can interfere with dental implant treatment, but most patients are candidates for treatment.

Dr. Heggland carefully evaluates each patient at their initial consultation. He performs an in-depth exam, takes CT scans, and reviews your medical history to ensure the highest odds of success for your dental implant procedure.

How do I care for my dental implants?

One of the most significant advantages of dental implants is their resemblance to your healthy natural teeth. You care for them the same way – brushing twice and flossing once daily. Some patients will benefit from a protective “bite guard” appliance made by their dentist after the crown is placed on the implant as well.  Of course, we recommend seeing your dentist twice a year for a checkup and professional cleaning as well.

Can I get cavities if I have dental implants?

No, the restoration teeth are usually made of ceramic or porcelain and cannot get a cavity. However, you can develop gum disease around your implants if you do not care for them properly. Proper oral hygiene is essential to keep the jawbone and gums healthy.

Will I need bone grafts to get dental implants?

It depends on the strength and thickness of your jawbone. You will not need bone grafts if it has sufficient mass to support the implants. Many patients do not have enough jawbone to support the implant securely and require grafting to strengthen the jawbone and build up enough bone mass to support the implants. Dr. Heggland determines whether you need bone grafts at your initial consultation.

How successful are dental implants?

The success rate of dental implant surgery has remained over 95% worldwide for decades depending on various factors. This is one of the highest success rates for any treatment in healthcare.

Dr. Heggland can answer any additional questions about dental implants at your initial consultation. Please call us at Frisco Office Phone Number (970) 668-1314 to schedule an appointment.

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