What are dental implants?
Dental implants are small titanium posts that replace the roots of missing teeth (View Example). They are inserted into your jawbone during a minor surgical procedure that takes place in the dental office. After the implant has been placed in your jawbone, a completely lifelike porcelain tooth crown is attached. In some cases, the implant needs to fuse with the bone for several months before it is permanently crowned; in other cases, you can have new (but temporary) teeth the same day your implants are placed.
Is the procedure painful?
Our patients tell us that there is very little to no discomfort associated with the placement of an implant, and there is minimal to no swelling. General anesthesia is available for those who choose not to be awake during the procedure.
How long will it take?
In many cases, implants can be placed and a temporary tooth can be made at the same time as the tooth is removed. In most cases, the implants are placed and have to heal for several months before placing the final tooth. The dental implant procedure usually takes 3 months for the lower jaw and 6 months for the upper jaw for the implant to fully integrate with your bone. However, everyone heals differently, so Dr. Covington and her team will monitor your progress closely. We are 100% dedicated to the care we provide in our office.
Will I have to be without my teeth?
You will not need to go without replacement teeth. If the implants are not provisionalized immediately with temporary teeth, then a temporary prosthesis can be made for you. If your teeth were already missing, you may continue using your removable prosthesis with minor adjustments for your comfort during the healing period.
Will I have to continue to see the dentist after I have implants placed?
Yes, you will need to continue to visit your dentist on a regular basis for hygiene. It is important to maintain your oral health.
How long will implants last?
Typically, they last longer than conventional dental work, as long as you take care of them properly with daily cleaning, just like your natural teeth, (floss, brush, etc.). When properly maintained and good oral health exists, it is possible for implants to last a lifetime.
Am I too old for implants?
No, you are never too old. Patients over 90 years of age have replaced loose partials and full dentures with implant-supported dentures and the comment we hear most is “I wish I had done this sooner!” They are enjoying the benefits of easier chewing, speaking and a better quality of life.
The required bone healing surrounding the dental implant occurs in younger and older patients alike, making it ideal for several age ranges. General medical health and suitability to undergo the procedure is the only likely barrier for any older patient wishing to undergo the procedure. All of which is discussed fully with your dentist in the initial consultation.
We see patients of all ages for dental implants – with many patients receiving our All on 4 dental implant treatment.
I’ve lived with my dentures for years. Can’t I just get by with those?
We all put up with a lot of things we don’t think will change or improve, but based on the remarks we’ve heard from past and present patients, dental implants have opened up a new world to them. It is also important to keep in mind that your jawbone will diminish over time without implants. Dental implants stimulate the bone as natural teeth do, thus keeping the bone healthy.
Quality of life is also an important part of this decision. Removable Dentures involve a lot of care. They must be brushed daily and can possibly break if dropped. You can never let your dentures dry out and that can be a constant worry especially when not wearing them. Dental implants require the same care as your natural teeth which will eliminate a lot of extra work. You can brush them and floss them without worry of damaging them.
What Can I Eat After Getting Dental Implants?
You’ll need to eat soft foods while you recover from the dental implant procedure. That way, your mouth and jaw will have a chance to heal. Stay away from foods that are sticky and/or hard to chew in the meantime. Once you fully recover from the dental implant procedure, you’ll be able to eat whatever you want.
Dental implants can give you back the pleasure of eating those foods you’ve been pushing aside. Since dental implants mimic the natural function of teeth, you don’t have to worry about your teeth slipping or falling out — allowing you to bite and chew as though you had a full set of natural teeth. Dental implants can also be shaped and shaded to blend with the rest of the teeth, so that you won’t be able to distinguish them from your natural teeth.
What happens if I wait?
Tooth loss leads to bone loss, which may require a more complicated treatment in the future. You will also have to continue to get your removable prosthesis or denture adjusted, relined or even replaced from time to time. The attachments on a partial tug on adjacent teeth and your chewing ability will not be improved. In addition to that, there will be costs for future denture adhesives and cleaners. Your denture will cause you soreness and pain and may lead to a worsened condition as the jawbone deteriorates.
How much do they cost?
At the outset, implants are more expensive than other tooth-replacement methods such as dentures or bridgework. But they also last many years longer and in fact should never need replacement. So they offer the best, most cost-effective option when viewed as a long-term investment in your health, comfort and well-being.
Why are implants expensive?
The implant process requires three specialists: a surgeon to place them, our dentist in Beaufort, SC to design the replacement teeth, and a laboratory to make them to the dentist’s prescription. Precise implant components are ordered specifically for your mouth. Much time and effort goes into planning and customizing every step to reproduce your missing teeth and preserve or reconstruct your jawbone, gum tissue and teeth. This treatment is designed to last for many years, when properly maintained.
Will my insurance cover my implants?
As dental implants have become the standard of care, more insurance companies and policies are providing some coverage for these services. We have a professional team that will be more than happy to look into your dental insurance for you and will process your claim submission as your services are rendered.
How do you care for dental implants?
They require exactly the same care as natural teeth: daily brushing and flossing, along with regular dental checkups and professional cleanings. Although implant teeth will never decay, the gum tissues around them can become inflamed or infected in the absence of good oral hygiene. Properly cared-for dental implants should last a lifetime.
Ready to take the next step?
If you currently suffer from missing or broken teeth, dental implants are a great way to restore your smile. Implants are one of the true specialties at our Lady’s Island dental office. We strive to make sure the process is painless and you have no questions unanswered. To find out if you are a candidate for dental implants, call 843-986-0177 or schedule an appointment.