1) What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root placed into the jaw to hold a replacement tooth, bridge or denture in place. Dental implants are intimately connected with the gum tissues and underlying bone in the mouth. The goal is to create a smile with teeth that look and feel just like your own. Dr. Berube will discuss all options of tooth replacement at your appointment and discuss the advantages and disadvantages to all of these options. If you decide you would like implant treatment, we will discuss all of the steps and parts in detail.
2) Do you perform the entire implant procedure?
Dr. Berube performs the surgical aspects of the treatment, including placement of the implant and any augmentation procedures that are needed. She also may be the doctor who removes the tooth and prepares the site for the implant. Once the implant has integrated and healed, an abutment connection is placed (either here or at your general dentist’s office) and your general dentist will fit the crown.
3) Am I a candidate?
The ideal candidate for a dental implant is in good general and oral health. Adequate bone in your jaw is needed to support the implant, and the best candidates have healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease.
4) What are some of the advantages of using implants?
Implants have become the standard of care for the replacement of teeth, whether single or multiple. Some of the advantages include that implants look and feel like a natural tooth, an implant does not sacrifice the health of neighboring teeth and implants help keep the jawbone healthy and intact.
5) Are implants painful?
No one can ever tell you that a procedure isn’t painful, but what we can say is that many people find the implant procedure to be easier than the extraction of the tooth. Again, it is important to have realistic expectations and to follow the postoperative instructions closely.
6) My insurance only pays for a bridge, so that means I can’t or shouldn’t get a dental implant.
As I have discussed before, dental insurance is very different than medical insurance. It is a great coupon if you have it, but please don’t let their limitations dictate your oral health care. Unfortunately, there are still some insurance companies that won’t pay towards placement of a dental implant, and will have silly clauses including nonpayment due to the tooth being missing prior to coverage ("preexisting condition"). What you have to remember is that, even though there are still great indications for a bridge, cutting down sound tooth structure increases the risk of fracture, root canals and decay. These bridges have to be replaced every ten years on average. An implant is meant to last a lifetime and is by far the most cost effective treatment. Again, everyone’s habits and bite are different, so implant failures can occur. But there is a reason why they have a high success rate, in the high 90th percent.
7) Why do I need a CT scan?
Some, but not all cases would benefit from using more extensive preoperative radiographic techniques such as CT scans. At this time, CT scans are not needed for every implant case and will only be ordered if necessary. We order CT scans from specific CT centers that follow strict federal guidelines to allow for the highest quality, lowest radiation and excellent images. Also, a board certified medical radiologist reads these studies to ensure that no pathology is missed. This is an especially important portion of the CT scan itself that is not offered when receiving the CT scan in a dental office.
8) I have heard about "teeth in a day". Is this possible?
This technique is indeed used for certain clinical situations. There are inherent advantages and disadvantages to this treatment. We are able to offer this treatment if working with a qualified restorative dentist that is familiar with the technique. We can discuss this in further detail at your evaluation, if you are interested.