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Dental Implant FAQs

Q. What are they?

A. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots used to replace a missing tooth or teeth.

Q. What are they made of?

A. Implants are composed of a titanium material and shaped like screws, cylinders or blades. Restorations — either dental crowns, bridges or implant-supported dentures — are secured to the implants after a healing period; or possibly immediately after the placement procedure.

Q. How much do they cost?

A. The cost of dental implants depends on many factors, such as the type of procedure, the location where the procedure is performed, the type of dental insurance you have, and the type of material your dentist uses. Single implants may range in cost from $1,000 to $5,000, whereas the cost of full-mouth reconstructive dental implants can range from $24,000 and up.

Q. Are they covered by insurance?

A. Coverage is determined by individual insurance companies. The amount dental insurance companies may pay toward treatment varies.

Q. Are they safe?

A. Implants are a safe and clinically proven alternative to bridges and dentures for replacing missing teeth in qualified candidates. People with certain risk factors, such as smokers, and those with inadequate bone density or who are immune-compromised, may not qualify for treatment.

Q. What's the procedure's success rate?

A. Dental implants are among the most predictable tooth replacement options. While there is no guarantee that a given implantation procedure will be successful, studies have shown a five-year success rate of 95 percent for lower jaw implants, and a 90 percent success rate for upper jaw implants.

Q. Can smokers have dental implants?

A. Dentists strongly advise patients to quit smoking before undergoing the procedure. Smokers are at higher risk for implant failure.

Q. How are they placed?

A. Dental implants are placed into the jawbone after the dentist drills a small hole into the site where the tooth is missing. This hole is slowly widened to accommodate the screw. Once placed, the gum tissue is replaced over the implant and a protective cover screw is placed on top for healing. After up to six months of healing, the dentist uncovers the implant and attaches an abutment, which attaches the crown or tooth-like replacement. In some cases, the abutment may be placed at the same sitting as the implant. When the abutment is placed, a temporary crown will be provided to promote healing.

Q. Is the procedure painful?

A. A combination of local anesthesia and sedation dentistry, if necessary, is used during implant placement, so patients do not feel pain during the procedure. After the initial surgery, discomfort should be minimal. However, prescription pain medications may be prescribed to relieve any post-surgical pain or discomfort.

Q. What is the minimum age for dental implants?

A. They can be placed anytime after adolescence or when bone growth is complete.

Q. What are the advantages compared to bridges or dentures?

A. Implants are stronger and more dependable than conventional bridges cemented to natural teeth, or traditional partial or full removable dentures. However, dental implants may be used to support a bridge or dentures when multiple teeth are missing to provide better support and stability, help maintain the jaw bone, and reduce gum tissue irritation.

Q. How long is the recovery period?

A. Healing from the surgical procedure make take up to six months. Fitting and seating the crown or other restoration may take up to two additional months after that. However, every case is different, and routine follow-up appointments and regular dental check-ups will be necessary to maintain good oral health.

Q. How long do they last?

A. A dental implant restoration can remain in place and function properly for more than 40 years when proper oral hygiene is followed and regular dental check-ups are maintained.

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    Kenneth A Ingber, DMD

    Washington, DC 20006
    (202) 331-7474

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    Dr. Ivory Hancock

    Washington, DC 20036
    (202) 737-7025

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    Dr. Scott Shalit

    Garnet Valley, PA 19060
    (610) 459-5859

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    Dr. Lance Panarello

    Aston, PA 19014
    (484) 498-2132

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    Dr. Dan David

    Phoenixville, PA 19460
    (610) 935-1015