Have a question about dental implants, bridges, or implant-supported dentures? Let one of our board-certified dentists answer your question. Browse our list of FAQs, or fill out the form below to submit your own.
How long do dental implants last?
According to multiple long term studies, the general consensus is that most dental implants can last for well over 25 years. It is also noted that the majority of practicing implant dentists think that dental implants can even last a lifetime for many if not most patients.
Dentistry has millions and millions of long term implant cases where the implant looks great after 25 years of function. This evidence shows that most implants will continue to function for many years and continue to be strong indefinitely.
It is also interesting to know that when compared to other tooth replacement alternatives, implants are far and away the most durable and successful treatment option available. For example, studies show that tooth borne fixed bridges can have an average lifespan of about 10 years and may need to be replaced periodically due to decay, mobility, or fractures.
Considering that dental implants have a continuous long term success rate above 95%, dentists all agree that implants have proven to be the best choice for tooth replacement.
How painful is a dental implant?
Dental implant procedures are similar to everyday dental treatments and overall discomfort is minimal. Implant surgery appointments can either be short or more extensive depending on how many implants are being placed.
Most single implants have little or no postoperative discomfort while more complex surgery appointments require more pain control medications. There are millions of implants placed each year with only local anesthetic and any postoperative pain is easily controlled with mild analgesics.
The initial surgery visit can cause mild discomfort but subsequent restorative appointments rarely cause discomfort. In fact, many times local anesthetic is not even needed for restorative appointments!
How long does a dental implant procedure take?
Simple single implant procedures are usually very straightforward and require minimal appointment time for experienced implant dentists. If there is sufficient bone volume, the implant placement surgery can be completed in less than an hour total using only local anesthetics.
After 3 months, impressions are made for the final crown and the entire process can be completed in 3 appointments total.
Complex implant cases that replace multiple teeth, require more implants, or need bone grafting may have longer waiting periods.
Patients may need to wear temporaries for extended periods to allow proper healing times and to make sure the implants have integrated to the bone (osseointegration).
As a general rule, even some of the most complex implant cases can be totally completed within 10 months. Treatment time tables should be discussed early on during the planning stage and can be outlined in detail according to the case.
It is also important to note that due to possible unforeseen issues, dental implants can sometimes need additional time for healing. Because of this, it is imperative that patients understand these possible delays and have a level of flexibility.
Do they put you to sleep for dental implants?
For simple implant procedures, sedation is generally not required.
For those patients that have anxiety, light sedation, or anxiolysis, is available. Anxiolysis is most often achieved by using medications in the benzodiazepine family, like Valium or Triazolam. These medications are extremely safe and give a great calming sensation during the procedure.
If a patient desires to be put to sleep completely, I.V. or oral conscious sedation is always an option for dental implant surgeries. For more complex or longer surgery appointments, conscious sedation can make the overall dental implant surgery experience more tolerable.
Any questions about anxiolysis or sedation must be discussed early in the treatment planning process.
Does dental health insurance cover implants?
Yes! Patients are surprised to find that most dental insurance plans cover implants and the final restorations. According to IE research on dental implant costs, over 70% of dental insurance policies offer significant benefits for dental implants and these benefits can be used according to the patient’s specific needs. Pretreatment authorizations are required to determine exactly what policies will pay and every dental office does this preliminary paperwork for the patient.
Are dental implants in Mexico safe and affordable?
Dental implant tourism is a growing area that has many unanswered questions attached to it. There are quality dental implant options in other countries, but the overall consensus is that it is hit or miss.
Dental implants are intricate procedures that require close postoperative supervision and focused care. Unfortunately, inexpensive implant solutions have inherent risks that can be challenging to resolve or repair.
If there are problems with dental implants done abroad, these issues can lead to catastrophic failures and outcomes that are difficult to overcome. While implants done in other countries may be successful, it is imperative to know that there are inherent risks involved with implant dentistry done in other countries.
What’s the difference between a dental implant and a bridge?
Dental implants are the most logical way to replace a missing tooth. Implants closely mimic natural teeth in form and function. Tooth supported bridges have been used for decades to replace missing teeth and are still used today with good success.
What’s the difference between a dental implant and dentures?
Dental implants are anchors that imitate natural teeth in form and function. Dentures, or false teeth, are made of acrylic and in no way resemble real teeth. People that wear dentures are often greatly disillusioned by the final result and struggle to chew or even wear them for looks.
Does Medicare cover dental implants?
No, never. Unfortunately, government funded programs like Medicare or Medicaid pay for only very limited dental treatments. These programs can generally cover simple dental procedures like xrays, extractions, and cleanings but do not pay for more extensive restorative options.