Dental Implants 101

Reuters reports that 3 million people in the U.S. currently have dental implants, and another 500,000 implants are placed each year. Dental implants are a popular solution for people with teeth issues, such as missing teeth!

What Are Dental Implants?

It may seem counterintuitive, but dental implants are not actually false teeth; they are the metal posts that false teeth may be attached to. These posts, which are often made of titanium, are surgically implanted into your jawbone. After surgery, your bone tissue will grow around the implant. Once you’ve healed, the dental implant is a permanent part of your body.

When your dentist attaches false teeth to these posts, they behave exactly like real teeth.

How Long Does It Take?

In most cases, getting dental implants takes two surgeries. The recovery process can be anywhere from 6 to 8 months.

In the first procedure, a dental surgeon will attach the implants to your jawbone. This procedure can happen while you are under a local anesthetic, but most patients opt for a general anesthetic. Most patients experience minimal discomfort.

Over the next few months, your jawbone will heal, and new bone will grow to secure the implant. Some dentists recommend that their patients wear a temporary prosthetic tooth until the second procedure.

Now that the new implants are secure in your jawbone, the dental surgeon will attach new, permanent replacement teeth to your dental implants. With regular care and cleaning, your replacement teeth will last a lifetime.

Will My Insurance Cover Dental Implants?

Getting dental implants is a medical procedure. Your medical insurance might cover the cost if you lost your teeth because of a medical condition or an accident. If it is a purely cosmetic position, your coverage will likely not cover the cost.

What Are the Risks?

Every surgical procedure comes with risks. The vast majority of patients experience no complications, but they can happen. In rare cases, a severe bacterial infection can occur, leading to bone loss. Talk to your dentist about the risks before you make a decision about dental implants.

Dental implants are a permanent, effective solution for many patients with missing teeth. If your missing teeth impact your quality of life, talk to your dentist to see if dental implants may be right for you!