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Loft Dental Implants FAQ

Q: What is a dental implant?
A: A dental implant is an artificial root that is inserted into the bone of the jaw to replace your missing root.

Q: What is an “implant specialist”?
A: Implant treatment is not an ADA (American Dental Association) recognized specialty. Implants can be placed by any licensed dentists. However, implant surgery is currently performed by the following groups of dentists at the specialist level: oral surgeons, periodontists and implantologists. Implantologists also have training in the creation of the tooth portion of implant treatment. They are the true implant specialists. Dr. Itoh, an implant specialist himself, has 4 years of full-time post-graduate training in oral implantology. 

Q: How reliable are implant treatments?
A: The success rate of implant treatments over a 20 year period in US is about 95-98%. This is a very high number considering implants are a surgical procedure.

Q: I know implants are expensive, but lately I see advertisements for very cheap implants. Are they just as good as high-priced implants?
A: In short, no. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has very strict regulations about the medical devices that go inside your body. To get FDA approval, manufacturers spend millions of dollars, and thus the cost of devices naturally increases. There are generic implant systems with expired patent designs that are manufactured in the third world and sell for cheap. These companies may be non- existent 5 years from now. Patients need to be aware that cheap is not always in their best interest. 

Q: I am allergic to metal. Does this mean I can’t receive dental implants?
A: Most people who are allergic to “metal” are allergic to nickel. These people usually say, “I can’t wear cheap earrings.” or “I can only wear gold or pure silver.” The majority of implants are made out of titanium. Titanium has a very high biocompatibility; more so than gold metals. Although it’s possible, it is extremely rare that someone is allergic to titanium. 

Q: I heard implant treatment can take as long as a year before you can have your tooth. Why so long?
A: Most implant treatments are done in 3 months. However, when a patient has lost a good portion of their alveolar bone (jaw bone), the bone has be restored prior to the placement of bone. This can take an extra 3 to 4 months. There are several well-established techniques that allow us to restore the teeth much faster nowadays. 

Q: What are factors contributing to the failure of an implant?
A: Implants are made of titanium metal so the tooth will never have cavities, but implant teeth can get gum disease that can lead to losing the implant. Good oral hygiene and periodical maintenance of teeth will play an important role in keeping healthy implant teeth.

Q: How do temporary dentures work?
A: While your implants are being made, patients are given temporary dentures, which can be fixed or removable. Fixed ones are just like bridges and removable ones are like dentures, except they are temporary and use different materials than the final prostheses. They are meant to be worn for a short period of time; in some cases, several months, while permanent implants are being made. 

Q: Do you have any advice on how to maintain temporary dentures?
A: Don’t eat hard or sticky food as it can lift out the temporary bridge or fracture the temporary denture.

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