Swiss Dental Implants

Dental Implant

What is a Dental Implant

A dental implant, sometimes called a tooth implant, is an artificial tooth root (synthetic material) that is surgically anchored into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place. The benefit of using dental implants is that they don’t rely on neighboring teeth for support, they are permanent, and are very stable. For this reason, implants are an excellent solution to tooth loss because they look and feel like natural teeth.

Dental Implant
A dental implant – usually made from titanium

Implant material is made from different types of metallic and bone-like ceramic materials that are compatible with body tissue. Dentists typically use two different types of dental implants: the first is placed directly into the jaw bone, like natural tooth roots; the second is used when the jaw structure is limited, therefore, a custom-made metal framework fits directly on the existing bone.

Can I receive dental implants?

Talk with your dentist about whether you are an implant candidate. You must be in good health and have the proper bone structure and healthy gums for the implant to stay in place. For this reason, if you suffer from chronic problems, such as clenching or bruxism, or systemic diseases, such as diabetes, the success rate for implants decreases dramatically. People who are unable to wear dentures may also be good candidates. Additionally, people who smoke or drink alcohol may not be good candidates.

What can I expect during this procedure?

First, your dentist must perform surgery to anchor the “artificial root” into or on your jaw bone. Therefore, we will use local anesthesia during the procedure. Your dentist may prescribe medications for soreness after the surgery.

Before and After Dental Implants
Before and After Dental Implant Procedure

How long does the process take?

The whole process takes up to nine months to complete. However, with technological advances the healing time involved may decrease. Each patient heals differently, so times will vary. Your dentist must surgically place the screws and posts, which can take up to six months to heal. Next, they must perform the fitting of replacement teeth, taking no more than two months to heal.

What is the success rate of implants?

The success rate for implants depends on the tooth’s purpose and location in the mouth. Therefore, the success rate is about 95 percent for those placed in the front of the lower jaw and 85 percent for those placed in the sides and rear of the upper jaw.

How do I care for implants?

Your overall health may affect the success rate of dental implants. Poor oral hygiene is the main reason why most implants fail. It is important to floss and brush around the fixtures at least twice a day, without metal objects. Your dentist will give you specific instructions on how to care for your new implants. Additional cleanings of up to four times per year may be necessary to ensure that you retain healthy gums.

What is the cost of implants?

Since implants involve surgery and are more involved, they cost more than traditional bridge work. However, dental and medical insurance policies may cover some dental procedures and portions of the restoration. Your dentist can help you with this process.

Is my dentist trained in implant therapy?

Only dentists who have received training through an extensive program can complete this procedure. Ask your dentist questions about his or her training in implant therapy. If unable to, they can refer you to an office that can assist you.

Additional Reading

Sources: “Dental implants: Are they for me?”, Quintessence Books, 1993; Compendium, September 1997; Journal of American Dental Association, August 1998; American Academy of Implant Dentistry; American Academy of Implant Prosthodontics; Consumer Reports.