Implant Dentistry FAQ - Bellevue, WA
Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about dental implants.
Q. Who is a good candidate for a dental implant?
A. The best candidates for dental implants are people in good general and oral health that have healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease. The amount and location of available bone is usually the major determinant as to whether you are a good implant candidate.
Q. Which are better to fill the gap of a missing tooth: implants or bridges?
A. If you have missing teeth both options should be considered! Recent studies suggest that both options have comparable success rates, so it really depends upon the condition in your mouth and your overall health. If the teeth adjacent to the space have old, failing fillings a bridge might be the better option. On the other hand, implants are a superior choice if the adjacent teeth are healthy. Both options restore a natural looking smile, keep gums and bone healthy, keep teeth from drifting out of position and improve bite and speech.
Q. Question: How long will implants last?
A. How long will teeth last? They should last a lifetime; however, we know this is not always true. No one can give guarantees, because there are too many uncontrollable factors such as genetics, homecare and nutrition. With proper care and routine dental checkups they should last a lifetime. One's success can be influenced by the quality of the practitioner you have chosen to place and restore the implants as well as the way you live your life.
Q. Who places the implant?
A. This procedure is a team effort between you, Dr. Bell and your periodontist. Dr. Bell and your periodontist will consult to determine where and how your implant should be placed. Depending on your specific condition Dr. Bell will create a treatment plan tailored to meet your needs and supervise the process very carefully to ensure the surgical results meet our exacting standards. Dr. Bell is responsible for restoring the implant with a crown once the implant has integrated, restoring function and beauty to your smile.
Q. Do implants require special care?
A. Oral hygiene protocols for implants are similar to that of natural teeth. They should be brushed and flossed daily and examined by your dentist regularly.
Q. How long does an implant procedure take?
A. Generally speaking, once the implant is placed it will remain underneath the gums for 3-6 months to allow for osseointegration, the biological bonding of the jawbone to the implant. The second phase of treatment is usually 3-6 months after implant placement, at which time the abutment (a small metal post) will be attached, which serves as the foundation for the replacement teeth. In the third phase the new replacement teeth are created and fitted, which can involve multiple try-in sessions.
Q. Does insurance pay for dental implants?
A. Maybe. Some carriers cover them and some don't and some pay for a portion of the costs. In some situations the best coverage can be through your medical insurance.
Q. I have a full set of dentures. My uppers fit fine, but my lowers are constantly a juggling act when I try to eat. Can I have implants on the lower and keep a full denture on top?
A. Absolutely. Your situation is a common one. The full lower denture is the most unstable prosthesis fabricated in dental practice. Keeping the lower denture in place is difficult with compromised bone support. Dental implants can stabilize the denture and help prevent further bone loss from the bottom jaw.