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Frequently asked questions about Dental Implants

What are dental implants and how do they work?
What are the benefits of dental implants?
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
Are all implants successful?
Will dental implants last a lifetime?
What dental care should I provide at home?
Is age a problem?

Q: What are dental implants and how do they work?
A: A dental implant is basically an artificial tooth root that is made from titanium. It is placed into your jawbone and is used to hold your new artificial teeth in place. After the implants have been inserted, the bone surrounding the area will begin to attach itself to the implant. This process is called "osseointegration". Once the process is complete, your new teeth will be secured to the dental implant. Your new teeth will look just like natural teeth. Even better, they will feel and perform like normal teeth too. Since dental implants are simply an anchor, they can be utilized in many different ways, including single tooth replacement, multiple tooth replacement, and as a replacement for full sets of dentures. They can also be used to secure bridges and partial dentures.

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Q: What are the benefits of dental implants?
A: If a person does not replace a missing tooth, over time the bone that used to surround the tooth will begin to shrink as well. Eventually, the jaw line may become deformed and result in the change of your face's shape. Dental implants can prevent this type of bone shrinking deformity and help you retain the natural shape of your face. One of the issues associated with bridges is that healthy teeth have to be ground down in order to replace adjacent teeth. Dental implants do not require such grounding and healthy teeth remain healthy! With other forms of artificial teeth, especially dentures, it is common for people to experience problems with their teeth slipping or moving when they talk and eat. Many people also experience problems with their dentures not fitting properly. Ill fitting dentures can lead to gum inflammation and nerve pain. With Dental implants these issues are eliminated by using a secure anchor. If you are insecure about the way your teeth look when you smile, feel as though your teeth negatively effect the way you speak, or if eating certain types of foods is difficult or embarrassing, dental implants can be the answer. Dental implants instill confidence as your smile is perfected and eating becomes a pleasure.

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Q: Am I a candidate for dental implants?
A: The main requirements for a dental implant are healthy and adequate jaw bone and general good health. Basically, if you are healthy enough to have dental surgery you are able to have dental implants. Your dentist will evaluate your circumstance and let you know if implants are an option.

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Q: Are all implants successful?
A: A successful implant depends on both the patient and Implantologist, but when attention is paid to the following areas the chances for a successful implant are excellent: The health of a patient is extremely important, in particular the rate in which their body can heal. For instance, a diabetic takes a longer time to heal than a person without health issues. If you are in good health, healing should not be difficult. A patient must be carefully examined to determine bone health and mass. Also the proper implant must be selected and implanted correctly. The success of an implant is greatly dependant upon the care taken by the patient and the dentist. Both must be diligent to follow essential aftercare procedures. There are times when, despite the best efforts of patient and Implantologist, an implant fails. In the case of a failed implant, the implant will be replaced.

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Q: Will dental implants last a lifetime?
A: Using today's implant technology, it is expected that an implant will last for a patient's entire life. The high quality implants produced by Zimmer and BioNobel Systems are the choice of Dr. Garita, and the implants come with a lifetime guarantee. If a problem is experienced, dental implants are replaced at no cost.

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Q: What dental care should I provide at home?
A: Proper aftercare of your implants is critical. Extra care must be taken to keep teeth and implants clean and free of plague using toothbrush, dental floss, and other devices that your dentist may recommend.

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Q: Is age a problem?
A: As long as you are in good general health, age does not matter. An older patient in good health is actually a better candidate than a younger patient in poor health. Elderly patients are more likely to need implants as they lose teeth and bone ridge over the years.

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