What Age Should I get Dental Implants?

What to Consider Before Getting Dental Implants

The age at which you can get dental implants can vary depending on individual factors. Generally, dental implants are suitable for adults who have finished growing and have fully developed jawbones. This typically occurs in the late teens or early twenties. However, it’s important to note that chronological age is not the sole determining factor for implant candidacy.

The main consideration for dental implant placement is the condition of your jawbone and overall oral health. Your jawbone needs to be fully developed and have enough density and volume to support the implant. If there is insufficient bone, bone grafting procedures may be necessary to create a solid foundation for the implant.

Other factors that can influence the timing of dental implant placement include:

Oral Health

It’s essential to have good oral health before undergoing implant surgery. This includes having healthy gums and being free of any active gum disease or tooth decay. Any existing dental issues should be addressed and treated before considering dental implants.

Overall Health

Your overall health plays a role in determining implant candidacy. Certain medical conditions or medications may affect the success of the implant procedure. It’s crucial to consult with your dentist and discuss your medical history to determine if you are a suitable candidate.

Jawbone Development

In some cases, individuals may experience delayed jawbone development, which may require waiting until the jawbone matures fully before implant placement.

It’s important to consult with a qualified dentist to assess your individual case. They will evaluate your oral health, jawbone condition, and overall health to determine the appropriate timing for dental implant placement. They can provide personalized recommendations and guide you through the process of restoring your smile with dental implants.

Dental Implant System

Tooth Loss

To address the complications that arise from tooth loss, dental implants offer an effective solution. When a tooth is lost, issues like bone loss, speech difficulties, and discomfort while chewing can arise. By replacing the lost tooth with a dental implant, a person’s overall quality of life and oral health can be significantly improved.

What is a dental implant?

Dental implant systems typically consist of three components: the dental implant body, dental implant abutment, and an abutment fixation screw. The dental implant body is surgically placed into the jawbone, serving as a replacement for the tooth’s root. The dental implant abutment is attached to the implant body using the abutment fixation screw. This abutment extends through the gums and provides support for the artificial teeth that will be attached to it.

By mimicking the natural tooth structure, dental implants offer a stable and durable foundation for prosthetic teeth. This allows individuals to regain proper oral function, maintain facial structure, and enjoy a confident smile. Dental implants have revolutionized tooth replacement options, providing a long-lasting solution that enhances both aesthetics and oral well-being.


Dental Implant: Bone Grafting

Assessing the Jawbone

Before undergoing dental implant surgery, it’s important to assess the thickness and strength of your jawbone. If it is deemed insufficient or too soft, you may require a procedure called bone grafting. This is because the tremendous pressure exerted by the chewing action of your mouth necessitates a sturdy bone foundation to support the implant. Bone grafting helps create a more solid base for successful implant placement.

Bone Graft Material & Process

Various materials can be used for bone grafting to rebuild the jawbone. Options include natural bone grafts, where bone is harvested from another area of your body, or synthetic bone grafts, which utilize bone-substitute materials that provide support structures for new bone growth. It’s essential to consult with your doctor to determine the most suitable option for your specific case.

The process of bone grafting and subsequent new bone growth typically takes several months before it can adequately support a dental implant. However, in certain situations, only minor bone grafting may be required, and this can be performed simultaneously with the implant surgery. The extent and condition of your jawbone will determine the appropriate course of action to ensure the success of the implant procedure.


Are Teeth Extractions Painful?

Tooth extractions can be painful, but your dentist will typically use local anesthesia to numb the area during the procedure. Depending on your comfort level and the complexity of the extraction, your dentist may also offer additional sedation options to help you relax. After the procedure, your dentist may recommend OTC or prescription pain medication to manage any discomfort.

Simple Extraction vs. Surgical Extraction

For simple extractions, your dentist or oral surgeon will loosen the tooth with an elevator tool and then use forceps to pull it out. If necessary, they may make an incision and remove bone to access the tooth’s root during a surgical extraction. Following the extraction, your dentist or surgeon will clean the site and may place sutures to close the wound.


After the extraction, you may experience tenderness and discomfort in the area for a few days. Your dentist may recommend self-care practices like resting, using ice packs, and eating soft foods to manage the pain. If you experience severe pain or a dry socket, which occurs when the blood clot in the extraction site is dislodged, your dentist can provide additional treatment. Overall, tooth extractions are common and typically well-managed with proper anesthesia and postoperative care.

Pain After Extraction

After tooth extraction, it’s common to experience tenderness and discomfort in the extraction site for a period of 1-3 days, although healing time varies from person to person. You may also feel tightness and stiffness in your jaw and joint due to the procedure.

However, if the pain worsens or persists around day 3, it could indicate the development of a dry socket. This occurs when the blood clot in the extraction site fails to form or is dislodged, exposing the socket walls’ bone. Fortunately, a medicated gel can be applied to the socket to cover it up, which is a typical treatment for dry socket.


Best For Severely Damaged Tooth: Root Canal or Extraction-Implant?

Making A Decision of Saving

Studies have shown that a severely damaged or decayed tooth can still be salvaged with a carefully planned action. There are two options. Is it better to subject the damaged tooth to root canal treatment, or is removing it entirely by extraction followed by dental implantation better? What is the best decision?

A number of factors must be taken into account. Is the tooth salvageable? How about the esthetics? The cost-to-benefit ratio? This is according to an implant position statement from the American Association of Endodontics. But many experts believe that it’s better to save the damaged tooth if possible.

A severely damaged tooth can still be saved via the procedure of root canal. Root canal may prolong its usefulness and may delay or even remove the possibility of needing a  dental implant. According to a 2009 research, non-surgical endodontic treatment, like root canal, had very high success rates. The functionality of such treated teeth carry on for several years. A large study claimed that 94% of teeth are still functional three and a half years later after root canal.

Procedure Cost

Significantly lower in cost, a root canal procedure is better than extraction-implant, which may not be covered by insurance. A root canal coverage ranges from $250 to slightly over $1,600. Certain factors can impact the cost, such as the type of tooth affected, patient’s insurance plan and location, and the dental professional performing the procedure. Added to these is the need for a crown on top of the tooth. 

While simple tooth extraction is not expensive, surgical extraction is. This and even just one dental implant can cost at least $4,000 to $10,500, depending on the patient’s specific situation.Surgical extraction will also require anesthesia, both intravenous and local anesthesia adding to the cost.

On the other hand, compared to the implant procedure, root canal is over much faster, probably in a week including going back to the dentist for the crown fitting. The extraction-implant process can take several months. Likewise, the recovery period for root canal is shorter, just a matter of days. Compared to extraction-implant, the healing and osteointegration take months.

Other factors can affect the success of the extraction-implant option. In a 2009 published research, smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to experience failure of an implant. And a 2005 clinical study suggested that both tobacco and alcohol use can have a negative effect on implant outcomes, causing bone loss. 


Are there risks when root canal is opted over extraction-implant?

One of them is that a root canal might weaken the tooth that is already severely damaged. Another is that the affected tooth may fail anyway after the root canal. 

Choosing Between Bridge vs Implant: Factors To Consider

Weighing The Options

When you see your dentist and inquire about the best solution for a few missing teeth, a couple of the best options can crop up. Should you go for a bridge or are implants better? With your dental professional’s expertise and your personal preferences, the choice may depend on a variety of factors. Know them well so the best treatment may be reached. 

What is the cost involved?

Though a dental implant costs more than a bridge, the former will prove more cost-effective in the long run, lasting more years before replacement, if at all. However, dental insurance is more likely to cover bridge costs. If you have insurance, a bridge is more pocket-friendly. If you are convinced of implants’ durability and the savings attached to them, consider it an out-of-pocket expense. Many insurance companies do not cover implants, regarding them as cosmetic in nature, hence, less necessary. But there are companies that do cover implants. 

One must also keep in mind that the cost of either bridge or implant will have to include the preparations and additional treatments required before the procedure. However, if both options are out of your price range, ask your dentist about other options. 

How many teeth are missing?

A better option to several missing teeth would be a dental bridge. If you’re missing three or more, and in some cases a full arch of missing teeth, dental implants are still plausible. An implant-supported prosthetic arch is a combination of implant and bridge, possible only via advanced dental technology. Ask your dentist about it. However, the procedure may be both extensive and exorbitantly expensive. It can also be somewhat a prolonged recovery. 

Is your overall health good?

As dental implants require invasive surgery, it serves as an option for relatively healthy people who have no medical issues like diabetes or leukemia. These conditions can impede wound healing after the implant procedure. Smokers are not also ideal candidates for the same reason. The ideal candidate also has disease-free gums; no presence of periodontitis or bone destruction. 

Are you able to commit your time?

It only takes a couple or so dentist visits over a period of two weeks if you opt for a dental bridge. This and maybe a little more if preparations are called for, such as tooth extraction or filling up cavities. Overall it does not take too long to have a dental bridge. However, if it’s dental implants for you, you must be able to commit to the entire process of implant integration and bone healing that might take anywhere from 3 to 6 months. 


Assisting You With Best Options in Federal Way

Deciding which option is best for you? For expert advice and state-of-the-art treatment, visit our Federal Way dentist here at West Campus Dental Center.

Dental Implant vs Bridge: Which Is Better?

Benefits and Drawbacks

Tooth loss among adults is a very common issue in the US. At least 69% of those aged 35 to 44 have at least one tooth lost; 25% of people by age 74 have their entire dentition gone. Teeth replacement had become quite commonplace as well. Dentists and their patients tend to choose between two popular options. Which is better – bridges or implants?

Dental bridges and dental implants both address the problem of missing teeth. Bridges, usually of porcelain or plastic false teeth, are held in the place of the missing natural teeth by attaching them to the surrounding natural teeth for support. On the other hand, dental implants, which are artificial roots, are surgically implanted into the missing space or spaces by screwing or mounting them into the jawbone. They protrude through the gum on which an artificial tooth or teeth is/are secured.

Bridges and implants each have their set of advantages and disadvantages.

The Advantages of Bridges: cost less than implants, do not require surgery or bone grafting and so do not need anesthesia, require at least only two dental visits in a span of a couple of weeks, and are likely covered by insurance.

The Disadvantages of Bridges: can lose its natural look with age, need replacement every 5 to seven years, sometimes ten years with stringent care, can do damage to the neighboring natural teeth to which it is attached, and, more prone to cavities and tooth decay.

The Advantages of Implants: long-lasting to up to 15 years or sometimes a lifetime, retain its natural look over time, do no damage to any of the natural teeth around, and, a high success rate of 97%.

The Disadvantages of Implants: require invasive surgery and anesthesia, surgical complications do happen though not common, may take several dentist visits spanning over 3 to 6 months (due to the healing and integration processes), cost more than bridges and are less likely covered by insurance.

Comparing the cost between bridges and implants will depend upon certain factors. For example, it will cost more to replace multiple missing teeth; hence, more expensive for multiple implants. Another is materials used; titanium implants are high-strength and high-end and so cost more than zirconium. For bridges, zirconia, all-ceramic, or porcelain-fused-to-metal cost more than metal. Where you live also affects the cost; generally, dental practices in metro key cities charge more than those in rural areas.


Knowing Your Best Option in Federal Way

Let us help you determine which option is the best for you. When you come see us, your Federal Way dentists, let’s sit down and talk about bridges and implants.

How Do I Prepare For Dental Implant Surgery?

Proper Preparation: Key To Success

When you are already committed to having dental implant surgery, your dentist will help you prepare for it. Know what the planning process entails and how you can prepare yourself before and after the procedure.

The dental implant procedure may require several surgical tasks and preparations, and, hence, a few specialists may get involved in the planning task. You might have an oro-maxillofacial surgeon, one who specializes in conditions of the mouth, jaw and face. You may have a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in the supportive structures of the teeth – the gums and the underlying bone. There’s a prosthodontist, who designs the artificial crown and oversees its fitting. And, if necessary, an ear, nose and throat doctor or an ENT may be involved.

The preparation you make prior to the procedure may strongly affect the outcome. Hence, your dentist will make a thorough oral examination, including x-rays and impressions of your teeth and jaw. A good medical history must be taken, to include any medical conditions, medications and allergies. A treatment plan to be agreed upon will be drawn out so you will know what to expect step by step; also includes a discussion on the use of anesthesia or any sedation option.

Is dental implant surgery painful?

Within the first 24 to 48 hours after the surgery and after the anesthetic effect has completely subsided, you may experience some pain, swelling or discomfort. Your dentist will prescribe an over-the-counter medication like acetaminophen. However, being a surgical procedure, you may still feel some discomfort after 7 to 10 days, though to a lessening degree.

From your end, as the patient, here are guides to consider:

  • Try to relax and be mentally prepared for the surgery.
  • Have lots of rest and sleep before the appointment.
  • Arrange your schedule and activities around the date of the surgery as you would need to take it easy afterwards.
  • Be mindful about your dentist’s instructions and advice about aftercare and what you can do in the event of an untoward incident.
  • You may need to go home with a companion who will see to your well-being and safety.
  • Be prepared for the recovery period because it can take months for healing and bone integration with the implant.
  • Your dentist will also inform you about a special soft diet to undertake from after the procedure to some time afterwards.

Having The Best Implant Surgery Experience in Federal Way

For an anxiety-free and safe dental implant surgery, look no further than your Federal Way dentist at West Campus Dental. Come see us for a consultation soon.

What Dental Implant Surgery Is All About

Versus Dentures and Bridgework  

Dental implant surgery is an option for dentures or bridgework for those who have lost their entire tooth, including the root. The procedure replaces missing teeth and is a viable and increasingly popular alternative due its high success rates. Learn about the treatment’s amazing benefits and why you should have it.

One or more missing teeth can impact appearance and self confidence, impede eating  and even speaking function, cause loss of bone mass, and change the shape of the face. A good replacement must prove to be strong and sturdy, last a long time, and restore the appearance and function of natural teeth. To have dental implant surgery addresses all these needs. It is basically implanting a metal, screw-like post into the space through the jaw bone and capping it with an artificial crown. The post serves as the root that eventually will integrate with the bone. Hence, the look and function of missing or damaged teeth are restored.

How would you know if dental implant surgery is for you?

First of all, your jawbone must have reached full growth and that is why it is not recommended for children. You must also have adequate and healthy bone mass to secure the implant in place and ensure proper bone integration around the post. It would be better that you do not have health problems that might jeopardize the healing process, like diabetes; or have a smoking habit that can delay healing and integration.  

Also, among other things, candidates for dental implant surgery want to improve speech and appearance, and want no visible dental work showing. These candidates are not able to or refuse to wear dentures, and they must be willing to commit to the treatment process duration and implant aftercare. 

Compared to having dentures or bridgework, dental implants won’t slip or fall out accidentally. The materials used for implants, basically titanium, do not decay unlike what natural teeth are prone to when they support bridgework. They are also easier to clean. Implants may cost more than other restorations, but over the long run prove more cost-effective because they last longer, even over one’s lifetime.  

Just like any surgery, dental implants face some risks; however such risks may be lessened with proper care. Site infection, injury to neighboring structures, nerve damage, and sinus problems are minor issues and easily treated.    

Dental Implant Surgery in Federal Way

When you are contemplating dental implant surgery and would like to know more about its advantages over dentures and bridgework, come see us at West Campus Dental. Your Federal Way dentist is more than willing to help.

What is Peri-Implantitis and How Do You Avoid It?

The Perils of Peri-implantitis and Its Prevention

Peri-implantitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the gums (soft tissue) as well as the bone (hard tissue) surrounding the dental implant. It can potentially be destructive. Know more about it and how you and your dentist can prevent or manage it.

What peri-implantitis is is an inflammation around the dental implant. The most common culprit is the buildup of decay-causing tartar at the implant site, which usually is the result of poor oral hygiene. Tartar emits toxins that carry bacteria and cause irritation and then infection of the gums and the bone that supports the implant. If left unattended, the condition can ultimately result in gum destruction and loss of bone. Hence, at the onset, regular and proper brushing and flossing are key to prevention of this inflammation.

You can tell if your implant is in danger of peri-implantation. These signs and symptoms may be present: Pain at the implant site, swelling, tenderness, or redness of the gums, bleeding or pus discharge which may produce a foul odor, development of a pocket around the crown that may cause tooth movement. Once the anchor of the implant to the bone is lost, the implant can become loose or may fall out.

A risk factor, as mentioned earlier, is poor oral hygiene or a lack of an implant maintenance therapy. It may also be that the patient is unable to easily access the implant while brushing or flossing, or is not comfortable cleaning the area of the implant. One other risk factor is an excess of or a residual of cement. Cement is used to retain the implant in the bone tissue, and cement has a potentially rough surface that bacteria can lodge. This is possible with cement-retained implants. The alternative here is the screw-retained implant.

Other risk factors for peri-implantitis are diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Another risk factor is genetics.

If peri-implantitis is discovered early, before there is bone loss, the condition can be arrested and cured. That is why regular dentist visits are important. Not all patients with implants have the same degree of inflammation, besides an existing medical condition such as diabetes or pregnancy. If a patient is more prone to caries, it would be a good preventive measure to have regular plaque removal. Depending on the severity, treatment for peri-implantitis can range from non-surgical to surgical. So do not delay keeping your dentist appointments.


Helping Prevent Peri-implantitis in Federal Way

When you decide to have your dental implants at West Campus Dental, here in Federal Way, we will be your partners in prevention of peri-implantitis. See us for more helpful information.