Health,  Procedures

Dental Implants: Cost, Procedure, Risks, Pros and Cons

Key Facts

  • Dental Implants are artificial tooth roots that are implanted into the jawbone to replace missing teeth
  • The procedure for getting dental implants usually takes several months and involves multiple steps
  • They are made typically from titanium, which fuses with the jawbone and does not decay
  • Dental implants are a permanent solution to tooth loss and are an alternative to dentures and bridges
  • Success rates for dental implants are high, with an average of about 95-98%
  • Dental implants can improve chewing function, speech, and aesthetic appearance
  • The cost of dental implants can be higher than other tooth replacement options, but they are long-lasting

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are surgical fixtures that are placed into the jawbone and allowed to fuse with the bone over a few months. They serve as replacements for the roots of missing teeth and are used to support crowns, bridges, or dentures. In some cases, implants can be used to attach dentures. They are made of titanium, a biocompatible material that is accepted by the body and serves as a strong and sturdy foundation for replacement teeth.

Dental implants consist of three parts:

  • The Implant: A screw that serves as a root for your new teeth. This is what permanently attaches to your jaw.
  • The Abutment: A permanent connector that supports and holds a tooth or set of teeth and can only be removed by a dentist.
  • The Crown (Prosthesis): The part of the tooth that you can see. It’s usually made of zirconium or porcelain for durability and good looks.

Why It’s Done? Who Might Need Dental Implants?

Dental implants are done for various reasons such as:

  • Tooth Loss Due to Decay or Injury: This is the most common reason. Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth.
  • Jawbone Preservation: When you lose teeth, the jawbone may begin to lose its strength and firmness. Dental implants are the only dental restoration option that preserves and stimulates natural bone, helping to stimulate bone growth.
  • Dental Reconstruction: In cases where the tooth damage is severe and beyond repair, dental implants can help in complete dental reconstruction.

Individuals who might need dental implants include those who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason, individuals with a healthy oral cavity and general overall health, and those who want to improve their speech, comfort, and ease of eating.

How Do Dental Implants Work?

Dental implants are surgically implanted into the jawbone. Their primary function is to act as the root of the tooth. The titanium in the implants fuses with your jawbone, so the implants won’t slip, make noise, or cause bone damage the way dentures or fixed bridgework might. Also, the materials cannot decay as your teeth can.
Here’s how the process is generally mapped out:

  • Initial Consultation: The dentist will evaluate the health of your teeth and jaw and determine if dental implants are the right option for you.
  • Developing a Personalized Treatment Plan: A plan tailored to your situation is prepared. This plan is put together by a team of professionals who are experienced in oral surgery and restorative dentistry.
  • Tooth Removal: If necessary, the tooth will be extracted.
  • Jawbone Grafting (as needed): Sometimes the jawbone has to be prepared for the implant. This is known as bone grafting.
  • Dental Implant Placement: During surgery, the dental implant, made from titanium, is placed into the bone socket of the missing tooth.
  • Bone Growth and Healing: As the jawbone heals, it grows around the implanted metal post, securing it in the jaw. This process, which can take several weeks, helps provide a solid foundation for your new artificial tooth.
  • Abutment Placement: Once the implant bonds with the jawbone, an abutment, a small connector post, is attached to the post to securely hold the new tooth.
  • Impressions for New Tooth: Your dentist makes impressions of your teeth and creates a model of your bite.
  • Placement of the Artificial Tooth: The dentist then securely attaches the new tooth (crown) onto the abutment.

Patients might experience mild soreness and pain for a short period after each stage of the process, but pain medication can usually manage this. In essence, dental implants function and appear like natural teeth. With good oral hygiene, they can last for 20 years or more. It is a durable and fixed solution that does not require altering other teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does.

What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?

Dental implants offer several advantages over other tooth replacement options:

  • Improved Appearance: They look and feel like natural teeth. Because they fuse with the bone, they are permanent and provide a more natural smile.
  • Improved Speech: With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip and cause a person to mumble. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that your teeth might slip.
  • Improved Comfort: They become part of you, eliminating the discomfort of removable dentures.
  • Easier Eating: Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.
  • Improved Self-esteem: Dental implants can give you back your smile and help you feel better about yourself.
  • Improved Oral Health: Dental implants don’t require reducing other teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does. More of your own teeth are left intact, improving long-term oral health.
  • Durability: Implants are very durable and can last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime.
  • Convenience: Removable dentures are just that; removable. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing your dentures.

What Are the Risks or Complications of Dental Implants?

Like any surgery, dental implant surgery poses some health risks. Risks are rare, though, and when they do occur they’re usually minor and easily treated.
They include:

  • Infection at the Implant Site: Like any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection following implant placement.
  • Injury or Damage to Surrounding Structures: Such as other teeth or blood vessels.
  • Nerve Damage: This can cause pain, numbness, or tingling in your natural teeth, gums, lips, or chin.
  • Sinus Problems: When dental implants placed in the upper jaw protrude into one of your sinus cavities.

Procedures: Sinus Augmentation, Ridge Modification

Two procedures that may be necessary before an implant can be placed:

  • Sinus Augmentation (Sinus Lift): A key to implant success is the quantity and quality of the bone where the implant is to be placed. The upper back jaw has traditionally been one of the most difficult areas to successfully place dental implants due to insufficient bone quantity and quality and the close proximity to the sinus. Sinus augmentation can help correct this problem by raising the sinus floor and developing bone for the placement of dental implants.
  • Ridge Modification: Deformities in the upper or lower jaw can leave you with inadequate bone in which to place dental implants. To correct the problem, the gum is lifted away from the ridge to expose the bony defect. The defect is then filled with bone or bone substitute to build up the ridge. Ridge modification has been shown to greatly improve the appearance and increase the chances for successful implants that can last for years to come.

What Are Endosteal Implants and Subperiosteal Implants?

Dental implants are categorized into two main types based on their method of placement in the jawbone: Endosteal Implants and Subperiosteal Implants.

  • Endosteal Implants: These are the most common type of dental implants and are used as an alternative for patients with bridges or removable dentures. Endosteal implants are placed directly into the jawbone. The process involves surgically implanting a small screw, cylinder, or blade into the jawbone. Each implant holds one or more prosthetic teeth. This type of implant is generally used for patients with a healthy and adequate depth of jawbone. After the surrounding bone has healed and secured the implant, a second surgery may be needed to attach a post to the implant, and finally, an artificial tooth (or teeth) is attached to the post individually or grouped on a bridge or denture.
  • Subperiosteal Implants: These implants are placed on top of the jawbone but underneath the gum tissue. This type of implant is used for patients who do not have enough healthy natural jawbone and do not want to or cannot undergo a bone augmentation procedure to rebuild it. Subperiosteal implants have a metal frame that is fitted onto the jawbone just below the gum tissue. As the gums heal, the frame becomes fixed to the jawbone. Posts are then attached to the frame and protrude through the gums, allowing for the artificial teeth to be mounted onto them.

How Successful Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants have a high success rate, but it can vary depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed. In general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. With proper care, implants can last a lifetime. The success of dental implants depends on several factors including the patient’s oral hygiene practices, the skill of the dental surgeon, the quality and quantity of the bone where the implant is placed, and the patient’s overall health.

Can Anyone Get Dental Implants?

While dental implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth, they’re not suitable for everyone.
The ideal candidate for dental implants should have:

  • Good general health
  • Healthy gums
  • Sufficient bone density to support the implant
  • A commitment to meticulous oral hygiene and regular dental visits

People who are heavy smokers, suffering from uncontrolled chronic disorders such as diabetes or heart disease, or patients who have undergone radiation therapy to the head/neck area need to be evaluated on an individual basis. Additionally, they are generally not used in children or adolescents whose bones are still growing.

Who Shouldn’t Get Dental Implants?

There are certain conditions and factors that may preclude individuals from being good candidates for dental implants.
These include:

  • Poor General Health: Individuals with certain systemic diseases like uncontrolled diabetes, hemophilia, or severe immune deficiencies may not be suitable candidates due to the risk of postoperative infection or poor healing.
  • Insufficient Bone Density or Volume: To securely anchor the implant, sufficient bone density and volume are necessary. Individuals who have experienced bone loss in the jaw may not have enough bone to support an implant.
  • Smoking and Substance Abuse: Smoking has been associated with implant failure. Likewise, heavy alcohol consumption or substance abuse can interfere with healing after surgery.
  • Gum Disease: Active periodontal (gum) disease can lead to bone loss and gum infection. This condition should be treated before any implant procedure.
  • Pregnancy: As a general precaution, implant surgery is usually not performed on pregnant women due to concerns about medications and other factors that might affect the fetus.
  • Radiation Therapy: Patients who have had radiation treatment in the head and neck area may not be candidates for dental implants.
  • Young Patients: Children or adolescents whose jawbones have not yet fully developed.
  • Certain Medications: Individuals taking certain medications such as steroids or drugs that suppress the immune system may not be suitable candidates.
  • Financial Constraints: Dental implants can be costly, and not everyone can afford them, especially if dental insurance doesn’t cover them.

Types of Dental Implant Procedures

  • Single Tooth Implant: Used to replace a single missing tooth. Involves the placement of a single implant and crown.
  • Implant-Supported Bridge: Used for replacing multiple missing teeth. Fewer implants are used to support a bridge.
  • All-on-4 Implants: This method uses four implants to support an entire arch of teeth. It’s often used for individuals who have lost all or most of their teeth.
  • Mini Dental Implants (MDIs): These are narrower than regular dental implants and are often used when space is limited or for stabilizing dentures.
  • Immediate Load Dental Implants: Also known as same-day implants, this procedure allows placement of a temporary tooth during the same appointment as your dental implant placement.

How Should I Prepare for a Dental Implant?

The success of dental implants relies heavily on proper preparation and adherence to the advice of your dental health professional. Here’s a list of things to consider as a preparation to a dental implantation procedure:

  • Consultation and Examination: Start by consulting your dentist or oral surgeon. They will conduct a comprehensive dental exam which may include X-rays and models of your teeth and mouth.
  • Medical History Review: Share your complete medical history with your dentist, including any medical conditions and medications you are taking, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs and supplements.
  • Treatment Plan: Your dental care provider will create a detailed treatment plan tailored to your situation. This plan takes into account factors such as the number of teeth you need to replace and the condition of your jawbone.
  • Pre-Operative Instructions: Follow any pre-operative instructions provided by your dentist. This may include dietary instructions, medications, or a dental cleaning before the procedure.
  • Financial Planning: Check with your dental insurance provider to see what portion, if any, of the procedure is covered and make financial arrangements for payment.
  • Scheduling: Be sure to schedule the procedure for a time when you can take a few days off work to recover.
  • Support: Arrange for someone to take you to and from the procedure, as you may not be able to drive afterward.
  • Oral Hygiene: Maintain good oral hygiene leading up to the procedure.
  • Post-Operative Care: Make sure you understand the post-operative care required and have any necessary supplies on hand such as pain medication, cold packs, and soft foods.

Does Insurance Cover the Cost of Dental Implants?

The coverage for dental implants varies widely among insurance plans. Many dental insurance plans categorize dental implants as a cosmetic procedure and may not offer coverage. However, some insurance plans may partially cover the cost of dental implants. It’s essential to carefully review your insurance policy or speak with a representative to understand what is and isn’t covered regarding dental implants. Additionally, health insurance may sometimes provide coverage if the need for dental implants arises from an accident or a medical condition. It’s also worth noting that flexible spending accounts (FSAs) or health savings accounts (HSAs) can sometimes be used to pay for dental implants.

What Is Involved in Getting a Dental Implant?

Getting a dental implant typically involves several steps spread out over several months.
Here’s what you can generally expect:

  • Initial Consultation: This includes a thorough dental exam, X-rays, and consultation with your dentist or oral surgeon to determine if you’re a candidate for dental implants.
  • Treatment Planning: A personalized treatment plan is developed. This might include addressing any preliminary issues such as gum disease or bone loss.
  • Tooth Removal: If necessary, the damaged tooth is removed.
  • Bone Grafting: If your jawbone isn’t thick enough or is too soft, you may need bone grafting.
  • Implant Placement: During surgery, the dental implant post is placed into your jawbone.
  • Healing and Integration: You’ll need to wait for the bone to heal and integrate with the implant, which can take several months.
  • Abutment Placement: Once healing is complete, an abutment is attached to the implant post.
  • Impressions and Crown Fabrication: Impressions are taken of your mouth and used to create the crown.
  • Crown Placement: Finally, the crown is attached to the abutment.
  • Follow-Up Appointments: You will likely have follow-up appointments to check the implant and make sure everything is healing properly.

Are Dental Implants Safe?

Yes, dental implants are considered safe. Dental implant surgery has been practiced for many decades, and technological advancements have made the procedure highly predictable and successful. However, as with any surgical procedure, there are risks and potential complications. These might include infection, damage to surrounding teeth or blood vessels, nerve damage, and sinus problems (for upper jaw implants). It is essential to choose a qualified and experienced dentist or oral surgeon and to follow all pre-and post-operative care instructions closely.

What if a Dentist Told Me That I Don’t Qualify for Dental Implants Due to Bone Loss?

If a dentist has told you that you don’t qualify for dental implants due to bone loss, it’s important to understand that this doesn’t necessarily mean that dental implants are entirely out of the question. There are options to address bone loss and make dental implants a viable solution.
Here are a few steps to consider:

  • Seek a Second Opinion: Sometimes, different dentists have different levels of experience and comfort with complex implant cases. It’s always a good idea to get a second opinion from another dentist or an oral surgeon.
  • Bone Grafting: If bone loss is the primary concern, bone grafting is a procedure that can help rebuild the jawbone. Bone grafting involves adding bone or bone-like material to the jaw, which can create a more stable base for the implant.
  • Alternative Implant Options: There are alternative types of dental implants, such as zygomatic implants or mini dental implants, which might be suitable for individuals with bone loss.

Are Dental Implants Painful? How Painful Are Dental Implants?

Getting dental implants involves surgery, and there will be some level of discomfort involved. However, the procedure itself is generally performed under anesthesia, so you should not feel pain during the surgery. After the procedure, it is common to experience some pain, swelling, and bruising in the area where the implant was placed. The level of pain varies from person to person. For most patients, the discomfort is manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medications and typically begins to subside within a few days to a week.

How Do I Care for Dental Implants?

Caring for dental implants is similar to caring for your natural teeth and is crucial for ensuring the longevity of the implants.
Here are steps to take:

  • Daily Brushing and Flossing: Just like your natural teeth, dental implants should be brushed at least twice a day and flossed daily to remove plaque and bacteria.
  • Regular Dental Check-ups: Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are essential. Your dentist will check the implant to make sure that it’s stable and that your gums are healthy.
  • Avoid Chewing Hard Items: Chewing very hard items, such as ice or hard candies, can damage the crowns on your dental implants.
  • Don’t Smoke or Use Tobacco Products: Smoking or using tobacco products can weaken the bone structure and can contribute to implant failure.
  • Use a Low-Abrasive Toothpaste: Avoid toothpaste that contains abrasive ingredients, as they can scratch the surface of the crown.
  • Mouthwash: Use an antibacterial mouthwash to help keep the gums around the implant healthy.

By following proper care and maintenance, dental implants can last for many years, often for a lifetime. It’s important to talk to your dentist about any specific care instructions for your dental implants.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Dental Implant Surgery?

Recovery from dental implant surgery varies among individuals and depends on various factors including the number of implants, the patient’s overall health, and adherence to post-operative instructions.
Here’s a general timeline:

  • Immediate Aftermath (24-48 hours): Patients might experience some pain, swelling, and bruising. Soft foods and over-the-counter painkillers are recommended during this time.
  • First Week: Swelling should start to subside after the first few days. It’s important to maintain excellent oral hygiene, avoiding the surgical site when brushing.
  • Two Weeks to Six Weeks: Over the next several weeks, patients generally feel much better. A soft to normal diet can be resumed as comfort allows.
  • Three to Six Months: This is the period of osseointegration, where the implant fuses with the jawbone. It’s a critical phase in the implant’s success.
  • Six Months and Beyond: After the implant has integrated with the bone, the dentist will place the abutment and the crown. There might be slight discomfort for a few days after this procedure.

Complete healing and integration can take anywhere from three to nine months, sometimes more for complex cases with bone grafts.

How You Prepare for the Procedure

  • When Bone Grafting Is Required: If your jawbone isn’t thick enough or is too soft, you may need bone grafting before you can have dental implant surgery.
  • Placing the Dental Implant: During surgery, your dental surgeon makes a cut to open your gum and expose the bone. Holes are drilled into the bone where the dental implant metal post will be placed.
  • Waiting for Bone Growth: Once the metal implant post is placed in your jawbone, osseointegration begins. During this process, the jawbone grows into and unites with the surface of the dental implant. This process, which can take several months, helps provide a solid base for your new artificial tooth — just as roots do for your natural teeth.
  • Placing the Abutment: Once osseointegration is complete, you may need additional surgery to place the abutment. This minor surgery is typically done with local anesthesia in an outpatient setting.
  • Choosing Your New Artificial Teeth: After the abutment is placed, your gums must heal for about two weeks before the artificial tooth can be attached.

What Happens After Dental Implant Placement?

Patience and diligent post-operative care are key to the success of a dental implant procedure.After the dental implant is placed, it’s crucial to follow post-operative instructions to ensure proper healing.
Here’s what you should focus on:

  • Manage Discomfort: Use prescribed or over-the-counter pain medication as needed.
  • Oral Hygiene: Keep your mouth clean, but be gentle around the surgical site for the first few days.
  • Eat a Soft Diet: Stick to soft and nutritious foods for the first week or two.
  • Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol: Both can impede the healing process.
  • Attend Follow-up Appointments: Your dentist will likely schedule several follow-up appointments to monitor your healing process.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

The lifespan of dental implants can vary depending on several factors such as the patient’s oral hygiene, overall health, and lifestyle choices. However, with proper care, dental implants can last for many years.
Here’s what to expect:

  • Implant itself: The titanium implant that is placed in the jawbone is designed to be a long-lasting solution and can often last a lifetime.
  • Crown or prosthetic tooth: The crown or the artificial tooth attached to the implant usually has a lifespan of about 10 to 15 years. However, with meticulous care, it can last longer.

When Should I See My Dentist?

After getting a dental implant, it is important to see your dentist for regular follow-up appointments to ensure that the implant is integrating properly and there are no signs of complications. Here are scenarios when you should definitely see your dentist:

  • Scheduled Follow-Ups: Attend all the follow-up appointments as scheduled by your dentist.
  • Discomfort or Pain: If you experience unexplained or severe discomfort or pain around the implant area.
  • Loose Implant or Crown: If the implant or the artificial tooth feels loose.
  • Swelling or Infection: Any signs of swelling or infection around the implant site should be reported to the dentist immediately.
  • Regular Dental Check-Ups: After the implant procedure is complete, continue to see your dentist for regular dental check-ups and cleanings.

I Have Some of My Own Teeth. Can I Still Have Implants?

Yes, you can still have dental implants even if you have some of your own natural teeth. In fact, dental implants can be an excellent solution for replacing individual missing teeth.
There are different types of dental implant solutions depending on the number and location of the missing teeth:

  • Single Tooth Implant: If you’re missing a single tooth, an implant can be placed without affecting the adjacent teeth.
  • Implant-Supported Bridge: If you’re missing several teeth in a row, a few implants can be used to support a bridge, without the need to alter the neighboring natural teeth.
  • Implant-Supported Dentures: If you have lost most or all of your teeth, implants can be used to anchor a full set of dentures for a more stable and comfortable fit.

It’s important to have a detailed consultation with your dentist to evaluate the health of your remaining teeth and to discuss the best implant solution for your specific situation.

How Long Does the Treatment Take?

The duration of dental implant treatment can vary widely depending on several factors including the number of implants, the need for additional procedures such as bone grafting, and the individual’s healing process.
Generally, the treatment process can be broken down into several stages:

  • Initial Consultation and Planning: This involves dental exams, imaging, and treatment planning which can take a few weeks.
  • Preparatory Procedures: If bone grafting or other procedures are needed to prepare the jawbone, this can add several months to the treatment timeline to allow for healing.
  • Implant Placement: The surgical placement of the implant into the jawbone usually requires a healing period of about 3 to 6 months for the bone to bond with the implant.
  • Abutment and Crown Placement: Once the implant is secure, an abutment is attached and then the artificial tooth or crown. This might take a few weeks for proper fitting and adjustments.

In total, the process from consultation to the final placement of the crown can take anywhere from 6 months to a year or more.

Are the Implant Teeth Difficult to Clean?

Dental implants and the attached crowns function much like natural teeth and require similar care. They are not particularly difficult to clean, but it is essential to maintain good oral hygiene practices to ensure the longevity of the implant.
Here are a few tips for cleaning implant teeth:

  • Regular Brushing: Brush at least twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush
  • Flossing: Use dental floss or interdental brushes to clean between the implant and adjacent teeth
  • Mouthwash: Use an antimicrobial mouthwash to reduce bacteria in the mouth
  • Dental Visits: Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings are crucial

If I Had Gum Disease When I Had My Own Teeth, Will I Get It with the Implants?

Patients who have a history of gum disease are at a higher risk of developing a similar infection around the dental implants, known as peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is an inflammatory condition affecting the gum and bone surrounding the dental implant.

To minimize the risk of peri-implantitis, it is crucial for individuals with a history of gum disease to:

  • Maintain impeccable oral hygiene
  • Attend regular dental check-ups
  • Follow the dentist’s recommendations for preventative care
  • Quit smoking as it’s a significant risk factor for gum disease and peri-implantitis

Discuss your medical history and concerns with your dentist so that a personalized plan can be developed for your dental implant care and maintenance.

Can I Take the Teeth Out if They Are Fixed to Implants?

No, you cannot take the teeth out if they are fixed to implants. Dental implants are designed to be a permanent solution to tooth loss. The implant itself is a titanium post that is surgically placed into the jawbone, and it acts as a replacement for the root of the missing tooth. A crown is then attached to the implant and is fixed in place. Only a dentist can remove the crown or the implant if necessary, for example, for repairs or replacement.
There are, however, implant-supported dentures that can be removable. These are called overdentures and they can be taken out for cleaning. The denture itself is attached to the implants with special mechanisms allowing them to be snapped on and off.

Do the Implants Show?

Dental implants are designed to be discreet and to blend in with your natural teeth. The titanium implant post is not visible as it is embedded in the jawbone. The visible part is the crown, which is custom-made to match the color and shape of your natural teeth. When properly placed and restored, dental implants are indistinguishable from natural teeth to the casual observer.

Do I Have an Implant for Each Missing Tooth?

Not necessarily. While it’s possible to have an individual implant for each missing tooth, it’s also common to use fewer implants to support multiple teeth.
Here are a few possible scenarios:

  • Single Tooth Replacement: If you are missing one tooth, a single implant with a crown can replace it.
  • Multiple Teeth Replacement: If you are missing several teeth in a row, an implant-supported bridge can be used. This typically involves placing an implant at either end of the space and then attaching a bridge (which is a set of connected crowns) to those implants.
  • Full Arch Replacement: If you are missing all of your teeth on the upper or lower arch, an implant-supported denture or full-arch bridge can be used. This usually involves placing several implants (often four to six) in the jaw and attaching a full arch of teeth to those implants.

The number of implants needed and the type of prosthesis used depends on various factors including the number of missing teeth, the quality and quantity of the jawbone, and patient preferences.

What If I Have an Accident?

In the event that you have an accident that affects your dental implants, it’s crucial to contact your dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible. Just like natural teeth, dental implants can be damaged by trauma. Your dentist will need to assess the damage to determine the appropriate course of action. This may include repairing or replacing the implant crown, ensuring that the implant itself is stable, and checking for any injury to the surrounding tissues. Following an accident, it’s also important to follow any additional care instructions provided by your healthcare provider.

What Happens If the Implant Does Not Fuse with the Bone?

One of the key stages in the dental implant process is the fusion of the implant with the bone, a process known as osseointegration. In rare cases, the implant fails to properly bond with the bone. This can be due to various factors such as poor bone quality, infection, or the individual’s healing response.
If an implant does not fuse properly with the bone, it cannot provide a stable foundation for the crown and will likely need to be removed. Your dentist or oral surgeon will discuss the next steps with you. In some cases, a bone graft may be performed to increase bone volume, and a new implant can be placed after the area has healed. Alternatively, your dentist may suggest alternative methods of tooth replacement, such as a bridge or denture.

Can I Get the Treatment from the NHS?

In the United Kingdom, dental implant treatment is usually considered a private treatment. However, in certain cases, the National Health Service (NHS) may provide coverage for dental implants if there is a medical need for the treatment. For example, if a person has suffered severe facial injuries or has a congenital condition that affects the jaw, they may be eligible for implant treatment under the NHS. It’s important to have a thorough discussion with your dentist about the available options, and they can guide you through the process if you may be eligible for treatment through the NHS.

Bottom Line

Dental implants represent a substantial investment in your oral health and quality of life. They provide a stable, durable, and aesthetic solution to tooth loss. However, as with any medical procedure, there are risks and considerations to weigh. It’s important to be well-informed, to communicate openly with your dental care provider, and to understand the commitments in terms of time, oral hygiene, and maintenance. For many, the benefits of improved function, appearance, and self-confidence make dental implants an invaluable choice. It’s key to follow your dentist’s recommendations for care and maintenance to ensure the longevity of your dental implants.

This article is complete and was published on June 15, 2023, and last updated on August 26, 2023.

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