Here are a list of questions I'm often asked in the dental chair. I find some really amusing, yet so real!
1. Do dental implants seriously go into the bone?
Yes! The objective of dental implants is to place titanium screws into bone. These titanium screws are surface treated to allow it to stick to the bone better.
Within this titanium screw lies another screw system to allow an artificial crown to be tightened into this fixture. And voila! You now have a bionic tooth!
2. OMG does it hurt?
The dental implant surgery doesn't hurt at all. It can sting a little though, when the local anesthesia or injection is given. Even that doesn’t hurt much, as we put a lot of numbing cream before we give the injection. We also use a fine gauge needle so that you hardly feel the local anesthesia going in.
After the implant procedure, you may feel some soreness when the local anesthetic wears out. So it’s a good idea to take some painkillers before the anaesthesia wears off, which prevents you from being in pain post operatively!
3. Does it set off metal detectors at the airport?
No! Implants are made of Titanium, which is not as dense as other metals. So it will not set off airport security scanners! No worries! :)
4. Can I still go for MRIs and CT scans after the dental implant is done?
Yes, absolutely!! According to valid guidelines, all dental implants and their components are produced from non-ferromagnetic metals and their alloys. All MRI examinations of patients with implants are thus absolutely safe. CT scans are also safe.
5. How long will it last?
A dental implant is supposed to last a lifetime once it integrates into the body. However, there are ways to lose a dental implant, and the fastest way to lose an implant is through gum disease.
Like a natural tooth, an implant can also lose bone at this periphery. When bone is lost, the implant can become lose and fall out just like natural teeth.
So it's very very important to see your dentist regularly, even after your implants are placed. He/she can help prevent gum disease from occurring around your natural teeth and implants.
6. My sister/friend/dad’s dental implant dropped out. Will mine drop out too?
The success rate of most premier dental implants range from 98 to 99 percent. If you're a healthy individual, your implant should osseointegrate with your bone with no problem at all.
Usually when implants fail, there are other systemic factors present. The person could have undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes, be a smoker, or have poor immunity. Speak to your dentist to evaluate your risk factors!
7. My friend says his friend says his friend died from having dental implants. Will that happen to me too?
We've all heard of crazy Emergency Room stories, but the reality is that dental implants are generally a very safe procedure done in the right hands.
Your dentist will do a thorough analysis with clinical observations, X-Rays, and CT scans if necessary to ensure that we do not encroach on any important blood vessels or nerves during surgery.
And if you want evidence of your dentist’s qualifications or experience, just ask. They should have diplomas or certificates available to show you! I always appreciate my patient’s straightforward response when they ask how many dental implants I have placed before them! ;)
If you have any more questions about dental implants, head over to Ask A Doctor. If there are enough questions, I will write another post on dental implants!
Check out this other post to find out more about the cost of dental implants in Singapore!
Dr Marlene Teo is a Periodontist (gum specialist) at TP Dental. She holds a joint appointment as Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the National University of Singapore. Dr Teo passionately believes in leading a holistic and healthy lifestyle to boost immunity and combat periodontal disease.