Some of the Most Commonly Asked Questions About Getting a Dental Implant

A dental implant is a permanent replacement for a lost tooth; it screws right into the gum line and doesn't need to be taken out for cleaning, as you would need to do with a bridge or partial dentures. While it can be a good choice for many patients, it's not always a workable solution for everyone. Note a few questions you might ask your dentist about getting a dental implant so you know if it would work for you and what to expect with the implant procedure.

What if I'm not a good candidate for an implant?

One of the most common reasons to be a poor candidate is that you have bone loss in the jaw so that there is no good foundation for the dental implant. This implant needs to literally screw into that bone, and if you don't have enough bone in the jaw, there is nothing to hold that screw. This bone loss can be caused by age, poor health, radiation treatments, and the like.

However, you might ask your dentist if you're a candidate for a bone graft procedure. If your dentist can add bone to the jaw, this might allow you the support needed to keep the implant in place. Whether or not you can get a bone graft will depend on your overall health, but don't assume it's out of the question no matter your age or if you've had problems with your jaw; ask your dentist what's involved and if it's a solution for you.

What if it hurts?

Dental implants shouldn't hurt, either for the surgery or after the implant is in place. However, very often you need an anchor to be put in place before the surgery as this is what holds the implant in place. This might be very uncomfortable but your gums and bone should graft somewhat easily around this anchor. If you feel outright pain, you should discuss this with your dentist as it may mean that your body is rejecting your anchor; this is rare, but it can happen.

Are there risks with a dental implant?

Typically the only risk with a dental implant, other than the rare occasion of your body rejecting the anchor, is that you might get an infection from the procedure. You may be prescribed a series of antibiotics during the surgery and it's important you follow the schedule of taking these to cut down on this risk. Note, however, if there are other risks that you might personally face, such as the shape of your face changing due to age or other teeth moving around the implant because you're missing other teeth. 

For more information, contact a local clinic like Cambridge City Dental.