The Ultimate FAQ Guide to Dental Implants

  • What is a dental implant?
      1. A dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath the gum line that allows your dentist to mount a replacement crown or a bridge into that area. 
  • What type of dentist practice offers dental implants? 
      1. Dental implant surgery is, of course, surgery, and is best done by a trained surgeon. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) has specialized education and training in the complexities of the bone, skin, muscles, and nerves involved, to ensure you get the best possible results. Before surgery, your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will usually confer with the General Dentist on where the implants are to be placed. After the implants have been placed and have healed, or osseointegrated, your General Dentist will make the crowns, or caps, that go on the implants. 
  • How long do dental implants last? 
      1. Success rates of dental implants vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed but, in general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. With proper care, implants can last a lifetime. 
  • Do dental Implants feel natural? 
      1. A dental implant is a great option for restoring your smile because the implant is designed to look, function, and feel just like your natural teeth. 
  • Are dental implants expensive?
      1. No two patients or their customized dental implant treatments are exactly alike, so the number of appointments, procedures, and cost of dental implants varies depending on the person. Unlike other tooth replacement options, dental implants are highly customized for your teeth and mouth, which is why they look so natural. The cost of dental implants tends to compare very favorably to other tooth replacement options because dental implants can last so long, even an entire lifetime. Importantly, you will want to use an experienced, credentialed implant dentist so your implants last and look good. Other teeth replacement options may appear to have a lower up-front cost, but you will continue to pay that cost over and over, making them expensive compared to dental implants.
  • Can any dentist provide my dental implant?
      1. Dental implants are sophisticated dental devices that must be placed carefully to minimize complications or implant failure. For the best results, it is important that you choose a dental implant expert who has the proper education, training and competence in implant dentistry.
  • Where can I find a knowledgeable dental implant dentist?
      1. Dr. Christopher Durham, DDS, and Dr. George Soung, DDS of The Oral Surgery Institute of the Carolinas are Board Certified and Diplomats of the American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons. 
  • Are dental implants safe?
      1. Dental implants, which have been used for half a century, are safe and effective. As in any medical procedure, however, there can be complications. Choosing a knowledgeable, well-trained implant dentist will help minimize complications and ensure skillful handling of any problems, should they arise. It is important that you and your implant dentist review your health history and any habits which could affect the success of your recommended care, such as smoking, so that you are fully informed about the benefits and risks involved. 
  • Does it hurt to get dental implants?
      1. Although each patient’s experience is unique, most people find they experience less pain and discomfort than they expect, and typically return to work the next day. Local anesthesia or IV sedation can be used to keep you comfortable, depending on the procedure. Post-implant surgery discomfort is like that of any other dental surgery. It may include swelling, bruising, minor bleeding and/or pain, but most patients usually manage any pain with over-the-counter medications.
  • Can my child get dental implants?
      1.  Yes, dental implants are an excellent and smart long-term solution for children who have lost permanent teeth due to injury or accident. It’s advisable to consult with a dental implant expert as soon as possible after the teeth are lost. However, in most circumstances, the dentist will wait to perform the procedure until your child’s facial growth and development has been completed. Generally, this occurs around age 16 for girls and age 18 for boys.
  • How do I care for my dental implants?
      1. Well-placed and cared for dental implants have the potential to last for decades. Caring for teeth restored with dental implants is just like caring for your natural teeth: brush, floss and visit your dentist for regular cleanings and check-ups.
  • Will insurance cover dental implants?
      1. Coverage of dental implant surgery can depend on whether medical insurance, dental insurance or both could apply to the procedure. Just how much an insurance plan covers can depend on your insurance provider and plan coverage details. Patients should always have discussions about insurance coverage with their oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS).
  • What’s the difference between implants and veneers?
    1. Dental veneers are thin, tooth-colored shells that are attached to the front surface of teeth to improve their appearance. Implants, on the other hand, replace the entire tooth. Crowns also encase the entire tooth, while veneers only cover the front surface of the tooth.