Simply: Implants

YOU MAY NOT be an expert on dental implants. However, knowing what to expect – even if you don’t need one – can make sure you are informed and confident about your oral health. In this post, we discuss what an implant is and the procedure for getting one.

 

What Is An Implant?

An implant is a titanium screw placed directly in the area of the missing tooth inside the bone. The bone fuses around the implant and acts as the “root” for the missing tooth. After that, a crown is placed on this screw to mimic the original tooth.

How Are They Placed?

  • To start, the specialist places screws in position in the jaw.
  • An abutment is attached, allowing the crown to connect to its base.
  • Lastly, the specialist places a crown on top (and in some cases, they may place a bridge to restore several artificial teeth at once!)
  • Over time, the bone fuses with the screw to secure it in place.

 

Why Would I Get One?

An implant is usually the best solution to replace a missing tooth because it acts most like the original. Likewise, you can also use implants to replace several missing teeth or an entire dentition!

Although they are one of the more expensive solutions, implants offer a more natural look and feel almost as good as the originals. Implants have a very high success rate, and while you may need to replace the crown due to wear and tear, researchers estimate that some implants can last a lifetime!

They can help prevent drifting of teeth and restore your smile and bite pattern. Implants can also secure dentures or bridges firmly in place.

 

Prevent Drifting

Once a tooth is lost, the tooth that will have relied on it for resistance and pressure now has nothing to help keep it in place. The tooth may eventually drift out of its original position. As a result, the tooth can cause an uncomfortable bite or discomfort when eating.
An implant restores a prosthetic version of the missing tooth, effectively filling the hole and preventing the tooth above (or below) from moving out of place.

Comparison between bites with a missing tooth and with an implant

Restoring Your Smile

Missing teeth, obvious ones, can often make us feel self-conscious and change the way we speak or act in front of others. Replacing a missing tooth with an implant can help restore your smile and give you back the confidence you need to smile again.

Securing Partial Dentures and Bridges

For those missing several teeth, an implant is a useful option to secure a set of artificial teeth in place. The use of implants can provide a stable base for bridges and dentures. Without implants, sometimes bridges and dentures can become loose. As a result, they can affect speech and, at other times, become so loose they fall out.
Securing by implant makes sure nothing gets in the way of your speech and prevents any embarrassing mishaps.

 

How Does This Work With My Insurance?

Implants are often done by specialists like oral and maxillofacial surgeons and periodontists. Therefore, not all plans will have coverage for this. You can check by asking your insurance company if your plan covers specialist fees.
An implant is a ‘major’ procedure. Because of this, most if not all insurance companies will require estimates and x-rays to review coverage eligibility. After being examined by the specialist, they can often submit an estimate directly to your insurance.
Your insurance will process it and send correspondence to you as the policyholder!

A patient sees her smile after having a dental implant placed

Interested? First, visit your dentist for an examination to see if you are eligible. If you qualify, they will refer you to a specialist for the next step in your restoration journey!

Want to read more? Check out these frequently asked questions on dental implants answered by the Canadian Dental Association.

This post was reviewed by our very own Hammad Afif, D.D.S.

 

References:

Pjetursson, Bjarni E., and Kristin Heimisdottir. “Dental Implants – Are They Better than Natural Teeth?” European Journal of Oral Sciences, vol. 126, no. S1, 3 Sept. 2018, pp. 81–87. Wiley Online Library, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eos.12543#:~:text=15.,fixed%20reconstructions%20was%2095%25%2015., 10.1111/eos.12543.

Setzer, F.C., and S. Kim. “Comparison of Long-Term Survival of Implants and Endodontically Treated Teeth.” Journal of Dental Research, vol. 93, no. 1, 24 Sept. 2013, pp. 19–26. NCBI, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3872851/, 10.1177/0022034513504782.‌

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This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion about oral health and other related sub­jects. This blog’s content is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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