Tooth vs. Implant

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Implant Information

Implants are very durable and will last many years. They can replace individual teeth, partial bridges or even the full row of upper or lower teeth.  Dental implants can help restore almost anyone’s smile even if natural teeth have been lost to injury or disease.

Dental implants are permanent fixtures of titanium posts anchored to the jawbone and topped with individual replacement teeth or a bridge that screws or cements into the posts.  These implants serve as "roots" for the tooth, bridge or denture which is on top.

A very common reason people consider implants is because their lower denture slides and makes chewing and talking difficult.  The majority of patients treated with dental implants experience a significant improvement in their ability to chew food and feel more comfortable.  Nearly everyone who can have routine dental care can successfully use implants.

Single teeth or a full or partial row of teeth can be replaced with dental implants. Implants are very durable and will last many years and require no more maintenance than real teeth.

The science and technology of implants are very mature having been developed more than 30 years ago.  Additionally, the success rate for implants is remarkably high: 98% for lower implants and 91% for upper implants.

Treatment with dental implants requires meticulous planning for best results.

To ensure the best possible outcome, the first phase of treatment is the diagnostic phase.  Prospective implant patients are screened by a team of dental implant specialists at the UI College of Dentistry.  At the screening appointment, the specialists use an x-ray to determine if the bone in the jaw is adequate to hold the implant. To help with measurements and planning, models of the mouth may, also, be made.

From the information gained during the diagnostic phase, the team determines the number, type and location of the dental implants, and the second or surgical phase can begin. A guide is made for the surgeons from the models of the patient's mouth, and the implants are placed.  Most often, implants only require one surgical procedure using a local anesthetic and sedative. However, there are occasions when the implants may require two surgical procedures. This is determined on an individual basis.

After the placement procedure, the gums may be sore 7 - 10 days. There may also be in the gums as the bone grows around the implant which may take several weeks.  It can take as little as 6 weeks up to as much as 6 months implants to heal completely.  The healing time depends on the person, the situation and the type of implant.

Following adequate healing, a series of appointments will be made so the team members can make the bridge or individual teeth which are customized to each patient.

Treatment time from placement of the implants until final restoration may take three to twelve months.

Fees are based on the number and type of implants. They can range from $1,000 to $25,000 depending upon your specific needs. The fees can be more accurately determined following the diagnostic work-up and evaluation by the team as fees are dependent on many factors. Dental insurance may cover a portion of the treatment costs.

Dental implants require the same “maintenance” as real teeth, including brushing, flossing and regular dental check-ups.  Routine maintenance, check-ups and x-rays will be necessary to insure your implant will have a long life.

The tooth or teeth which sit on top of the implant do require routine maintenance, as well, and are subject to regular wear and tear.

Breakage of the implant parts is rare but is usually repairable.