Frequently Asked Questions
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Do I really have to go to the dentist every six months? Do I need x-rays at each visit?
How often you go for dental exams depends on your oral health needs. The goal is to catch small problems early. For many people, this means a dental exam every six months. Your dentist may suggest that you visit more or less often depending on how well you care for your teeth and gums, problems you have that need to be checked or treated, how fast tartar builds up on your teeth, and so on.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I floss every day?
- Do I brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and follow my dentist’s instructions on how to brush properly?
- Do I eat a well-balanced diet, including food from all food groups, and limit sweets and sticky foods?
- Do I smoke?
- Do I have a history of cavities or gum disease?
- Is my overall health good?
The answers to these questions are all factors that affect your oral health. They will help you and your dentist decide how often you need to visit for dental exams. It’s worth noting that you should not determine your need for dental care on what your dental plan covers.
HOW LONG WILL IMPLANTS LAST?
How long do teeth last? They should last a lifetime. However, we all can sight examples where teeth have not served for a person’s lifetime. We know that dental problems mostly stem from improper home care or lack of treatment when needed. The same holds true for implants. With proper care and routine dental check-ups they should last a lifetime. No one can give guarantees because the health of a person is dependent upon many factors which are out of the control of one’s dentist, e.g., proper nutritional needs being met, proper hygiene, genetics, disease processes which might occur. So, the answer to this question really is that no one knows how long each individual implant will last… one’s success can be influenced by the way you live and the quality of practitioner that you have chosen to do your implants… these things can tip the scales in your favor.
Do I need x-rays at each visit?
How often you need to have x-rays also depends on your oral health. A healthy adult who has not had cavities or other problems for a couple of years probably won’t need x-rays at every appointment. If your dental situation is less stable and your dentist is monitoring your progress, you may require more frequent x-rays.
If you are not sure why a particular x-ray is being taken, ask your dentist. Remember that dental x-rays deliver very little radiation; they are a vital tool for your dentist to ensure that small problems don’t develop into bigger ones.
DO IMPLANTS REQUIRE SPECIAL CARE?
Presume that dental implants are natural teeth and treat them that way. Return for regular check-ups. Brush and floss. Realize also, that caring for the gums is the best way to care for one’s teeth. More teeth are lost as a result of gum disease than any other single cause.
HOW CAN I TELL IF I AM HEALTHY ENOUGH TO HAVE DENTAL IMPLANTS?
Generally speaking, if a person is well enough to undergo the treatment necessary for fixed bridgework or routine tooth extractions, the same person can undergo dental implant procedures. Also, patients may have general health conditions that would contraindicate implant procedures, although this is unusual. The best form of implant for you is determined after a thorough examination and discussion with your dentist and periodontist or oral surgeon. The amount and location of available bone is usually the major determinant as to which implant system is to be used, or whether you are a good implant candidate.
IS THE PLACEMENT OF IMPLANTS PAINFUL? HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
Implant placement usually does not result in much post-operative discomfort – usually the patient takes Tylenol or Advil for about 2-5 days. If more extensive treatment is needed, for example, bone grafts or many implants, then the post-operative course may require more time and medication. Anesthesia during the surgery should make the placement procedure pain-free. We are conservative with anesthetic agents and our philosophy is to utilize the least amount of medication for the patient to comfortably tolerate the procedures. Depending on the complexity and number of implants being placed, the procedure can take between 30 minutes to 3-4 hours