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Dental Implants Q&A

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about dentistry and oral health issues.  If you have any other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, we would love to hear from you.

Click on a question below to see the answer.

Dental implants are biologically compatible substitutes for tooth roots. They are used to support crowns and bridges, and to anchor removable partials and dentures.

No, the implants that we use today are titanium alloys. They are biologically compatible and implants can fail for the same reasons that teeth do; for example poor oral hygiene, overloading, or trauma. However, they cannot decay.


Implants can be used to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth instead of drilling down adjacent teeth for a bridge. They can be used to support fixed teeth instead of a removable partial. Implants can be used as anchors to support and retain full dentures.


There are two types of implants. The most frequently placed implants are placed within the bone, called endosseous implants. Occasionally it is necessary, due to the lack of quality or quantity of the bone, to place the implant on top of the jawbone. These are called superiosteal implants.

The main purpose of the jawbone is to support the teeth. When the teeth are lost due to decay, periodontal disease, or trauma, the bone begins immediately to resorb. Bone grafting has become fairly routine to replace this missing or resorbed bone.


There are four main types of bone used for grafting: 1) Autogenous; The patient's own bone; 2) Genus: From another human, usually acquired from licenced tissue bank; 3) Xenograft: From another species, usually cow bone; 4) Allograft: Manufactured.

Nothing implanted is as good as that with which you were born. However, patients that have teeth supported by implants are usually much happier than they were prior to treatment. Fixed teeth supported by implants feel and look much closer to your natural teeth than removable appliances. After complete healing, most patients are not aware of their implants at all.

If you are healthy enough to undergo routine dentistry, generally you will do fine with implant surgery. Age is usually not a restriction. Many 80 some things have had successful implant placement.

Dental implants date back to the Egyptians. Modern implantology as we know it is about 50 years old. We have been placing various implants on or in the bone since then. Our current generation of endosseous implants is based on 30-35 years of research started in Sweden by Dr. Branemark.


It is impossible to predict how long an individual implant will last. Just like heart, lung, hip, and knee replacements, we cannot expect them to last forever. However, with proper home care and patient health, they should last a long time. Without implants, it is usually necessary to tie many teeth and their crowns together to support the missing teeth. If anything goes wrong with one tooth or crown, it can be necessary to redo many other crowns or partials. The implants are not connected to the teeth so that problems can be solved individually and usually less expensively.

Many times the postoperative symptoms are less than having a tooth extracted. Often only anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, are used. Ice is recommended as well to control any swelling.


The vast majority of implants are placed in the dental operatory under sterile surgical conditions. It is rarely necessary to go to the hospital.


Good dental care with brushing and flossing is imperative. Just like teeth, implants can be lost due to poor hygiene. We recommend that you see your dentist every three months for professional cleanings and follow-up. Smoking and/or heavy drinking are detrimental to the long term success of dental implants.

Depending on why the implant was removed, another can often be inserted. Often some bone grafting is necessary.


Each case is different and a proper exam with proper radiographs must be done. The simplest case and the most common is the replacement of a single tooth. The cost of the implant and the crown that is supported is approximately 10-15% more than a fixed bridge.


Insurance companies are unpredictable at best. However, dental or medical insurance companies often will pay towards the implant surgery or the prosthetics that they support.


We prefer that patients go home and rest the day of surgery. Usually patients are back at work the next day. We prefer that patients refrain from heavy lifting or aerobic exercise for several days.

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Piedmont Dentists, Dr Jill Martenson is a dental professional dedicated to General, Family & Cosmetic Dentistry with services including Dental Exams, Dental Makeovers, Teeth Whitening, Veneers, Crowns, X-rays, Fluoride, Cleanings, & more. Please come and visit Piedmont Dental by Design in Piedmont, CA today.

Jill Martenson, DDS 2024

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