What exactly are dental implants?

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root. It is surgically placed into your upper or lower jaw and serves as a base, or sturdy anchor, for replacement teeth or a dental bridge. Dental implants function, fit and feel like natural teeth, which is probably why they are becoming a very popular option for tooth replacement. They are durable and safe. 

Dental implants are made up of materials, such as titanium, that are compatible with the human body. There are two main types of implants: endosteal and subperiosteal. 

  • Endosteal, or in the bone, implant is the most widely used type of implant. It includes screws, cylinders or blades that are surgically positioned into your jawbone. Each implant can hold one or more prosthetic tooth. Endosteal implants are often recommended for patients with bridges or removable dentures. 
  • Subperiosteal, or on the bone, implants are placed on top of the jaw. The metal framework of the implant protrudes through the gum to hold the prosthesis. Subperiosteal implants are offered to patients with minimal bone weight and those, who cannot wear traditional dentures.
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The procedure of placing a dental implant is a really a team effort between your, your dentist, and your periodontist. The experts will consult with you to determine how and where the implant should be placed. They will also devise an individualized treatment plan to meet your oral needs. 

There are three major steps in the process of placing a dental implant: 

  1. The first step is to surgically insert the implant into your jawbone. 
  2. The healing process, or osseointegration begins. What happens during that time is the implant, a titanium fixture, combines with the bone. In reality, the bone grows around the implant and holds it in place. This union is what makes the implant so strong and sturdy. To help this process, your dentist may recommend a special diet that consists of soft, cold foods and warm soups. It may take up to a few months for the healing and integration to complete, and some patients may have to wait that long until replacement teeth can be attached. Other patients, however, may only require one visit to have both the implants and replacement teeth inserted. 
  3. The last step is the placement of the artificial teeth. If it’s just one tooth, your dentist will prepare a dental crown (or an artificial tooth). If more teeth are being replaced, then more crowns or a bridge will be needed. In both cases, the replacements will be customized to blend in with your other teeth and fit your mouth and implants. Permanent bridges and crowns take a while to make. Therefore, your dentist may install a temporary crown or bridge until the permanent replacement is ready to be used. 

Typically, dental implants consist of three parts: the implant, the abutment, and the crown. 

The implant is a screw that is permanently attached to your jaw and becomes the root of a new tooth/teeth.

The abutment is a connector that holds and supports the new tooth/teeth. It is permanent but can be removed by your dentist. 

The crown is the actual prosthetic tooth, or the part of the new tooth that is visible. It is durable and its shade is customized to blend with your other teeth. 

Patients interested in dental implants should consult with their dentists. Your doctor will explain the process and ask about your general health. A medical evaluation by a physician may be necessary before any implant surgery can be scheduled.

If you’re interested in dental implants, check out our Frequently Asked Questions section to learn more. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Dental Implants Cincinnati, Ohio [OH] (Special Offers)

How many implants can I have? 

Dental implants can be used to replace either a single tooth, or multiple teeth, even a full upper or lower set. If you need to replace a full arch, your oral surgeon will place four implants and attach the full set of teeth to them. 

What are the benefits of dental implants? 

Dental implants are a preferred method of treatment for tooth replacement. Since they fuse with your bone, they provide strong support for the artificial teeth. There’s no movement or slippage that can sometimes happen with dentures. Dental implants pose no problems with eating and chewing; they also do not need to be repaired on a regular basis.  

Who can get dental implants? 

A patient who can be considered for dental implants should be in good general health and have a healthy gum tissue. Implants require sufficient bone in your jaw to fuse with, therefore candidates should be free of periodontal disease. 

Patients suffering from serious or chronic illnesses, like diabetes or leukemia, may not be good candidates for implants, as their conditions may interfere with the healing process.  

It’s also important to note that the use of tobacco slows the healing process. 

What happens after the procedure?

Once the procedure and healing process are complete, your dentist and periodontist will share with you a care plan that they devised for you. It is also important to take good care of your dental implants, just as you would your own teeth. You should visit your dentist regularly, as well as brush and floss every day. Keep the dental implants clean and free of plaque and build up. 

You can also expect to have periodic follow-up appointments with your periodontist. They will check to make sure your gums and teeth are healthy. 

What is the cost of dental implants? 

Dental implants are an investment. The cost depends on many factors, including how many implants you need. The average cost of a single implant (not including the procedure) ranges between $1500 to $2000. The other costs involved, like the crown or bridge, the abutment (connector), root extraction, office visits, pre-op and post-op care, need to be added in. The total cost for a single dental implant procedure ranges between $3,000 – $4,800. 

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