Dental implants are one option to replace missing teeth. When multiple teeth are missing, Dr. Wm. Chad Colson or Dr. Jill W. Colson may recommend placing several implants in the jawbone to support a complete arch of replacement teeth. The implant itself is a titanium screw or cylinder placed into the jawbone, replacing the missing tooth’s root. Over several months, the implant will fuse with the jawbone (osseointegration), forming a stable foundation for a prosthetic tooth.
Dental Implant Questions
What do dental implants look like?
Dental implants look and perform like natural teeth. The implants resemble a screw and have a hollow core where the abutment will be placed when the crown or prosthesis is attached. The portion in the jawbone is usually made of titanium, although zirconia implants are also available.
The visible portion of a dental implant is the crown or prosthesis. Our crowns are crafted of a hybrid ceramic that is incredibly durable and can be sculpted to match any remaining teeth. Ceramic crowns look so much like the “real thing” that others will never know they are not your natural teeth.
How are dental implants placed?
To ensure precise placement, Dr. Chad Colson uses 3D imagery and virtual reality to plan the procedure to the last detail. A custom surgical guide is made based on Dr. Colson’s plan and used to guarantee precision and minimally-invasive placement.
How long is the dental implant process?
It takes about an hour to place a single implant. The procedure may take anywhere from one to three hours for multiple implants.
Do I need a bone graft?
If your jawbone has deteriorated due to tooth loss, you may require a bone graft to build up the jawbone in the area where implants will be placed. We recommend bone grafting at the time of tooth extraction if the replacement procedure will involve an implant. Although not every patient needs a bone graft, the longer you wait after losing your natural tooth, the more likely you will need a bone and/or soft tissue graft. You can lose up to 25 percent of jawbone density in the first year following tooth loss or extraction.
How long do dental implants take to heal?
Three to six months is usually required for the implants to fuse with the jawbone. We monitor your progress carefully to determine when your implants are sufficiently stable for the next step in the process. Abutments are then attached, and the crowns or prostheses are joined to the implant. While healing takes three to six months, the entire process from planning to the placement of the replacement teeth may take anywhere from six to twelve months.
Although several months seems like a long time, we ask that you keep in mind the results. The process of osseointegration (the bone fusing with the implant surface) can be delayed with certain medical conditions like diabetes and should never be rushed in order to achieve success. With proper care, your implants can last a lifetime.
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Can dental implants get infected?
Yes, but infections are rare. Peri-implantitis is an infection around a dental implant. This is usually caused by bacteria around the implant’s base either immediately after surgery or years later. The risk of peri-implantitis is higher if you do not follow post-operative instructions or neglect your oral care routine. Peri-implantitis is rare but more common in patients with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, or periodontal disease.
Signs you may have a dental implant infection include pain and an inability to chew, swollen or bleeding gums, discharge or a foul taste in your mouth, fever with swelling that does not diminish, or a loose implant. If you have any of these symptoms, please contact our office immediately. We will strive to see you the same day to relieve your discomfort and treat the infection.
How long do dental implants last?
Nothing is better than the natural tooth. But, once integrated within your jawbone, a dental implant could last a lifetime with proper use and care. Crowns or prostheses may last 20 years or more with proper care. The visible portion of the replacement tooth (crown or prosthesis) can be replaced using the original implant when needed.
How much do dental implants cost?
The cost of dental implants depends on various factors, including the number of implants placed, whether you need teeth extracted and bone grafts, and the type of crown or prosthesis used. At your initial consultation, Dr. Chad Colson will review your treatment plan and discuss potential costs. We make every effort to work within your budget; because of the healing phase, fees are only assessed as procedures are performed (i.e. surgical phase and restorative phase).
Are dental implants covered by insurance?
Coverage depends on your dental insurance benefit schedule. Some will provide complete or partial benefits if they consider the implants a medical necessity. However, many insurers consider implants to be a cosmetic procedure. Talk to your insurance provider and ask:
- Do I have benefits for dental implants?
- What percentage of the procedure fee is paid by these benefits?
- What is my maximum out-of-pocket cost?
- Is there a cap on benefits for dental implants?
- Do I need a referral or pre-approval for dental implant benefits?
Our insurance coordinator will work with you to determine how to get maximum benefits. We are happy to bill your insurance provider and follow up with them if there is a delay in payment. Any costs not paid by your insurance company are your responsibility. To learn more about dental insurance benefits, visit our insurance information page.
Who is not a suitable candidate for dental implants?
Patients who smoke or vape are at high risk for implant failure; cessation of all smoking should occur prior to any implant surgery. Patients with periodontitis must be treated for their gum disease before considering dental implants. Patients with hemophilia, cancer, certain autoimmune diseases, and uncontrolled diabetes may not be suitable for implants. Some medications, including bisphosphonates and long-term corticosteroids, may interfere with healing. Dr. Chad Colson carefully reviews all medications and your medical history to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for implant surgery. Your safety and successful implant surgery are our ultimate goals.
We are always available to answer your dental implant questions. Please contact our office at Greenville Office Phone Number 864-271-6705 to learn more about dental implants or schedule a consultation.