Can Implants Really Last a Lifetime?
People are skeptical when we say that implants can last a lifetime, but it’s true. With proper care and maintenance, they can last for decades.
Large clinical studies show that more than 90% of implants last over 20 years. Smaller studies show similar life out to 30 years. Anecdotal evidence exists that some people have implants for over 50 years.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants function like natural teeth because they are like natural teeth. Like natural teeth, they have two distinct regions: a root that is designed to bond to your jawbone, and a crown that is made to be attractive and functional.
With most implants, the root is made of titanium. Titanium has the special power to bond directly with your bone. It’s also strong enough to withstand the forces of biting and chewing. Plus, it makes a strong coating on the outside so it doesn’t rust apart.
The crown is made of high-strength ceramics that can also stand up to strong bite force but is attractive and natural-looking. If you’re replacing multiple teeth, we might use bridges instead of crowns, but they’re still made of highly durable materials.
How Long Does it Take to Complete a Dental Implant Procedure?
It takes 8 months from start to finish to complete the dental implant procedure if you require a tooth extraction first. For patients who don’t need an extraction, the entire process only takes 4 months. The actual dental implant procedure itself only takes about 5 minutes to complete.
At your first appointment with our Spokane Valley dentists, you’ll receive a full examination of your mouth, teeth, and gums. Dr. Ken and Marnie Collins will determine if you need any pre-treatments before placing the dental implants. Possible treatments you may need before getting a dental implant are tooth extraction, bone grafting, and gum disease treatment. All of these pre-treatments will add to the amount of time it takes for your total dental implant process, but you’re still a dental implant candidate! Next, you’ll consult with our implant dentists on the best course of action for your smile. If you need an extraction, bone graft, or gum disease treatment, you’ll schedule your appointment and go through that treatment process.
Your next dental implant appointment is your dental implant surgery. As mentioned, the surgery only takes about 5 minutes, depending on how many implants we are placing. Your Spokane Valley implant dentists have extensive experience in placing dental implants, so you’re in great hands!
Once we place the titanium post into your jawbone, you’ll need about 4 months of healing. During this time, you’ll wear a temporary crown so you can enjoy a full smile while you heal.
Your last appointment is when we place your permanent crown. Now you can enjoy all the benefits of dental implants!
Pain During the Procedure and Recovery?
Most patients report only minimal pain during the healing process. However, if you’re experiencing severe pain, please call us at (509) 927-2273 so we can see you right away.
How Long is a Typical Recovery Time?
Full recovery from surgery takes about a week, but patients can resume eating normally on the same day as their procedure.
When Can Normal Eating Habits Resume After Dental Implant Surgery?
We recommend avoiding crunchy or seedy foods for the first week. These foods can tear your gums and get stuck in places that are still healing. Be sure to take special care of your gums while your implants are healing.
What is The Best Option, Bridges or Implants?
One question we get a lot is whether people should choose dental bridges or implants to replace their teeth. It depends on their situation. Dental bridges can work, and they are very good in some situations. But they don’t stimulate your jawbone the way implants do, and they’re not as likely to last a lifetime. Plus, dental bridges depend on your teeth for support, which can sometimes put the supporting teeth at risk.
Can I Replace My Dentures with Dental Implants?
Yes! We see many patients who replace their dentures with dental implants. These are called “implant-retained dentures.” Even though the word “denture” is still in the name, you’ll enjoy all the benefits of dental implants and none of the denture downfalls. The denture is securely and permanently placed atop your dental implants. You’ll never take them out of your mouth, but we may when you come in for your biannual cleanings. Another benefit of this advancement in dental implants is that you only need a few on each arch to hold your denture in place. Those few dental implants are placed in a way that they’ll continue to stimulate your jawbone for less bone degradation.
Best Tooth Replacement in Spokane Valley
If you have lost one or more teeth in Spokane Valley and want to replace them, let us help. Please call (509) 927-2273 today for an appointment with a Spokane Valley implant dentist at Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics