How Dental Implants Work

November 28, 2023
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Here at Cottonwood Dental Group in Highlands Ranch, CO, we get a lot of questions about dental implants. Implants can effectively replace missing or damaged teeth and are becoming an increasingly popular tooth replacement option. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through exactly how dental implants work.

What Are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root made of titanium that is surgically inserted into the jawbone. The implant is topped with an abutment and custom-made crown that closely matches the look, feel, and function of your natural teeth. Implants fuse to the jawbone in a process called osseointegration, providing a strong and durable anchor for replacement teeth.

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The Benefits of Dental Implants

There are many reasons dental implants have become such a popular restorative solution:

  • Look and function like natural teeth
  • Do not affect neighboring healthy teeth
  • Preserve facial structure by preventing bone loss
  • 90%+ success rate when done properly
  • Can last decades with proper care

Implants are the closest thing to replicating natural tooth roots. They allow patients to eat, speak, and smile with confidence again.

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The Dental Implant Procedure Step-By-Step

Getting a dental implant is generally an outpatient procedure done over a few months. Here is a basic overview:

1. Initial Consultation

We’ll take x-rays and a CT scan to analyze your jawbone density and shape at the implant site. We determine if bone grafting is needed to provide structural support.

2. Implant Placement Surgery

An oral surgeon will numb the area to insert the dental implant into the bone socket. The gum tissue is closed and left to heal for 3-6 months.

3. Abutment Placement

The abutment gets screwed into the implant, sticking up above the gums. An impression is taken and a temporary crown is placed as you wait for the permanent one.

4. Crown Placement

The custom-designed crown perfectly matches your natural teeth. It gets secured to the abutment with dental cement for a seamless look and feel.

Dental Implant Recovery Time

Dental implant recovery varies per patient but generally takes 2-6 months from surgery to complete restoration:

  • Implant integration and bone healing: 3-6 months
  • Custom crown fabrication: 2-3 weeks
  • Total treatment time: 2-6 months

Patients experience minimal pain or discomfort and can return to work the next day after surgery. Temporary restorations make this transition smooth.

Caring For Your Dental Implants

With excellent oral hygiene, your implants can last 20-30 years or even a lifetime! Avoid smoking. Brush twice daily. See us for professional cleanings every 6 months. Let us know if you notice any changes around the implant site.

Dental Implant Cost Breakdown

The cost for a single implant with an attached crown is typically $3,000-$4,500. The price includes the surgical implant placement, abutment, and custom-made porcelain crown. Some key factors affect overall costs:

  • Number of implants required
  • Bone grafting needs
  • Complexity/location of the case
  • Crown material (porcelain, ceramic, etc.)

Dental insurance often covers a portion of implant costs. We also offer flexible financing options to better fit your budget.

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FAQ About Dental Implants

Still have some questions about dental implants and whether they may be right for your smile? Here are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions:

How long do dental implants last?

With excellent care and maintenance, implants have over a 90% success rate over decades. Many implants last 20-30 years or longer before potentially needing replacement.

Are dental implants painful?

You may feel pressure during the procedure, but it is not generally painful thanks to advanced techniques and local anesthesia. Post-op discomfort is typically mild and managed with over-the-counter pain medication if needed.

How do I know if I’m a candidate?

Ideal candidates have healthy gums and adequate bone density/volume at the implant site. We’ll evaluate your oral health at a consultation visit to advise if you’re a good candidate. We can discuss options even for high risk cases.

Can a dental implant get infected?

With proper oral care, the risk of infection around a dental implant is very low. See us right away if you notice severe pain, swelling or changes at the site as soon as possible. An infected implant may potentially need to be replaced.

Do dental implants fall out?

When placed properly, a dental implant fuses securely to the bone and does not fall out. Implants have exceptional stability compared to bridges or dentures if cared for properly. Poor osseointegration or trauma may potentially lead to implant failure.

Ready to Learn More?

We hope this overview gave you a better understanding of how dental implants work and the many benefits they offer. If you’re dealing with tooth loss or damage, dental implants from Cottonwood Dental Group may be an excellent solution for you.
Schedule a consultation today or call us at (720) 605-1868 if you think dental implants may benefit you. We look forward to helping you achieve an even brighter, more confident smile!