Hopefully, some of these questions will help to put your mind at ease if you are considering dental implants. To schedule your free consultation with Dr. Duffy, call us at (253) 525-5186 or request an appointment via our convenient form.
How will dental implants affect my life?elliehart2021-07-09T20:11:17+00:00
For many, dental implants are a game changer! People say that broken, decayed and discolored teeth and the willingness to smile negatively affects their mental outlook and confidence. They love being able to smile again! Additionally, having your teeth restored can make eating more pleasurable and easier.
Does my dental insurance cover dental implants?elliehart2021-07-09T20:09:26+00:00
Currently, dental insurance does not usually cover implants, although more and more plans are beginning to provide coverage. Dental savings plans and payment programs are options that may help make them easier to attain. Dr. Duffy and our team can talk with you about choices that work best for you.
Am I too young for dental implants?elliehart2021-07-09T20:08:13+00:00
Dental implants are not recommended for those under 18—or even older, if they have not finished growing. There are other solutions, such as temporary flippers (partial denture), to fill gaps and repair teeth until you have finished growing. Since implants are fused to the bone while the natural teeth are not, you could end up with gaps between your teeth if the jaw grows much more.
What are dental implants?admin2021-07-09T19:53:52+00:00
Simply speaking, dental implants are manufactured artificial posts acting as “tooth roots” which are installed into the jawbone. Usually made from biocompatible titanium, the jawbone naturally grows into the metal to create a strong anchor for your new tooth or teeth. This fusing process takes four to six months. When ready, complete permanent crowns are attached to a special screw or “abutment” in the top of the post and encourages a healthy gum shape. During the healing period, depending on your needs and which tooth it is, you will wear specially fitting dentures or temporary crowns attached in a way which sculps the optimal gum shape but keeps pressure off the healing implant. Dr. Duffy will discuss any considerations such as diet with you, which may impact your final decision about your temporary teeth during your healing period.
What is the dental implant process?admin2021-07-27T16:07:42+00:00
Although there are variations and options involving the installation of dental implants, dentists use a basic three-step process: 1) evaluation, imaging and planning, 2) removal of any teeth which need to come out and surgically implanting titanium or zirconia screws into the jawbone and 3) following healing, permanently attaching the new porcelain crown(s) or bridge to the top of the implant(s).
Thomas Duffy, DDS, is known for his precise work—including his restorative work with implant-supported crowns and dentures. He is also known for his attention to detail, listening to his patients, providing thorough explanations and gentle care. Whether you need one or two implants or a full arch (all upper and/or all lower implants), you want them to look, feel and function like beautiful, natural, healthy teeth. Choosing Dr. Duffy means that your crowns, either affixed to an implant, or over an existing tooth, will give you an excellent looking and functional match to your remaining natural teeth.
At a free consultation with Dr. Duffy, you will discuss what your needs, concerns and desires are, then develop a plan. If dental implants are decided upon, you will also meet with a local oral surgeon (just around the corner in Gig Harbor) who works very closely with Dr. Duffy. Together they map out your treatment step-by-step, while keeping you in the loop. Learn more about Dr. Duffy here.
Do you offer “one-day implants”?admin2021-07-09T20:00:00+00:00
Regardless of what various implant providers call the procedure, this process involves four to six months of healing simply because of the nature of the bone/implant interaction; and a series of appointments for follow-up adjustments. Just as patients are unique, dental professionals usually offer a several options based upon how many implants you need, the health of your jaw, dietary restrictions and more. For these aesthetic cases involving teeth that show in your smile, please know we will not send you home from surgery without teeth in your mouth! Your smile will be enhanced from the moment you leave our office following surgery.
How long does the implant process take from start to finish?admin2021-07-09T20:02:52+00:00
Most implants will take 6-12 months to complete. Numerous factors, almost all related to the quality and quantity of jawbone available to stabilize the implant itself, affect the final treatment time. Depending on your unique needs, we may design temporary placeholder teeth for you to smile with, ranging from a single front tooth to a complete full set or denture if all the teeth on one jaw are being replaced at once. Please note that as with all temporary materials, the range of what you can eat is limited to very soft foods until the permanent teeth are ready. At the one-year mark though, in most cases you should be fully healed, eating whatever you like and fully enjoying your beautiful, natural smile.
Can dental implants replace dentures?admin2021-07-09T20:04:31+00:00
Yes. In fact, dental implants can be a more permanent and more comfortable option which will also protect the health and strength of your jawbone, while improving taste and speech. However, Dr. Duffy is also happy to meet with you to help determine whether you would benefit from a more comfortable, better fitting denture or are best suited for dental implants. And if together you decide implants are not the best choice for you, Dr. Duffy has many patients who have been incredibly pleased with his denture work.
Is it painful to have dental implants fitted?admin2021-07-09T20:05:27+00:00
Like many dental procedures, dental implants are surgical procedures performed under a local anesthetic—and our goal is to help you stay pain free, relaxed, and comfortable. In addition to the local anesthetic, various levels of conscious sedation or nitrous oxide are also available, as desired. Following your procedure, you may experience some pain in your mouth and jaw and we can help you manage this most often with over-the-counter painkillers. We will also provide dietary guidelines during your healing process.
How long do dental implants last?admin2021-07-09T20:06:49+00:00
Your implants are designed to last a lifetime. But while you never will get a cavity in an implant, they are as sensitive to gum health as natural teeth. It is essential that you maintain a healthy diet, follow good home hygiene habits (brushing, flossing, or using a Waterpik®) and attend your regular dental appointments in order to care for not only your dental implant(s) but any remaining natural teeth that you have.
We appreciate it when our patients honor their appointment times, yet emergencies can arise which keep you from making your appointment. We request that whenever possible you provide 24-hours’ advance notice by calling 253.525.5186 so we can help you get rescheduled.