Dental implants Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do I really get my teeth back in one day?

Yes.  Even if you need extractions.  The procedure is done with conscious sedation and you wake up with your new teeth secured to the implants.

Is there a lot of pain after the procedure?

This is probably the most amazing thing about a fully implant supported prosthesis, there is minimal discomfort!  When people receive conventional dentures the most common complaint is “sore spots”. These arise from the denture rubbing against the gum tissue during eating, talking and swallowing.  The implant supported prosthesis does not rely on the gums for support, they rest on the implants above the gum tissue.  You cannot experience sore spots with an implant supported denture.  Within 72 hours patients only require over the counter meds, similar to what you would take for a headache or fever.

What about if I need extractions, how can the extraction sites heal if there are teeth and implants immediately placed?  

Traditional immediate dentures are placed at the time of tooth removal.  This can be quite sore because the dentures must sit directly on the extraction sites during healing.  Another problem with immediate dentures is the jaw bones will change shape for up to 6 months.  This means the denture that fits reasonably well when first inserted must be relined several times over the first 6 months to maintain a good fit.  With an implant supported prosthesis there is only passive contact with the gum tissue and  it serves to protect the area during the healing.  The final prosthesis is placed after all the healing is complete.

Wait, there are two different prosthesis?

Yes.  During the surgery a temporary prosthesis is fabricated and placed on the implants.  It looks great and feels natural during the healing phase.  It also allows the doctor and patient to evaluate if changes would be desirable in the final prosthesis.  Should the teeth be longer or shorter?  Is the color of the teeth what the patient envisioned ?  All these questions can be addressed during the healing phase ensuring the patient is pleased with their final prosthesis.

What can I expect for the first few days after my surgery?

Most people will experience a moderate amount of swelling in the area of the surgery.  Some mild bruising is not uncommon.  Infection is very rare in the placement of implants  but antibiotics are given as a precaution.  We usually recommend the patient plan for one week of “taking it easy”.  By the end of the first week you can return to a normal schedule.

Will it change my speech?

This is a common temporary event after the surgery.  The effect is similar to that of having a retainer placed after braces. It is usually quite minimal and in most cases quickly resolves.

I have a severe gag reflex, am I still a candidate?

Yes!  Unlike traditional dentures that must cover the roof of your mouth an implant supported prosthesis does not.  With nothing on the roof of you mouth there is no gag reflex.

Can I eat whatever I want?

The best conventional denture produces about 30% of the chewing ability of natural teeth.  This is because a denture rests on gum tissue which is soft and moves.  This limits your ability to eat.  An implant supported prosthesis is firmly anchored and does not move or roll, like natural teeth.  Once the implants have fully healed a healthy diet is totally realistic and expected.  Nuts, salads, fresh fruits and vegetables are fair game!

I have periodontal disease and have been told I cannot have implants, am I still a candidate?

In most cases the answer is yes.  Because an implant supported prosthesis replaces tooth and gingival structure it is often an excellent solution for a patient who has been told they have periodontal disease or severe bone loss.

Are there different types of implant supported prosthesis?  

Yes.  There are different materials and techniques.  There are also implant supported solutions which are removable by the patient, similar to traditional dentures.  We work with all these systems to provide a patient a customized solution with best addresses their issues and concerns.  No one solution is not right in every situation!

What are locator implants?  

Locator implants are a great solution for a patient who already has dentures and wants them to be more secure.  They are usually placed on the lower arch to help stabilize an existing lower denture.  They can be added to most dentures and, while still removable, they can help to make the denture much more functional and comfortable.

Can I damage or break the prosthesis?

The final prosthesis is incredibly strong.  We use a material called zirconia or acrylic with a titanium bar.  Both are excellent with long term track records of success.  If there was excessive wear or damage they can be removed, the provisional prosthesis placed back, and repaired.  At no point after the surgery do you have to go without teeth!

What can I do to ensure the success of the case?  

Following the instructions given is paramount.  We give every patient a night guard to protect their prosthesis in case they grind their teeth at night.  Brushing is the best way to clean them and the use of a waterpik is very helpful to clean around the implants.

Will my insurance cover the procedure?  

Dental insurance will usually cover up to the policy annual cap.  The cap is usually between $1000 and $2500 with the patient being required to pay the difference.  While dental insurance may help, it will not cover the entire procedure.  Health Savings Accounts can also be used to help defray some of the costs.  Medical insurance will typically not cover the procedure.  

Are there financing options?

We do work with several third party lenders to provide financing.  We can help in the process.