tooth implant

What Are Dental Implants?

Living with temporary teeth can be frustrating. Dentures require special care, like soaking them in water, while bridges can actually damage your healthy teeth. You want a permanent, reliable solution that looks, feels, and works just like your natural teeth. Now that’s possible thanks to dental implants!

Dental implants replace the root of the tooth rather than just the surface, making them the ideal solution for tooth loss. Pain is minimal during the procedure, and you’ll only require an OTC pain reliever while you heal and recover. Implants aren’t usually covered by dental insurance, so you’ll need to discuss coverage with your dentist and medical insurer. While there are some risks, implant procedures are 98% successful.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are a permanent solution if you have experienced tooth loss. Temporary fixes such as dentures and bridges address the problem of tooth loss at the surface. They rest on the surface of the gums, ensuring that you still have the ability to chew and provide the look of real teeth.

Implants solve the problem of tooth loss at the source by replacing the root of the tooth. The roots of your teeth are what holds them in place, but they can become damaged due to infection, an accident, or other reasons. Dental implants replace the damaged root and provide a permanent foundation for a replacement tooth or teeth.

This is because the implant is placed directly into the bone where the missing tooth was located. Your dentist will drill a hole for the implant directly into the jawbone. As the area heals, the bone grows back around the implant creating a secure anchor for the implant.

Do I qualify for dental implants?

Most people will qualify for the procedure. To be a good candidate, you should be healthy enough for oral surgery or tooth extraction. You should also have healthy gums and plenty of bone to support the implant. 

Some conditions will need to be evaluated on an individual basis. This includes if you:

  • Are a heavy smoker
  • Have health problems such as diabetes or heart disease
  • Have had radiation therapy on your head or neck

To find out your eligibility for dental implants, have a conversation with us at your next appointment! We would love to discuss your options with you.

If you are eligible for dental implants, you will need to be committed to maintaining good oral hygiene and make regular dental appointments a priority. This not only protects your new implant, but it will protect your overall oral health, too.

Are dental implants painful?

The majority of patients report very little pain during a dental implant procedure. Your dentist will be sure to use a local anesthetic before surgery to ensure that you experience as little pain and discomfort as possible. The result is a dental procedure that usually hurts less than a tooth extraction.

You can expect some mild pain or discomfort after the procedure. Fortunately, this can usually be treated with a simple over-the-counter medication such as Motrin or Tylenol. Contact your dentist immediately if your pain is more severe or if you notice any other side effects following surgery.

Does dental insurance cover implants?

Unfortunately, dental implants are not currently covered by most dental insurance providers. However, coverage may still be possible under your medical plan depending on what caused your tooth loss. You’ll need to speak with your dental care team and your medical insurance provider to learn if you will be covered.

Are dental implants successful?

The success rate of dental implants can vary since the location of the implant can play a major role. Failure is usually the result of the bone failing to fuse with the implant. Despite this problem, implant procedures had a success rate of 98% as of 2019. With proper care, it’s possible for your implant to last a lifetime!

How to Care for Your Dental Implant

Implants are rarely covered by insurance so you want to do everything you can to keep it protected and healthy. Implant failure is usually the result of poor oral care and general health habits such as smoking. These habits can not only lead to complications with your implant but your overall health as well.

To protect your dental implant, make sure to:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene
  • Go to your regularly scheduled dentist appointments
  • Break bad habits

Maintaining good oral hygiene will protect your remaining teeth as well as your implant. To keep your teeth clean, make sure that you’re brushing your teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time. You should also be flossing at least once per day after eating to remove any food debris and bacteria that may be hiding there.

Regular dental appointments are extremely important in maintaining the health of your implant and overall oral health. Along with in-depth cleanings, your dentist will be able to prevent or spot problems before they start. They’ll also be able to help you develop a plan to prevent problems or begin treating them before they become a bigger issue.

You’ll want to break bad habits to protect your implant and natural teeth over the long haul. This means quitting smoking, chewing ice and other hard objects, and grinding your teeth

Other Risks of Dental Implants

All medical procedures come with some risk and dental implants are no exception. While 98% of procedures are successful, it’s still important to know the possible complications that could occur. 

These risks include:

  • Infection
  • Sinus problems
  • Nerve damage
  • Damage to surrounding structures

We’ll do everything possible to prevent it, but infection is possible at the implant location. Sinus problems may occur if an upper jaw implant extends into your sinus cavity. Nerve damage can cause numbness, tingling, or even pain in your jaw or face. Surrounding structures such as blood vessels or teeth could be damaged during the procedure, but is infection rare.

Contact your dentist immediately if you begin to experience any of these complications. They will be able to determine the problem and provide the best solution for treatment.

Dental implants are the perfect solution for your tooth loss. Unlike dentures and bridges, they permanently replace the tooth at the root. Pain during surgery is minimal and any pain during the healing period can be treated with OTC pain relievers. Implants are not usually covered by dental insurance, but medical insurance may be able to help depending on your reason for tooth loss. Complications are possible, but 98% of implant procedures are successful.

Are you interested in a permanent solution for your tooth loss? Set up an appointment today to learn if you’re a good candidate for dental implants!


Kirkpatrick Dental Care is here to help with all your dental care needs. Give us a call today at (865) 588-5749 or you can schedule an appointment online.

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