Posted December 10, 2018
Dental implants are commonly used to replace a broken tooth or a tooth with extensive decay that cannot be restored with a root canal or crown. About 1.9 Americans have one or more dental implants each year. Before getting an implant, find out whether it’s the best dental treatment option. Here are five questions to ask your dentist.
1. How will a dental implant benefit my oral health?
A dental implant is designed to fill in for a missing tooth and should feel and function like a normal tooth. After a tooth is pulled and the oral tissue heals, an implant screw, made of titanium or other materials, is inserted into the jawbone. Once the screw adheres to the bone, it’s capped with a crown and looks similar to other teeth.
Titanium implants, invented over 40 years ago, have significantly improved dental treatments reports the American Dental Association. Previously, dentists replaced a missing tooth with a partial denture or a bridge, designed to look like a tooth, that is attached to neighboring teeth. While both options still are used today, dentures and bridges can be uncomfortable, weaken the jawbone, and require periodic replacement.
2. What happens if a missing tooth is not replaced?
When a tooth is lost and not replaced, people may experience difficulty chewing foods, and their jawbone may deteriorate faster, increasing the risk of decay and gum disease and losing neighboring teeth. The remaining teeth may shift, causing bite problems, and the facial skin may sag and create an uneven smile.
3. How long do implants last?
Research shows that 95 percent of implants on average have lasted 13 years or more. Implants today are made of newer materials and designed to fit better, so the jawbone heals faster.
4. How much do implants cost?
Although implants have become a popular dental treatment, many dental insurance plans do not cover the cost. In some cases, medical insurance may pay some of the expense. Depending on the location and dentist, an implant, crown and related dental work can cost $2,000 to $10,000 or more. Ask the dentist to provide a written treatment plan outlining all of the costs, appointment schedules and follow up checkups. Also, ask about the type of implant used and why it’s the best choice for your needs.
5. What is the dentist’s experience with implants?
Before scheduling an implant procedure, find out the dentist’s experience, such as: What is their training with implants? Are they board certified in oral and maxillofacial surgery, periodontics or prosthodontics, or have they received special training? How many patients have they treated with dental implants?
Daily tooth brushing and flossing can help prevent the need for dental implants. Read this blog to learn more.