What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a metal screw that’s surgically placed in the jawbone to replace a natural tooth root. Dental implants are excellent solutions for missing teeth. Once an implant is stable in the bone, a dental crown is placed to make it look and feel like a real tooth.
If you are considering getting one or more dental implants, you probably have many questions. We’ll explain everything here to help you make an informed decision about your dental treatment.
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Do I Need a Dental Implant?
The teeth and jawbone give structure and shape to your face. Teeth are critical for chewing, but they’re also important for speaking and having the confidence to smile.
Just one missing tooth can start a cascade of oral and general health concerns. Teeth shift throughout your life, so when there’s a space where a tooth is missing, the adjacent existing teeth will tip into that space over time. When this happens, the teeth don’t function as well. When there are several missing teeth, the cheeks will begin to look sunken, and the jawbone will deteriorate.
Bone resorption is a natural process in which your body breaks down boney tissue. In the jawbone, it happens when there’s a space not housing a tooth.
When there are teeth in your jawbone, chewing forces stimulate the production of new bone. But if teeth are missing, we see bone resorption. Over time, this gives the appearance of a weak jawline, sunken cheeks, and loose skin on the face.
A dental implant is the next best thing to a natural tooth. Dental implants can last a lifetime with proper care and good health.
Benefits of Having Dental Implants
When you lose a tooth, it’s also easy to lose confidence. Especially if the missing tooth has left a gap that’s visible when you smile and talk. Not only can it affect your confidence, but a missing tooth can also lead to other dental problems. Chewing might be difficult and eventually, a gap in your smile will lead to bone loss and cause your other teeth to shift.
- Have a natural-looking smile – Dental implants are the closest thing to natural teeth. They’re permanent replacements for missing teeth and they’re made to match your existing teeth. Nobody will be able to tell that you have a dental implant.
- Dental implants are permanent and secure – The reason an implant is permanent and very stable is due to osseointegration. This means that once the implant is surgically placed in the jawbone, the bone actually fuses to the implant. The implant is topped with a dental crown or a bridge and then it’s ready for chewing on even the toughest foods. There are no food restrictions with dental implants.
- Keeps your bone strong – When an implant is placed in the jawbone, the bone fuses with the implant (osseointegration) and this helps keep the bone strong and healthy. If nothing is placed in the jawbone where a tooth is missing, then the bone deteriorates over time.
Dental implants are a permanent solution to missing teeth. When cared for properly, they can last a lifetime.
Dental Implant Crowns, Bridges, or Dentures
The implant is the part that is surgically placed in the jawbone. There are two other parts that make up the finished artificial tooth. First, an abutment goes on the implant, then the abutment is fitted with either a crown, a bridge, or a denture. We call the crown, bridge, or denture the final restoration. Let’s look at the options for the final restoration:
- Dental Crown – This is used when one or two teeth are being replaced. It’s a single tooth and no different from having a crown placed on a natural tooth.
- Dental Bridge – A bridge is used to replace several missing teeth in a row. Two implants can support a bridge that replaces three or more adjacent missing teeth.
- Implant-supported Denture – If you’re missing all or most of your teeth, you can have a denture that’s removable or fixed. A removable denture can be more stable than a traditional denture when secured on dental implants. A fixed denture is permanently affixed to implants.
What Does it Feel Like to Get a Dental Implant?
The process of getting a dental implant is more comfortable than you might think.
The area where you’ll have the implant placed will be slightly sore for a couple of days after the procedure. But the procedure is minimally invasive, so bleeding and soreness are minimal. During the next few months, while the bone is fusing around the implant, you’ll feel no discomfort at all. You might even forget the implant has been placed!
Dental implants have been in use since the 1970s and have a success rate of nearly 95%. Getting an implant is safe, predictable, and has one of the highest rates of patient satisfaction of all dental procedures!
Getting a Dental Implant: What To Expect
The first steps are easy. You’ll come in for a consultation and assessment. This might include X-rays, a CT scan to evaluate bone level and thickness, and possibly a digital scan or impressions for models of your mouth. This helps the doctor evaluate your bite and plan accurate implant placement.
Surgically Placing the Implant
The day you come in to have the implant placed, the doctor will completely numb the surgical site. Using a surgical guide, the dentist creates a small hole in the bone at the precise angle and depth indicated by the assessments taken previously. The dental implant is placed in the hole. Then you’ll go home and allow the bone and gum tissue to heal around the new implant.
Getting Your New Tooth!
Complete healing and integration into the jawbone typically will take a few months. You won’t feel pain during that time while your bone is filling in around the new implant. Once you’ve healed, you’ll come back and have a beautiful new crown designed and placed on the implant. You’ll go home with a dental implant that looks and feels like a natural tooth. There are no food restrictions with dental implants, so you can enjoy smiling and eating again!
Contact us today
to schedule an initial consultation & exam.
Your consultation will include an examination of everything from your teeth, gums and soft tissues to the shape and condition of your bite. Generally, we want to see how your whole mouth looks and functions. Before we plan your treatment we want to know everything about the health and aesthetic of your smile, and, most importantly, what you want to achieve so we can help you get there.
Cost of dental implants in Toronto
In Toronto, the cost of a single implant is approximately $5,000. The cost for each patient varies greatly depending on several factors. Do you need full mouth rehabilitation? Do you need only one tooth replaced? How healthy are you generally? A patient in poor health needing full reconstruction will require more treatment time and the cost will be higher. Full-mouth reconstruction using dental implants can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $60,000 and up. Dentures secured by dental implants can save thousands, but you should still expect to pay in the range of $30,000. It’s important to keep in mind that it’s impossible to give an accurate quote for treatment before the doctor has done a thorough exam and assessment. The dental implant procedure is complex and each case is unique. These are ballpark figures to give you a general idea of cost.
What determines the cost of dental implants? These are a few factors:
- How many implants are needed.
- What type of implant is used (there are many types!).
- The expertise of your dental team.
- The complexity of the surgery (is additional surgery necessary to prepare the site for implants?).
- Your recovery time and follow up visits.
Every single case is different, so it’s important to speak with your dentist and have an overall evaluation of your unique situation. We’d be happy to see you in the office and provide you with treatment options and a more accurate quote.
Are there other solutions for missing teeth?
Yes. Although dental implants are the best replacement for missing teeth, gaps between healthy teeth can be filled by placing a dental bridge. If there are several missing teeth on the upper or lower arches, they can be replaced with a removable denture. When comparing the cost of dental implants to alternative solutions, weigh the pros and cons of each treatment option.
Dental implants are usually more expensive than a bridge, but they also last longer and are easier to clean and keep healthy. A bridge requires placing crowns on the teeth on either side of the gap. It can also be more difficult to clean around a bridge. Removable prosthetics such as full and partial dentures don’t give the same chewing comfort and typically need adjustment, repair, and replacing more frequently. Dental implants are treated like natural teeth. You floss and brush as if they were your natural teeth and they chew as well as natural teeth, too. With proper care, dental implants can last your lifetime!
Frequently Asked Questions
Nobody has to know that you a have dental implant! Once finished with a dental crown, an implant looks just like a natural tooth. The metal part of the implant is hidden below your gums. The crown is designed to match the shade of your other teeth so it will blend in nicely with your smile.
Dentures and implants are quite different. A denture is removable and rests on top of the gums. An implant is surgically placed in the jawbone and cannot be removed. An implant is a more permanent solution. Since there are pros and cons to both options for missing teeth, this is best discussed in the office during an exam. This way we can determine the best solution for your specific needs.
If you’re not a candidate for a dental implant, or you don’t want one, there are alternatives to replace missing teeth. A dental bridge is one option. A prosthetic such as a full or partial denture is another option. This is best discussed during an exam at our office so we can help you determine the best solution to meet your wants and needs.
To have an implant placed, your mouth must be in good health and you must have enough strong, healthy bone to support the implant. This can be determined with imaging and an exam with the doctor. A very wide variety of patients have had success with dental implants. Come in for a consultation and we’ll help you choose the best option for replacing your missing teeth.
Yes! Each dental implant is finished with a crown, bridge, or implant-supported denture that is designed just for you. We match the shade and shape of your existing teeth so that your smile looks natural and beautiful.
The procedure of placing dental implants has gotten very predictable and successful with literally millions of procedures completed in the U.S. and Canada each year. The procedure is so precise that bleeding and swelling are minimal. We understand that you might feel anxious about any dental procedure and healing time, so let us know how we can help you feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible.
In most cases, you can return to work the very next day. Once we know exactly what your treatment involves, we can give you an estimate of your recovery time. We’ll let you know in advance if you should clear your schedule for longer. We always discuss all post-operative care instructions with you.
The success of your implants and the health of your entire mouth depends greatly on how well you maintain your hygiene at home. Your teeth and dental implants need to be professionally cleaned and examined regularly. We usually recommend a dental cleaning and check-up approximately every 6 months. We might recommend check-ups more or less often depending on your specific requirements.
You’ll need to care for your dental implants the same way you care for natural teeth. They require regular brushing & flossing, cleanings and checkups. Although you can’t get a cavity on an implant, you can lose one to gum disease. Protect your investment and your health! Let your doctor know right away if the implant feels loose or you notice bleeding.
No, when maintained properly, dental implants do not need to be replaced. They are meant to last a lifetime and they will if you care for them well!