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What Does an Implant Dentist Do?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2019
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    Conjecture Corporation
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An implant dentist performs surgery on a person's mouth in order to implant devices to which an artificial tooth or bridge can be added. For example, when a person wants to have a false tooth surgically implanted in his mouth, he will usually visit an implant dentist for this procedure. In most cases, an implant dentist inserts a metal post into the patient's gum and then another type of dentist adds the part that will look like a tooth. It is important to note, however, that people who perform this type of work aren't always referred to as implant dentists. Instead, they often have the title of oral surgeon or periodontist.

When a person has a missing tooth or a number of missing teeth, he has a few basic options. He can allow the gaps in his teeth to remain or he can get a type of non-permanent denture. In some cases, however, a person may not feel comfortable with teeth he has to remove at night, bridges that move about, or dentures that don't feel as if they are a part of him. Instead, he may want a permanent implant and choose to visit an implant dentist to begin the permanent implant process.

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It is important to note that an implant dentist doesn't literally implant teeth in a person's mouth. Instead, he usually implants a type of metal post beneath the gum line, using the patient's jaw to anchor it in place. The artificial tooth or bridge that will become a permanent part of the person's smile is then built onto this post. When this is done properly, a patient can have dentures, bridges, and crowns that won't move about in his mouth. Usually, implants also free a person from discomfort associated with regular dentures — they can even help keep the surrounding natural teeth healthy, as the structures are not attached to nearby teeth.

In some cases, an implant dentist is only responsible for the surgery to imbed metal posts in a person's mouth. He may do this by embedding implants in the patient's jaw or by attaching a metal device to the bone of the jaw. Usually, the gums then go through a healing process before the artificial teeth are attached. Sometimes a restorative dentist goes on to attach the artificial teeth to the posts. In other cases, however, an implant dentist may handle both the posts and the dental restoration.

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JessicaLynn
Post 8

@sunnySkys - Dental work can be quite scary, it's true. I think in the case of a dental implant versus a fake tooth, it might be worth the pain and fear. Imagine having to take your tooth out at night and all the other little annoyances that come along with a fake tooth!

I do understand cost can be a consideration for some people though. I have a good friend who is on Medicaid, and all it covers for her is cleanings! It doesn't cover even a filling, let alone something more complex. So I suppose if you can't afford it, dental implants are out anyway!

sunnySkys
Post 7

I have a friend that has a fake tooth. She decided to just stick with the fake tooth because she was scared of getting the implant done. She said the idea of having a metal post implanted into her jaw sounded gross and weird to her.

I currently have all my teeth, so I can't really say what I would do in that case. I do really hate getting dental work done, so I think I would probably just do whatever was quickest. So I guess I probably wouldn't get a dental implant!

snickerish
Post 6

@Tomislav - I hear you on the five year plan for the crowns, and I had the same thoughts about getting an implant versus a crown. My reasoning was that I had to get a root canal and a crown so I thought that this implant could replace both those procedures of root canal and then crown.

In the end; however, I decided to go with the crown. But I would highly suggest going in for a consultative visit with an implant dentist. I was very impressed with not only the looks of the implant, but also the longevity of the implant.

Dental implants vary as to how long they last, because how you care for them changes how

long they last. However, they say the first person to receive a dental implant still has his and that was in 1965, so we know they can last at least 45+ years.

That is why I sometimes wish I had went ahead and purchased the implant as I found out that crowns only last 5-10 years on average (so again they can last longer but I don't know the maximum stat on the longevity of crowns).

But I went with a crown because it was less expensive and I was just out of graduate school so I did not want to start a payment plan for my teeth that just seemed to depressing at the time. That was my only reason for going with the crown.

Tomislav
Post 5

I am curious, because I have a couple of teeth that are on the five year of getting crowns (I have them on a five year plan so that I can afford the crowns), if someone has ever thought of just going ahead and getting an implant instead of getting a crown?

lonelygod
Post 4

If you need to get a dental implant put in, it is a good idea to talk in detail with your implant dentist so you will know what to expect before, during and after surgery.

I had to have a front tooth implanted after I lost the original tooth playing sports. I took a bad fall and my front tooth was basically shattered.

The implant dentist I saw walked me through everything he would be doing and even showed me my implant before he put it in. It was a bit surreal at the time, but knowing what was going on made me feel more relaxed. When it comes time for recovery, expect to need a couple days of rest and recuperation.

manykitties2
Post 3

My mother recently had to visit an implant dentist to see about getting a few teeth replaced. She had some teeth removed due to decay issues a while back and wasn't really keen on getting partial dentures, as she hated the idea of having to take fake teeth in and out of her mouth everyday.

The oral surgeon she got to see was really skilled and he had her appointment set up and the work done in just a few weeks.

My mom now has a brilliant smile, and I am pretty sure it is even better than the one she had with her natural teeth. The implant dentist did a really amazing job of making the implants blend in with the rest of her teeth.

ElizaBennett
Post 2

@MissDaphne - It's wonderful that you want to help your friend! There are definitely sliding scale implant dentists. I'm not an expert, but this is what I would try to find one:

1. Google search for "sliding scale implant dentist" and your area.

2. Ask your own dentist if s/he can recommend someone.

3. Ask everyone you know!

If you and/or your friend belong to a place of worship, you might also ask them if they can help.

Your friend may also be eligible for Medicaid, which in some states has dental benefits. It can be tricky, however, to find a Medicaid dentist because the reimbursements are so low. Still worth looking into.

Good luck to you and your friend.

MissDaphne
Post 1

Are there implant dentists who work on a sliding scale? It seems like having bad teeth is often associated with poverty (poor nutrition, poor past dental care, etc.).

It's a vicious cycle. You're out of work, so you don't go to the dentist. Something goes wrong with your teeth, You have to have a couple of teeth pulled, maybe because you can't afford to have them fixed.

Now you have a gap. And you're still out of work. Who wants to hire the person with the missing teeth? So you can't get your teeth fixed, because you have no job, money, or insurance.

I'm trying to help out a friend of mine who is in this exact situation. She made a bad early marriage but I think she's on the way back up. Is there low-cost help available?

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