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Frequently asked questions
Implants are often the most predictable, beautiful, durable, and safe treatment available to replace a missing tooth or teeth.
Dental implant maintenance is basically the same as for a natural tooth. When your teeth are being professionally cleaned, there may be different instruments used, but the at-home care should not change. Smoking should be avoided, however, as this can affect the long term health of the area.
Dental implants have long-term success rates of up to 95%. Once they are “integrated” into your bone, they will function just like natural teeth. They also cannot decay. And they don’t require any special at-home care.
Any surgical procedure has risks. The most common is if the dental implant fails to “integrate” into the bone and is lost. Common factors that affect this are smoking, diabetes, and poor at-home care. The second most common problem is called peri-implantitis, which is an infection around the dental implant, leading to possible loss of bone, or loss of the implant itself. In the significant majority of cases, however, implants can last for many years, with nothing more than routine maintenance both at home and at regular dental visits.
Successful implants allow for function to be restored in a long-lasting way, meaning a return to desired aesthetics and ability to eat most foods without difficulty.
Dental implant placement is surprisingly comfortable, with very little post-treatment pain. Most patients return to work within a day or two (some even earlier). The time it takes to place a tooth or teeth on the implant can vary depending on the location within the mouth. Dental implants in the lower jaw typically heal more quickly than those in the upper jaw due to the bone being more dense there. The permanent implant-supported crown can be made and inserted once this healing (“integration”) occurs, which can be from 3-6 months.
Every insurance provider has its own policies for what is or is not covered. To see if you’re covered, give us a call at (212) 406-3686.
In dentistry we never say “forever,” but implants can last for many, many years if the patient remains healthy, does not smoke, and continues a regular schedule of dental visits.
Fixed bridges often fail, and when they do, the most common reason is decay on the supporting teeth. This obviously cannot happen with titanium implants. Dentures, by definition, are removable, and they are typically a last resort for patients. Removable dentures, no matter how well they are made, will move to some degree, are artificially thick, and often not especially beautiful. Whenever possible, a fixed implant is the better solution.
“Integration” with the bone typically takes three to six months, and the rest of the process can take as little as two visits for a simple case, but could require additional visits for a more complicated situation.