Dental implants are simply awesome. They look like normal teeth, they chew like normal teeth, and they last a lifetime. They are an enormous step up from previous tooth replacement options, like dental bridges. However, there's one thing that holds some people back from getting implants, and that's the fact that they have to be surgically inserted into your jaw bone. But here's the thing: the implant surgery is not as bad as you may be scared it will be. There are a lot of misconceptions about the surgery, and learning the truth that these misconceptions hide may make you more comfortable with the idea of getting implants.
Misconception #1: You'll be put under general anesthesia
People often associate the term "surgery" with anesthesia. And you will, indeed, be given some anesthetic prior to having your implants surgically placed in your jaw bone. But it's not the type of anesthesia you're thinking of. It will be a local anesthetic that numbs your jaw but does not put you to sleep. You might be given a sedative, like laughing gas, to calm you down, but you'll be awake, so you can set aside your concerns about not waking up from implant surgery.
Misconception #2: You'll need an implant for every tooth that you're missing
If you're missing a lot of teeth, getting implants may seem like an overwhelming idea because you assume you'll need 12, 15, or 18 different screws placed in your jaw bone. Thankfully, though, this is not how dentists approach things. When you have several missing teeth in a row, you'll be given one implant screw. Then, several false teeth will be mounted to that one screw. If you're missing an entire arch of teeth, your dentist may do something called an all-on-four implant. You'll get four implants with a whole arch of teeth attached to them.
Misconception #3: You'll need new implants 10 or 20 year from now
Sometimes patients avoid getting implants because they've heard that doing so means committing to also having the implants replaced every 10 or 20 years — and that sounds like a lot of surgery. Thankfully, this is just not how things work! The screw part of the implant that is inserted into your jaw bone is essentially permanent and will last a lifetime. The only part that might need replacing is the crown — the visible part of the implant. Replacing the crown is not a surgical process and should take less than 20 minutes in your dentist's chair. There's little to no pain involved.
Now that you know a little more about the reality of a dental implant procedure, you are prepared to make a wise decision as to whether they're right for you.