What the heck are dental implants anyway? Dental implants are quickly becoming a popular choice today for replacing missing teeth. When a tooth has been removed, it of course leaves a space that may or may not need to be replaced with something. Sometimes this space does not bother people but it can be irritating to some. So, one of the options to replace that space can be an implant.
Dental implants are usually made out of a titanium material and it resembles a screw. Titanium is used because your body accepts that material without having a foreign body rejection. A hole is made into the jaw bone by an oral surgeon and the implant is inserted. (There are a ton of different implants and your oral surgeon will decide which one will be best for you.) It will take 3-6 months for your bone to integrate before you can go ahead with a crown/prosthesis to replace the missing tooth.
Implants happen in two phases. You have to see an oral surgeon first for them to evaluate if you are a candidate for an implant. There may be certain issues that will limit you from having this procedure, such as not have enough bone in your jaw to support an implant. Once you have the go ahead from the oral surgeon, you will be scheduled for the implant to be inserted. After this is completed, there is a healing time of 3-6 months to make sure that your body has grabbed on to the implant and it is stable enough for the crown or prosthesis to be placed.
Having a crown put over the implant is the second phase. This is the part that a general dentist completes. It will take 2 visits to first take an impression and then a return visit to insert the crown. Both of the visits are relatively quick and then, BOOM, you are done! It does seem like a long process and it can be, but it is well worth it.
If the implant is going to be placed where the space definitely shows in your smile, a retainer can be made with a false tooth to fill the space until you can get your permanent crown.
Insurance companies are now starting to cover implants at a higher rate than previously. Even though it sounds like an invasive procedure, you are only dealing with one space in your mouth and not involving other teeth to replace the space as a bridge would. And, you could have the oral surgery phase done in one calendar year and then have the crown completed in the next calendar year so you can use two years of benefits to get the most out of your insurance. Szmanda Dental Center would be happy to check with your plan to see if this is a covered option for you.