Did you know that your teeth have an impact on your overall health? Unfortunately, millions of adults in America are missing at least one tooth due to genetics, poor dental hygiene habits, poor diet, low finances, and more. This leads to difficulty chewing/eating, altered bite, bone loss, reduced self-esteem, and a variety of other problems.
However, at Covington Complete Dentistry in Covington, Washington, we have several options for tooth replacement. One of our most popular options is dental implants. Dr. Baptista Kwok completed dental implant education and training at the University of Pittsburgh through the Carl Misch Implant Institute in 2001. His education and training are a priority, so he attends quarterly courses and lectures to stay up to date on the latest dental tech.
In this article, we’ll explain more about dental implants and how long they are designed to last.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a permanent solution for tooth loss consisting of three parts:
- Implant: inserted into the gum and jawbone, acts as a tooth root
- Abutment: connector that holds the crown to the abutment
- Crown: prosthetic tooth, designed to look like remaining natural teeth
The process of getting dental implants takes at least several months. In some patients, the process may take more than a year. Therefore, you must be willing to commit to the process before getting started.
This oral surgery is typically done under local anesthesia. However, for patients who have dental anxiety, we do offer sedation dentistry. You will want to discuss this option with Dr. Kwok and the team during your consultation visit.
How Does the Process Work?
The process for getting dental implants starts much like other dental treatments- with a consultation appointment. At this time, we will do a thorough exam and take x-rays, as well as discuss your oral and overall health to determine your candidacy for dental implants. There are several factors involved in making this determination:
- Healthy gums/jawbone
- Age/facial development
- Medications/medical conditions
- Lifestyle habits
If you have gum disease, it must be addressed before we can move forward with dental implants. If you have some jawbone loss, we may be able to offer bone grafting or sinus lifting procedures to build it back up.
The first step will be to extract any teeth that cannot be salvaged. In most cases, you’ll need to take some time to recover and heal before implants can be placed. If you require bone grafting, this will be the next step.
If you do not require extractions or bone grafting, the first step will be to place the dental implants. This is done by cutting into your gums and drilling a hole into your jawbone. The implant will be placed into the hole and the surgical site sutured closed. Healing takes several weeks. During this time, the process of osseointegration will occur- which is where the jawbone fuses to the implant, securing it in place.
The next step will be to open the site back up and place the abutment. This is the piece that connects the implant to the crown or other dental prosthesis, for patients who are replacing several teeth with a bridge or an entire arch with a denture. At this time, a healing cap will be placed while we wait for your crown to be fabricated.
Once your crown has been fabricated, we will schedule your appointment to have it put in place. We will make sure that it fits properly and make any necessary adjustments before cementing it in place.
How Long Do Dental Implants Last?
Dental implants are a permanent tooth replacement solution. Therefore, with proper care and maintenance, the implant should last a lifetime. In some cases, the crown or other dental prosthetic may need to be replaced after approximately 10 to 15 years- but can also last longer with proper care.
Dental implants do not require any additional care beyond what you would do for your natural teeth. Proper oral hygiene habits and dental check-ups every 6 months are all that are required.
Does Dental Insurance Cover Dental Implants?
Dental implants are among the most expensive dental treatments. However, in some cases, your dental insurance may cover a portion of the costs associated with dental implants. Our friendly office staff will work with your provider to determine coverage and provide you with a quote before moving forward with treatment. We accept a variety of payment options, including financing through CareCredit.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
If you are missing one or more teeth, you may want to consider tooth replacement options, including dental implants. Dr. Baptista Kwok and the team at Covington Dental Care in Covington, WA are committed to helping patients get the smile they’ve always wanted.
We are located on SE Wax Road in Covington. Our office hours are Monday through Thursday 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM. We are open on Fridays by appointment only. Schedule your consultation today to determine your candidacy for dental implants.