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Dental Implant FAQ

Where dental implants are concerned, are there risks of the body rejection them?

When people hear the word “rejection” in connection with implants, they are usually describing conditions that can occur where there has been surgery that involves transplanting a vital organ such as a heart. However, dental implants fall into an entirely different category due to the fact that tissue matching, blood typing, etc., is not a factor in dental implants. The body completely accepts placement of dental implant material (like orthopedic materials which are similar) within bone; therefore, today’s dental implants meet with great success. Obviously, there are some dental implants that have not been successful. However, success has more to do with proper patient selection, proficiency of the practitioner, and the patient’s commitment to proper hygiene and preventive maintenance. 

How long will implants last?

How long do teeth last? They should last a lifetime. However, we all can sight examples where teeth have not served for a person’s lifetime. We know that dental problems mostly stem from improper home care or lack of treatment when needed. The same holds true for implants. With proper care and routine dental check-ups they should last a lifetime. No one can give guarantees because the health of a person is dependent upon many factors which are out of the control of one’s dentist, e.g., proper nutritional needs being met, proper hygiene, genetics, disease processes which might occur. 

Do implants require special care?

Presume that dental implants are natural teeth and treat them that way. Return for regular check-ups, continue to brush and floss. Realize also, that caring for the gums is the best way to care for one’s teeth. More teeth are lost as a result of gum disease than any other single cause.

Do dental implants hurt?

Implant placement usually does not result in much post-operative discomfort – usually the patient takes Tylenol or Advil for about 2-5 days. If more extensive treatment is needed, for example, bone grafts or many implants, then the post-operative course may require more time and medication. Anesthesia during the surgery should make the placement procedure pain-free. 

How long does it take to get dental implants? Will I be without teeth or unable to eat for a long time?

Following a detailed evaluation and treatment plan, the first phase of dental implants is the actual placement of the implants. This is generally done in one 3-4 hour appointment. After this is done most implants will remain covered, underneath the gums, for 3 to 6 months. During this time the implant will begin to bond with the jawbone. Through this healing period you will wear your modified denture or bridge. You will need to follow a modified, soft diet for the first couple of weeks. 

The second phase of the procedure is usually 3 to 6 months after the implant placement. At this time, the top of the implant(s) will be uncovered from under the gums and a small metal post or extension will be attached to the implant(s). 

In the third phase, which is 2 to 6 weeks after the second phase, your new replacement teeth are created and fitted. The third phase is usually completed within 4 to 8 weeks. Total treatment time for most implant cases will usually be 5-8 months. It could be longer if bone or gum procedures are needed.