What is a dental implant?
An implant is a titanium screw like root replacement. It is the gold standard of tooth replacement. It is the best option to replace your missing tooth. It feels like a tooth and acts like a tooth but it is not a tooth.
Does it hurt?
No. Thank goodness we live in the 21st century! We have excellent local anaesthetics and fantastic pain killers Will my body reject it? An implant is made of very biocompatible medical grade titanium alloy. Your body will not reject it. It is highly unlikely.
Will it last forever?
Probably not. However if done well and if it is maintained properly, it will last a very long time.
How does it work?
There are a couple of scenarios. Every case is slightly different.
A. You are just about to lose your tooth and you want a 99% success rate. The first step is extracting the tooth and grafting the socket (read more on bone grafting) in order to preserve the volume of bone and maximize its density. It takes on average 3 months for the socket bone to mature in order to place the implant. Following the implant surgery, it takes another 3 months for bone to grow solid around the implant. At this point, your implant is ready to be restored, meaning, to make a tooth (crown) that will be screwed in into the implant. Yes, implants are like LEGO –it all comes together in the end. You will be able to chew on your implant tooth and go for steak and crunchy veggies. It will take about 6 months from the moment of losing your natural tooth for you to chew again on that side.
B. You are about to lose your tooth and you are a risk taker. You do not want to wait that long. If the case permits it, i.e enough bone available to engage with the implant we can do and immediate implant placement at same time the tooth is extracted. The wait to restore the implant is slightly longer- 4-5 months, but you lump two surgeries in one. There is a higher risk of the implant not integrating and failing which puts us back to step one- removing the implant and grafting the socket. This could be a waste of time and resources. Luckily, it is a successful procedure. The success rate is about 90%.
C. You lost your tooth ages ago and now is the right time to do something about it. It is very likely that the remaining bone has shrunk over time. It will take some more advanced bone grafting (link to bone grafting) that could take 6-9 months to mature before placing implants
Can I work after the surgery?
Yes you can go back to work the next day. I would not recommend any heavy exertion for 2-3 days. Will I be able to exercise? It is best to avoid strenuous exercise for a week. Keep it to lighter activities.
What does an implant cost?
The average cost is about $4000 per implant for the surgical placement and crown. A more accurate estimate of cost will be given once a proper examination and diagnosis of the procedure is performed.