Studies show that smiling can boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure and make you feel more positive. But if you’re missing a tooth or two, smiling may be the last thing you want to do. Maybe you’ve lost a tooth in an accident, playing sports or falling. Or perhaps an illness or decay has caused your tooth to fall out. Whatever the reason, dental implants can help you look and feel as good as new.
At Cleveland Clinic, our specialists are experts at dental implants. They also understand that the thought of dental surgery can come with an extra dose of anxiety. They’ll do everything they can to make sure your experience is as stress-free as possible.
Why Choose Cleveland Clinic For Dental Implants?
The board-certified dental specialists at Cleveland Clinic are experts at placing dental implants and treating complications from implants that you may have had done elsewhere.
We often see patients who are waiting to have or have had medical treatments, such as radiation to the head or neck, an organ transplant or heart surgery. Patients with complex conditions like these sometimes feel more comfortable getting dental implants in a hospital setting.
We understand that dental surgery might be scary. We listen to your concerns and understand your anxieties. Our goal is to make getting dental implants as stress-free and comfortable as possible for you. If you’re extremely nervous, sedation (twilight sleep) might be an option.
Skilled collaborative providers:
Our dental specialists work as a team and with your other healthcare providers to manage your care, all in one place and in a comprehensive and coordinated way. And access to your electronic medical records make sharing information within the team easy.
U.S. News & World Report has consistently ranked Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s top hospitals. And in 2021, Newsweek named us one of the world’s top hospitals.
Why Get Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a permanent solution — you never have to have them repaired or replaced. They also improve your appearance and make it much easier to chew and even speak. But if you’re still sitting on the fence, consider these reasons to say yes to dental implants:
- They help prevent bone loss that can happen after a tooth’s loss or removal.
- Unlike dentures and removable dental bridges, dental implants don’t need adhesive to keep them in place.
- You don’t need to have any healthy teeth removed or changed to place an implant.
- They don’t get cavities.
- They come in a wide variety of shapes and colors to match your natural teeth.
- The procedure is typically painless. You can usually manage any mild discomfort you may feel after the procedure with an over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®).
Who Treat Dental Implants
What Can I Expect When Getting Dental Implants?
Getting dental implants isn’t something that happens all in one day. You’ll need several visits with your specialist. Depending on your situation, the entire process may take six to 12 months to complete. Here’s a look at how the process usually works:
Deciding if you’re a good candidate for dental implants is the first important step. At your first appointment, you’ll typically meet with a periodontist (dentist who specializes in gum disease and placing dental implants) or oral surgeon. If you don’t have a dentist, we may first refer you to a Cleveland Clinic dentist before meeting with the specialist.
During the consultation, your specialist will ask for a complete medical and dental history. They’ll ask about any medical conditions you’re being treated for and if you’re taking any medications. Your specialist may also ask:
- If a dentist referred you for an implant consultation (and who that dentist is).
- If you’re in pain.
- If you’ve had a tooth removed, how long it’s been since that procedure and if any bone grafting (adding bone to prepare for a future implant) was done.
- If you’re wearing any replacement teeth now.
- If you smoke.
- If you’ve ever had a dental implant.
- Why you want to get a dental implant — and what your end goals are.
Next, your specialist will examine your teeth and gums. They’ll take one or more X-rays to spot any potential problems with your teeth or jaw before the implant procedure. An X-ray will also show if you have enough bone to support an implant. A panoramic X-ray will show your entire mouth. A cone beam CT X-ray also creates 3D images of your soft tissue, nerves and bones. This helps guide tooth implant placement and can show any problems in the gums, roots of teeth and jaws.
We understand that you’re probably worried about getting dental implants. But the truth is that the procedure probably isn’t a bad as you’re imagining. Plus, we’ll make sure you’re as comfortable as possible the whole time. Here’s what to expect:
- Removing the tooth: We remove your problem tooth (if there is one). Your specialist may do a bone graft if there isn’t enough bone left to place the implant.
- Implanting: If there’s enough bone, we can do the implant right away. If not, you’ll need the bone graft to heal for about three months first. Placing the implant ─ a titanium metal screw that takes the place of a tooth’s root ─ doesn’t take long (about 15 to 20 minutes). You may feel some pressure, but typically no pain. The implant heals in about another three months.
- Placing a temporary tooth: If needed, your specialist may decide to place a temporary tooth on top of the implant until your permanent, artificial tooth is ready.
- Molding the tooth and sending it to a dental lab: Your specialist will take a mold of your tooth and send it to a dental lab, where your artificial tooth is made.
- Placing the artificial tooth: When the artificial tooth is back from the lab, your specialist will place your new tooth on top of the implant.
After the procedure
You’ll get an antibiotic (medicine to fight infection) to take after the procedure. An over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®), should help with any soreness. Your care team will recommend that you eat soft foods, not drink hot liquids and avoid hard exercise for a few days after surgery.
Are Dental Implants Covered by Insurance?
Dental implants are typically not completely covered by most dental insurance plans. That’s because they’re considered an elective surgery, or something that’s not essential. But if you need help navigating the financial part of getting dental implants, we can connect you with a financial advisor within the dentistry department at Cleveland Clinic. The advisor can discuss your situation with you and explain what your options are.
Taking the Next Step
If you’re considering getting dental implants, don’t wait — there are many benefits. Call your healthcare provider today and schedule a consultation. There’s no reason to live with missing teeth and dental implants are the next best thing to the real deal. They’re durable, convenient and look great. Aren’t those great reasons to smile?
Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s Dental implant experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.
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