Dental Implant Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Am I a candidate for dental implants?

Most likely yes! Almost everyone who is missing one or more teeth is a candidate for dental implants. Occasionally additional treatment is necessary to optimize the site for a dental implant (such as bone or soft tissue grafting) but it is quite unusual for someone to not be a candidate.

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What exactly are dental implants?

Dental implants are the replacement for teeth that are the most natural option available. A dental implant is basically an artificial root into the jaw, made out of materials known to be biocompatible and will bind with your bone. The crown portion of the implant system is designed to optimally restore your esthetics and chewing function.

In what ways are dental implants used?

Dental implants can be used multiple ways. Most commonly they are a single tooth replacement that mimics natural teeth the best way possible. Dental implants can also be used as the abutment anchors for a bridge in longer spans where people are missing teeth. They can also be used as an anchor to better stabilize a removable denture. Lastly multiple dental implants can be used to support a full upper or lower jaw of teeth.

How long will it take?

Treatment times vary depending on each individual case. Often a tooth needs to be removed and the site needs to heal prior to placing an implant. In other cases the implant can be placed at the same time as the extraction. Once an implant is placed it takes several months to fully integrate into your jaw bone. Drs. Heise and Alpha will review your specific case with you in detail and will discuss the timeline.

How much do implants cost?

The cost varies depending on the number of implants needed, and if we need to perform any other procedures, such as any grafting or 3D treatment planning. We will review all of this with you at an initial consultation. Your dentist will review the costs for the prosthetic portion of the treatment, but we can assist in determining what that will be. The long-term cost with dental implants tends to be less than for bridges.

Will my insurance cover my dental implants?

Dental implants have become more common as the treatment of choice for replacement of teeth so more insurances have begun covering all or part of dental implants. Our team will certainly look into your insurance policy and help determine your coverage, and will also assist in submitting claims.

How much will it hurt?

Most patients describe the procedure of placing a dental implant, as well as the healing, very easy and without much discomfort or swelling. Many patients describe the procedure easier than having the tooth extracted. Often implants can be placed with just local anesthetic. Intravenous anesthesia is also available if you choose to not be awake.

Will I have to go without teeth?

Even if there is a healing phase required prior to the final restoration you can utilize a temporary replacement. We will work with your dentist to have this fabricated. Occasionally your dentist can put a temporary restoration directly on the implant(s) as well. This will all be discussed with you and planned ahead of time.

Why should I do an implant instead of a bridge?

Dental implants are the replacement for teeth that are the most natural option available. Dental implants have a root and crown structure that best mimics natural teeth. Bridges require the adjacent teeth to be filed down and often create a very difficult hygiene situation. This can lead to the failure of the bridge or a loss of the involved teeth. Over the long-term a dental implant can to be the more cost effective treatment choice.

Can implants fail?

Dental implants have an excellent success rate. Very rarely a dental implant does not integrate into the bone during the initial healing phase. If by chance you fell into this small category of patients we will do what is necessary to complete your treatment effectively. As time goes on implants require the same care as natural teeth do, such as normal brushing, flossing and periodic check-ups with your dentist and hygienist.