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What are "dental implants"?

Oral Surgery, Dental Implants

Ronald Rosenblatt, DDS (General and Cosmetic Dentistry) gives expert video advice on: What is the procedure to get a dental implant?; How long will my dental implants last? and more...

What are "dental implants"?

Dental implants are usually made from titanium, just as other metal inserts in the rest of your body are made out of titanium. Dental implants are used to replace the roots of the teeth that are missing. On these dental implants, after they've adhered to the bone (and it takes about three months on the lower jaw and four months on the upper jaw), we can then screw in what looks like a ground-down tooth, or what we call an abutment. On that abutment, a crown can be placed.

Who can get dental implants?

Most people can get dental implants. We've placed implants in people as old as 96 and as young as 15 or 16. The only thing necessary for dental implants is that there is enough bone present for the implant to adhere to, so that we can put a nice long implant that will be stable over a long time. If there isn't enough bone, we can place artificial bone to build up the are so that it will take the dental implant.

What is the procedure to get a dental implant?

In order to place a dental implant, the surgeon must first expose the bone. Then a small hole is drilled in the area that the dental implant is going to be placed, and then successively larger drill bits are used until we get to about the size of the implant. Once the hole is prepared, the dental implant is screwed down into the area and then covered with the gum and left to heal for three to four months, depending upon whether it is in the lower jaw taking three months, or the upper jaw taking four months . If bone needs to be added, it sometimes will take a little longer. After the dental implant has integrated to the bone, and what we mean by that is the bone has grown up around the dental implant and sometimes gone into little crevices in the dental implant so that it is vey solidly in the bone, the dental implant is uncovered. Then an abutment is screwed in there, and the abutment will vary again depending upon what is going to be placed there. The abutment can be titanium or it can also be zirconium, which is white if we're going to be in an aesthetic area.

Is dental implant surgery painful?

I have never had a dental implant myself, so I can't give you first hand knowledge. But from what I understand, having a dental implant is no more painful than having a tooth extracted. That's what the patients tell me and I have to believe them.

How long will my dental implants last?

I have patients that have had their dental implants for 30 years or more, and they're still going to last even longer. If your implant was placed well, if you maintain it well, and the tooth is restored in such a way that no extra pressures are placed on it, it's going to last a very long time.