Dental Implants - FAQ
What is a dental implant?
The dental implants used by Dr. Kraut are small titanium cylinders that serve as the replacement for the root portion of a missing tooth. After Dr. Kraut places the implant in the bone of the jaw, the patient's body generates bone to replace the bone that was lost when the original tooth was lost and when the hole was made for the implant. The new bone grows around, and bonds with, the implant. This process (called implant integration) takes place over a period of several months. After the implant has bonded with the bone, it serves as a stable anchor for replacement teeth. Dental implants may be used to replace a single lost tooth or many missing teeth. Implant supported replacement teeth look and function like natural teeth.
What are the benefits of implants?
When teeth are missing, the jawbone shrinks causing the lips to recede making the face look much older. Because dental implants are actually bonded to the jaw bone they slow or stop this process in the same manner as natural teeth.
Because the replacement teeth are firmly anchored to the stable implant, the replacement teeth can remain in the mouth during all of life's normal activities.
Confident in the look and function of implant supported replacement teeth, patients tend to be relaxed and smiling. We know that this makes people appear younger and more attractive.
Because natural teeth sit on top of the jaw and gums, rocking of the dentures may occur, particularly as the bone continues to recede. Gum irritation and the pain of exposed nerves associated with traditional dentures is eliminated with dental implants.
Implant supported replacement teeth eliminate the numbing, slurred speech and clicking sounds that are caused by efforts to keep dentures from slipping in the mouth.
The average denture patient, with an excellent fitting denture, eats at 15-20% efficiency compared to a person with natural teeth. Dental implants allow you to eat your normally healthy diet with meats and fresh fruits and vegetables.
A full denture covers the roof of the mouth which reduces the sense of taste. With dental implants, it isn't necessary to cover the roof or floor of the mouth.
Unlike traditional crowns and bridges, the use of dental implants eliminates the need to modify (grind down) natural teeth on either side of the spot where teeth have been lost.
Who is a good candidate for implants?
- Patients who have lost one or more teeth due to injury, disease or decay
- Patients who are committed to daily attention to oral hygiene
- Patients of any age in good general health
What factors reduce the success of implants?
- Certain chronic diseases
- Poor dental hygiene
- Radiation treatments
Is there pain or discomfort involved?
With any surgery there can be some discomfort. In addition, individual reactions to discomfort or pain vary. Dr. Kraut and his staff use the latest techniques for anesthesia and sedation to absolutely minimize the discomfort.
Dr. Kraut will prescribe mild pain medication to be taken for a few days following surgery. Most patients indicate that there is less discomfort than they anticipated. Dr. Kraut can help you contact former patients if this is a particular concern.
How long will it take?
Complete implant reconstruction usually involves a period from four to nine months. After initial surgery, time is needed for your jaw to grow around the implant. The rate of growth varies, related to the patient's overall health and the absence of negative factors.
After the bone has healed, the surgeon will make a small incision in the gum tissue to allow a connecting post to be attached to the implant. Healing of that incision takes another three to six weeks.
It may take several visits and another several months for your restorative dentist to fabricate the replacement teeth. There are a number of options for attaching your replacement teeth to the implants. Dr. Kraut will discuss these options with you and your restorative dentist before treatment begins. Since this part of the process is most visible, you will be especially anxious to have it done to your satisfaction.