This article series provides an FAQ guide to dental implants: surgically placed prosthetic teeth to restore your smile.
Q. How long have dental implants been used in dentistry?
A. You might be surprised to learn that dental implants actually have been utilized for a couple thousand years. Archaeologists have uncovered Egyptian mummies with gold wired-like implants in their jawbones. Also, pre Columbian skeleton remains have been found with dental implants made of stones that were semi-precious. In Europe, the body of a Roman soldier was found with an iron dental implant in the jaw. Implants made of ivory were revealed in the Middle East unearthed from archaeological sites.
In the United States, modern dentistry began the practice of utilizing dental implants at the start of the 20th century. Many people opted for dentures or bridges until the 1980’s when titanium cylinders started being used in making the implant. Since the invention of the titanium shape, several name brand implants have gained popularity among implant dentists in Maryland.
Q. What aspects contribute to the success of the dental implant?
A. Multiple factors influence the success of the implant after it is inserted into your jaw. Perhaps the most important factor is the health and density of the jawbone itself. A healthy jawbone with good bone density will increase the occurrence of long term victory with the implant. An infected or osteoporotic bone will increase the risk of there being a complication. The second most important factor is, of course, the experience and ability of the dental surgeon. Because the insertion of a dental implant is a surgical procedure, it requires a highly skilled dental surgeon. The third most important factor is the quality of the restoration that is placed on top of the implant. A poorly constructed implant crown or overdenture, or an unbalanced biting force, can ruin any implant even if you have good bone and a good surgeon. Make sure the highest quality materials are used on top of the implant!
Q. What kind of dentist can do implants?
A. There are three types of dentists who can place an implant: periodontists, oral surgeons, and implantologists. Oftentimes, a periodontist and an oral surgeon will form a team with a restorative or cosmetic dentist. The periodontist or the oral surgeon will do the implant surgical procedure, and then send the patient to the restorative or cosmetic dentist for the placement of crowns or an overlying appliance. The course of treatment would then involve two different dentists. An implantologist has training in both dental implant surgery and restorative dentistry in the placement of a dental prosthesis (crown or appliance). In the case of using an implantologist, the course of treatment would only involve one dentist.
Q. What kind of dentist places a crown or overdenture on top of the implant?
A. There are three types of dentists who can reinstate an implant through the placement of a prosthetic crown or an overdenture: a general dentist trained in restorative dentistry, an oral implantologist, or a prosthodontist. If you would rather work with one doctor throughout the entire process, you should choose to work with an implantologist. However, many dental offices may have several types of dentists working together in the same office so using two different doctors can be just as convenient as using only one.
Q. What age person can receive dental implants in Maryland?
A. Senior citizens aren't the only people who get dental implants. Patients of all ages often require dental implants, whether they have lost a tooth to decay, injury, sports accidents, or other reasons that can happen to anybody. There is no age limit for implants.
Q. What factors might make someone a bad candidate for dental implant surgery?
A. There are a few different medical reasons why a person may not be a good candidate for a dental implant procedure. Anyone undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy, anyone with uncontrolled diabetes, those with parathyroid disorders, those with blood disorders such as hemophilia, or individuals with rare bone disorders or bone marrow cancer would not be good candidates for dental implants. Also, if the jawbone is extremely unhealthy or osteoporotic, or if a person has low sinuses or nerve bundles, the patient may have greater success choosing a bridge or denture instead of an implant.
Q. How often do I need to do for check-ups after I get an implant?
A. It is important to properly care for and maintain your implant for long-term success. An implant will require professional cleaning by a hygienist every 3 to 4 months, as well as an examination by your implant dentist. The hygienist should be specifically trained in maintaining dental implants. You will also need to brush and floss daily.
Q. Is the dental implant surgery painful?
A. Absolutely not. Your dentist will utilize a local anesthetic during the surgery, so you should not be able to feel anything during the procedure. After surgery, there may be some minor discomfort for 24 hours which can be controlled with pain medications.
Q. When will I be able to return to work after getting dental implants in Maryland?
A. You will be able to return to work the following work day, unless there is a particular surgical complication. All post-operative instructions will be discussed with you by your dentist.