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Coastal Dental Service Jacksonville Florida

FAQ - Implants


Why should I undergo implant surgery, instead of simply wearing a denture or a bridge?

Does my age affect my ability to be treated with dental implants?

How will dental implants improve my life?

Will treatment hurt?

What can be expected during the post-operative period?

Once the treatment is complete, are the new artificial teeth permanently in place?

Is implant treatment only for people who have lost all their natural teeth, or can it be used to replace only one or two teeth?

How long after the loss of teeth can you be treated with dental implants?

How long do implants last?


Q. Why should I undergo implant surgery, instead of simply wearing a denture or a bridge
A. A natural tooth does more than enable a person to cut and grind food and look good.  Teeth also are the reason the bones of the jaws exist.  When natural teeth are lost, those bones lose their reason for being, and they begin to shrink. In dentistry, this is known as resorption.  For many patients, resorption is minimal, and sufficient bone remains to provide a good foundation for a full or partial denture.  For other patients, however, bone loss becomes severe.   When this occurs, a number of unpleasant side effects may occur:  Loose-fitting dentures make it difficult to bite or chew properly.  As a result, the range of food a person can comfortably eat becomes limited.  In some cases, this limitation is sufficient to impact nutrition.  Loose-fitting dentures often rub the underlying gums, causing persistent soreness.  Speech may be impaired.  Appearance is negatively impacted.  A gag reflex could be induced. Self-image is affected.

One very significant benefit to utilizing Dental Implants to stabilize loose dentures is that most -- if not all -- of the discomfort associated with wearing dentures goes away.   Additionally, dentures stabilized with Dental Implants will not fall out at inopportune times and  will allow you to eat the foods you wan.  You will not get food under the lower denture creating discomfort on closure or during eating.   Becoming stable will help with speaking and will give you the confidence you had lost with just using conventional dentures.
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Q. Does my age affect my ability to be treated with dental implants?
A. Age is rarely a consideration in dental implant treatment.  We have implanted patients as young as 20 years, and as old as 90.  In young patients, implants are most often utilized to replace teeth lost due to trauma. In older patients, they are used to address teeth lost to disease.  In the past, bone resorption sometimes made it difficult to treat patients if tooth loss had occured long before implant treatment was sought.  Today, new technologies have made it possible to rebuild the bone so that patients that have been without teeth for decades may still be treatable.  Due to developmental issues, Dental Implants are not considered a long-term procedure for people under the age of 18 - 20 years of age.
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Q. How will dental implants improve my life?
A. Dental implants provide a more stable and natural feeling than loose dentures or removable plates. The most dramatic positive effect is looks.   Replacing a missing tooth, or multiple missing tooth with a virtually undetectable Implant Crown/Bridge is a life-changing/self esteem event.  For Denture wearers, you will be able to stabilize your previously loose/mobile dentures and can eat virtually any food with ease, comfort, and confidence.  You will notice an improvement in your appearance, and possibly, in your speech.  People who have their missing teeth or loose denture problems treated by Dental Implants find these improvements enhance their self-image and self-confidence.
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Q. Will treatment hurt?  
A.  Even though placing Implants is a surgical procedure, the jaw bones have fewer nerve endings than other tissues -- and we use a new age Ultra-high speed CO2 laser which elimates having to incise the gums -- or use sutures, therefore placement of dental implants causes only minor surgical discomfort - certainly less than you experienced when your tooth/teeth were removed. 
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Q. What can I expect during the post-operative period?
A. Depending on the extensiveness of the procedure, most patients are able to work within a day of surgery. Post-operative discomfort is usually so mild that the use of prescription pain medication is not necessary. You will be placed on a soft diet and antibiotics for a few days and told to use an antiseptic mouth rinse several times daily.  In most cases, you will be able to wear your existing or new temporary bridge or appliance immediately after surgery.  Becasue of using our Soft-Tissue Laser, sutures will not be necessary in the majority of cases, and there will be almost no post-surgical bleeding -- when suturing is required, they will be the disloving type, so uncomfortable suture removal is not necessary. During the remainder of the healing period, you will be seen periodically by the implant dentist to confirm the health of the your gums and implant sites. The healing period should be uneventful.  And no, you will not set off airport metal detectors!! 
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Q. Once the treatment is complete, are the new artificial teeth permanently in place
A. That depends on the treatment option you and your dentist have chosen.  Implants may be used with a variety of prosthetics, both fixed (non-removable), and removable. Your dentist will discuss the various options during the evaluation phase of your treatment. In many cases, lower dentures can be stabilized with no waiting period.  In all instances you will not have to run around with gaps or no teeth during the healing and stabilization period.
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Q. Is the treatment only for people who have lost all their natural teeth, or can it be used to replace only one or two teeth
A. Implants may be used to replace any number of natural teeth. Among young adults in particular, an implant is often used to replace a single tooth lost to an athletic, bicycling, or other accident, or to provide artificial teeth where natural teeth never developed. In older patients, implants are often used to replace more missing teeth and up to an entire mouthful of teeth. 
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Q. How long after the loss of teeth can I be treated with dental implants
A. Until fairly recently, it was sometimes difficult to treat patients who had lost their teeth many years before because so much bone had been resorbed by the time they sought treatment. Today, however, many materials have become available to to build up or graft the natural ridge, creating sufficient bone for implant treatment. As a result, timing is no longer as critical as it once was. Implants can be placed into sockets where teeth have been extracted or lost in an accident, and we put implants into jaw bones that lost their natural teeth roots decades earlier. If a tooth, or teeth, have been missing for years, quite often a considerable amount of bone has been lost from disease. If the teeth happen to be in the front where aesthetics are extremely important, the ridge is built up with a bone graft first to restore it to its original shape and size. The implants are placed only after the ridge has healed - as few as 2 months, and sometimes up to 6 months depending on varying circumstances. This procedure is done to give the most natural look possible. 
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Q. How long do implants last
A. Long-term studies of implants have shown that implants can last as long as 20 - 25 years or even longer depending upon individual circumstances and variables. Your own personal success will be influenced by factors related to your general health (including smoking, grinding, and oral hygiene). With an evaluation prior to treatment, the probability of success is high. 
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