If you ever considered getting dental implants, what’s holding you back? The two most common concerns we hear are cost and fear of the unknown. While dental implants are the gold standard in tooth replacement, it is a time commitment, and the idea of essentially having a screw implanted into the jaw sounds daunting. The reality, however, is it will give you the long-lasting, natural-looking solution no other option can. At Tecumseh Ridge Dental in Norman, we perform dental implants routinely, and we want you to have a healthy and attractive smile, which is why we offer a variety of tooth replacement options, including dental implants.
1. Dental Implants vs. Dentures
Dentures were for a long time considered an excellent tooth replacement option that works well for many people – and continues to do so. But today, new materials, technology, and implant techniques give us a great alternative to dentures with dental implants. Let’s look at some of the benefits of dental implants:
- Dental implants support your jaw health: Dentures sit on top of your gums, but a dental implant is a small titanium post placed surgically in your jaw, just like a natural tooth root. This helps to prevent bone loss and gum recession which is a common problem with dentures.
- They provide greater function: Because of their stability after being placed in your jaw, dental implants restore a much higher level of your chewing function compared to dentures.
- Implants look like natural teeth: After the implant heals, a restoration like a crown, bridge, or denture will be customized to blend seamlessly with your smile.
- Implants offer stability for restorations: Because the implant is rooted in your jaw, we can use it to stabilize full or partial dentures to keep them from shifting and moving unexpectedly.
- Implants are long-lasting: With routine oral hygiene, your implant is permanent and will last for decades.
2. What to Expect
As you consider dental implant surgery, you may be wondering what it will be like or what you should expect.
The entire process can take several months. Before implant surgery, and before you decide on dental implants, a consultation with our dentist will give you a better idea of the procedure. Dr. Wheatley will examine your mouth and jaw to make sure implants are a safe and viable option. Considerations include the state of your jawbone and the position of your upper sinus. In some cases, you’ll need pre-treatments to bring you into candidacy for dental implants.
We then create a custom treatment plan for you, and during your consultation, you will also discuss the cost and pricing of your implant surgery based on your specific situation.
If you are a good candidate for dental implants, we schedule your treatment.
Prior to placing the implant, we may schedule appointments to remove decayed teeth and to repair other dental problems. In some cases, a bone graft may be necessary. For more on that please read below.
Once it is time for your implant to be placed, the procedure is not complex or painful. You will be sufficiently numbed up in the area and the doctor surgically implants a thin screw made of durable titanium. The titanium integrates with your jawbone over several months. When bonding is complete, your dentist attaches a replacement tooth to the implant.
You may experience pain and soreness for a few days following your dental implant’s placement, but we will work with you on pain management options. Dr. Wheatley may recommend pain relievers to see you through.
We will monitor your healing process and make sure your gum tissue and bone remain healthy and adjust to the implant as planned. Once the implant is healed, you will have to come back to us once again to place the permanent crown on the implant. Once that is healed, you simply brush and floss twice each day and come in for your regular cleanings and routine checkups. No other maintenance is required.
To learn more about dental implants, continue here.
3. What does bone grafting have to do with it?
In some cases, a bone graft may be recommended prior to your implant being placed. Dental bone grafts are done to help prevent long-term health problems associated with tooth loss and gum disease, as well as to provide sufficient bone material to support dental implants. This standard procedure is usually safe and well-tolerated, though there are risks and complications possible as there are for most medical procedures.
Following your doctor’s guidance during recovery will help minimize your chances of having problems after the procedure and improve the odds of maintaining good dental health in the years ahead. There are several ways dental bone grafting can be done, but the basic procedure is the same: A dentist or oral surgeon makes an incision in the jaw and attaches other bone material to the jaw. A dental bone graft is usually done if someone has lost one or more adult teeth or has gum disease. Both of these conditions can cause bone loss in the jaw.
The preferred approach for dental bone grafting is to use your own bone. This is known as an autograft and is considered to increase bony support in the jaw and promote faster healing and new bone formation. Once your bone graft has healed, you will go through the same procedure as described above.
4. What do dental implants cost?
The cost of dental implants can vary widely, depending on your teeth and bone condition and how many teeth you plan to replace. Dr. Wheatley will give you a cost estimate once he has examined your situation. This cost will include the surgery for placement of an implant, all the components, and the implant crown. Please check if your insurance will pay for treatments such as dental implants. While most dental insurances help pay for the implant and crown portion depending on the policy, others won’t.
5. Are there alternatives to dental implants?
Dental implants replace missing teeth that look and feel just like natural teeth. However, dentures or bridges to replace missing teeth remain a fine alternative to dental implants. Yet more and more patients choose dental implants because other tooth replacement options may interfere with eating, smiling, speaking, and other activities of everyday life, and in rare cases, could lead to tooth or bone deterioration. Because of all these advantages, dental implants provide excellent long-term value and can be an excellent investment in your long-term oral health.
Restoring smiles is a mission we value here at Tecumseh Ridge Dental in Norman. Restorative dental treatments can have a transformative impact on the lives of our patients. Be it dentures, bridges, implants, or a full Smile Makeover, our approach is always comprehensive, and we are dedicated to helping our patients achieve a smile to be proud of and functioning at the highest level of comfort and function. We design and implement solutions for each dental restorative issue, from the simple to the complex, with precision, skill, and high regard for esthetics, longevity, and our patient’s long-term health.