May 22, 2018

Questions You Should Ask Before Getting Dental Implants

There’s a high probability that you are considering dental implants if you’ve arrived at this page, and we’re happy you made it. The staff at Smile By Design has seen tremendous changes in our patients who undergo implant procedures including increased confidence, enhanced physical abilities to enunciate, and most importantly and most often overlooked, these patients have better health.

Dental implants are not just an accessory or cosmetic procedure (although insurance companies will tell you otherwise, as you’ll read below). Good health starts in the mouth, and proper biting and chewing sets the scene for how much and what kind of bacteria inhabits your mouth, the time and quality it takes your stomach to digest food, and the bone support or loss that can affect the shape of your face.

We’re serious about implants, and beyond our office shamelessly plugging our abilities to help you finance your dental implant procedure, Dr. Abitbol and the rest of the team want you to experience a complete and all-encompassing dental treatment. Without further ado, our Brooklyn dentists is happy to unveil some of the most common questions patients ask our staff about dental implants!

  • A dental implant has three main parts:

    – The fixture, or “screw” that becomes part of your jaw
    – The abutment or cap that goes on top of the fixture
    – The prosthesis or “crown” or “tooth” that everyone sees when you smile

    These features combined make up one dental implant. However, there are other type of dental implants called All-on-4 or 6 that cover multiple spaces in your mouth if entire sections need to be replaced; in this case, only four or six fixtures or screws will be needed rather than one for each crown or tooth.

  • This is an important question, especially as the cost of having dental implants installed is substantial. Luckily reputable dental laboratories have guarantees with your dentist that cover the physical hardware for several years, and because implants are made out of the strongest and most biologically friendly materials in the consumer market, your investment should be protected.

    When asking how long an implant can last, we have to separate the three parts of the implant into two sections: the screw and cap, and then the tooth. The screw and cap can last your entire life, which is great news since any further surgery will not be necessary. However, the tooth can last 15 years or longer, with teeth in the back requiring replacements sooner than front-facing crowns because of the pressure of chewing and biting.

    Regular dental checkups and healthy lifestyles can extend the life of your crowns and implants, but the main takeaway is the following: replacing your implant’s tooth will be cheaper since it does not require a repeat surgery or new screw or cap.

  • Not really, and rather than including dental implants in coverage, many companies will include alternatives including dentures and partials in their stead. Even if an insurance company does cover implants, the maximum annual policy generally pays for only 25% or less for the procedure.

    Your next question might then be, “Does medical insurance cover dental implants?” For features relating to surgery, including the bone grafting needed sometimes in order for the screw to have something to hold on to, then yes, coverage for this particular procedure is starting to be covered under medical, but it is not generally adopted in a widespread manner. In terms of the implants themselves, no, dental implants are not covered by medical insurance.

    As we wrote above, Smile By Design is passionate about the positive health effects dental implants will have on your body, and although we are not able to change the insurance industry, we can make them as accessible as possible for you and your family. We have several options for you to finance implants, and the money you’ll save in the long run by having the healthiest mouth possible is worth it.

  • The crown or tooth of an implant can be broken down over years of chewing, biting, chomping, and other actions that put force on it. In this case, the tooth will need to be replaced in healthy patients every 15 years or longer. However, in terms of biological decay, no, this is impossible for the implant since it is made of non-bio materials. However, the gum around your dental implant can decay or recede if not brushed, flossed, and taken care of appropriately.

  • Again, the implant must be divided into two sections: the screw and cap, and then the tooth. Yes, the tooth can fall out if the crown needs to be recemented. However, before popping out, you will know if your dental implant is loose, and actions like flossing can cause it to separate from the cap and screw. Luckily reattaching the tooth to the abutment (or cap) takes 15 minutes or less without any surgery at your dental office.

    However, can the screw and cap of an implant fall out? If the cap does, then it needs to be reattached fairly simply enough, but the screw separating from the jaw of your bone would require more serious medical intervention. In this case new bone would either need to be grafted or an additional surgery to place the screw in a 45 degree angle into traditionally healthier bone.

  • No, your dental implants cannot be whitened. In fact, if you are getting implants but also want to whiten your teeth, choose to go through the correct whitening process with a dentist first before undergoing measurements for an implant.

  • Having dental implants can stimulate the bone in your jaw and prevent something called ‘resorption’ which can cause a sunken facial appearance. With no tooth present, surrounding bone will begin to disappear as your body adjusts for what seems to be a completely useless place to have precious bone material. Properly measured and placed implants can stop the rate of resorption as you age and prevent your face from morphing.

  • Implants can be installed in one day through a process called ‘immediate load.’ Before receiving the surgery, a dentist will have to measure existing bone quantities left in the missing-tooth area to make sure you are a good candidate to receive one-day implants.

  • For patients desiring to replace multiple teeth without a bone graft, the All-on-4 or 6 method is one way to do so. Implants are placed at a 45-degree angle rather than the usual 90 degree angle, but this depends on what type of bone density is present at this alternative direction. Patients who have multiple teeth that need to be replaced benefit the most from this operation as it only requires a range of four to six implants to replace an entire row of teeth.

  • Implants are made of non-magnetic titanium metal, so no, they would not trigger airport security. Newer implants all have non-ferrous metals, or metals that contain no iron. Examples of non-ferrous metals include titanium, lead, gold, silver, and copper, all of which do not have magnetic properties that would otherwise set off security systems at airports or cause harm during MRIs.

  • Before going any further, very few patients are allergic to titanium, and there are tests to help diagnose any sensitivity to metals. However, in addition to titanium implants, there is also zirconia-based material that originally resembles diamonds before being converted to ceramic. This metal-free option comes as one piece rather than three separate parts (screw, cap, and tooth), and just like titanium, zirconia is biocompatible and promotes bone growth in the target area.

    We’re positive you have more questions about implants, and the staff at Smile By Design would love to have you stop by for a consultation to address all of your concerns and opportunities for affordable and life-changing dental implants! Reference reading this article to our staff and you might even get a special good-reader award!