You might've heard or seen some TV commercials promising viewers new teeth in one day.
Is it too good to be true?
The good news is that it's not a myth. But the reality is that the dental implant process includes a lot of planning, as well as several visits, that go into preparing for that special "day."
"Patients researching their options to restore their smile with dental implants need to understand some important concepts so that they can make well-educated decisions regarding comfort, function, and esthetics based on their treatment objectives," says Dr. Adam Kimowitz of Denville, New Jersey.
The "teeth in a day" cases usually refer to full arch dental implant restorations, in which all diseased teeth are removed, implants placed, and a temporary version of your teeth are placed—all in a single visit.
Several months later, after healing has occurred, the permanent teeth will be placed. This type of "dental makeover" can be a life-altering experience for patients who have previously had a lifetime of dental difficulty.
While most patients may not require removal of all their teeth, for those who do it is a tremendous service to be able to receive this type of treatment. More commonly, patients may require replacement of a single front tooth. Single-visit implant placement that can be completed in one day is often an option that your dentist can discuss with you.
How the dental implant process works
Known as the new standard for tooth replacement, dental implants fit and feel like natural teeth. A dental implant is an artificial tooth "root substitute" surgically placed in your mouth on top of which a crown, denture, or bridge is placed. It is usually made from titanium metal and, over a period of time, fuses to the jawbone.
Depending on the situation, the dental implant process may involve one or more surgical procedures. An implant dentist can talk to you about all treatment options and a treatment plan prior to surgery. This will include oral hygiene maintenance and how to care for your new teeth.
"This is a long-term investment in your dental health and is a team effort with you and your dentist," says Dr. Bart Silverman, an oral surgeon in New City, New York. He added, "Your implant dentist is a valuable resource for you throughout this journey."
Find out if dental implants are right for you
If you have missing teeth, deteriorating teeth, or have long-term dental issues, dental implants may be for you. Your next step is to schedule an appointment with a dental professional. It is important that you choose a dental implant expert, not just any dental practitioner.
The American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) offers a searchable directory of credentialed implant dentists. These dental implant professionals have met key educational, training, and competency standards to help make the implant process a more satisfying experience.
"Dental implants are the best tooth replacement option and the only one which actually helps to preserve your natural jawbone," says Dr. Silverman. "An AAID-credentialed dentist can give you all the information you need, and help you make the right choice for your circumstance."
Your health matters
When you meet with your implant dentist, you'll undergo a complete dental exam (including X-rays and molds, or digital scans of your mouth). They will assess your individual situation and evaluate your teeth, gums, and bone structure prior to formulating a treatment plan. A 3-D X-ray may also be taken to help further evaluate your available bone.
Fortunately, there are new techniques available to correct deficiencies, if they exist, and an AAID-credentialed dentist will be able to discuss these with you. They will also evaluate your medical history. Although certain medical conditions such as diabetes, leukemia, and other systemic illnesses may interfere with the healing process, dental implants can still be an option for most people. In addition, smoking may increase healing complications. Your dentist will help you decide how your medical condition may factor into implant treatment.
After your implant treatment is completed, it's especially important to maintain excellent oral hygiene and schedule regular dental visits. That way, you can make sure your dental implants last a lifetime.
When, and why, it can take longer than a day
Dental implant treatment involves both a surgical and restorative phase. In order for the dental implants to be successful, it requires the bone to heal around the implant.
During the dental implant process it may also be necessary to prepare the site to accept a dental implant, which may require a few procedures.
After adequate healing has occurred, the restorative phase may begin. Depending upon the complexity of the case, this may be one to six months, or longer.
However, as noted before, there are cases when significant work is needed that the majority of the treatment is completed in a single surgical visit. These are the cases where all affected teeth are removed and an immediate temporary provided at the same time.
"Patients should discuss with their AAID-credentialed dentist the differences between removable or non-removable temporary teeth, and which one is appropriate for them," notes Dr. Kimowitz.
What to expect during surgery
Dental implant surgery is an outpatient surgery. Every patient is different and surgical protocols are custom-tailored to your specific needs. In a typical surgery, bad teeth (if present) are removed with the aid of a local anesthetic, bone grafts are placed as required, and the jawbone is prepared to accept the placement of your dental implant. Then the necessary amount of time is allowed for your implant to integrate, or fuse, to your jawbone.
Once healed, your implant dentist will take molds or optical scans of your mouth to custom-make your artificial teeth. In a few short visits, you will enjoy the benefits and comfort of your new teeth.
For those patients undergoing the full arch "teeth in a day" procedures, you can expect the dental implant process to include the removal of all diseased teeth and leaving the office with a temporary version of your new teeth that same day, and to return at a later date for placement of the final versions.
Enjoying your new smile
Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth. Compared to dentures, it's much easier to eat, smile, and talk with dental implants. You won't have to worry about "clicking noises" or feel anxious about what food is "safe" to eat. You can stop feeling embarrassed by your smile and start living the way you want to.
Does this sound like something you're interested in? Find an AAID-credentialed dentist in our directory of expert implant dentists if you'd like to make an appointment.
Category: Dental Implants