Dental Implants FAQ

Looking into dental implants in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as an option to replace your missing teeth? If so, we invite you to read the frequently asked questions and answers below to see if dental implants are right for you. If you have any further questions or would like to schedule a consultation with our prosthodontist, Dr. Burton Melton, please contact Implant Dentistry of the Southwest at 505-883-7744.

Who is a good candidate for dental implants?

Almost anyone can be considered a candidate for dental implants as an option for replacing missing teeth. Dental implants are uniquely versatile in that they can replace a single tooth or a full mouth of teeth. They are also a comfortable and natural-looking option for replacing missing teeth. However, if you have gum disease in a moderate or severe stage, treatment for it will be recommended before we can replace your missing teeth.

Does it matter if I have existing dentures or dental bridges?

Dentures and dental bridges can cause complications that implants do not, such as slipping, precipitating bone loss and damaging surrounding teeth. If you currently have dentures or dental bridges replacing missing teeth, the implants can either reinforce what is already in place or completely replace them. Dr. Burton Melton will help you make the best decision during your consultation.

What is the process of receiving a dental implant?

If you are considering dental implants as an option to replace missing teeth in adults, it is important to understand the basic procedure, the structure of the implant and how it all works to give you a long-term, successful replacement.

There are three parts to the implant, each having an equally important role: the titanium implant, the abutment and the dental crown. The titanium implant is the first piece to be used in the procedure. The titanium implant is surgically placed into the jawbone. During healing, the implant and the bone fuse together, acting very similarly to a natural tooth and root system in your jaw. Following the healing, an abutment is fitted to the implant that is exposed just above the gum line. The last piece, the dental crown, is the piece manufactured to look like your natural tooth and is placed over the abutment.

What causes tooth and bone loss?

Teeth can be lost from:

  • Disease
  • Injury
  • Birth defects
  • Tooth decay
  • Poor diet and oral hygiene

Having missing teeth can cause misalignment, making it difficult to speak and chew normally. Beyond speaking and chewing, there is another serious side-effect to be aware of: bone loss. Your teeth stimulate the bone in your jaw, or the alveolar bone. Lacking the natural stimulation teeth provide by being anchored to this bone, the bone begins to deteriorate. The rate of bone deterioration varies person to person, but in every case, it begins almost immediately after a tooth has been lost.

What are the symptoms of loose teeth?

Loose teeth are often a sign of gum disease and lead to missing teeth in adults. If you are experiencing these symptoms, call our office for an evaluation:

  • Sore or inflamed gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Pus buildup around the tooth
  • Food getting stuck between the teeth or under the gums
  • Gum recession

How much will my implant cost?

Your dental implant cost depends on a variety of factors. The amount of teeth involved, any pre-existing conditions and the type of procedure you are having will all affect your dental implant cost. With a consultation, Dr. Burton Melton will perform an evaluation to get you a better estimate of the cost.

What are the benefits of choosing dental implants?

If you were to sit down and write out a classic pros and cons list of dentures or dental implants, dental implants offer many advanced benefits. Many patients who originally opted for dentures or partial dentures switch to dental implants and report positive results with their teeth.

For starters, one of the more important benefits of dental implants is the way they feel and function. Implants feel and respond like your natural teeth. Unlike dentures, implants are fixed into your jaw like your natural teeth. This provides necessary stimulation to the jawbone, preventing bone loss. Dentures sit on top of your gums and do not provide the stimulation. Dentures, being unfixed to the jawbone, also open up the possibility of slipping out of place when eating, drinking or talking. With dental implants, you will never have to worry about this embarrassing situation.

How long will my implants last?

The success and longevity of your implants from surgery depends on healthy gums, just as your natural teeth do. Keeping this in mind, it is very important to practice good oral hygiene, just as you should with natural teeth. Implants get a build-up of bacteria around the crown that needs to be removed daily. If it is not removed, an infection called peri-implantitis can develop and cause the dental implant to fail. This type of infection can cause widespread problems. It advances quickly, can cause significant bone loss and trigger tooth loss.