Everything you need to know about dental implants

How do I get started?

Call (434) 473-7449 to schedule an initial evaluation, or click here, during which Dr. Claiborne will perform a thorough dental exam, review your medical history, take X-rays and discuss treatment options with you. We will give you an estimate of time and cost at this appointment.

How long does the initial evaluation take?

This will depend on the extent of treatment you are seeking. But typically 30-45 minutes.

What is a dental implant?


diagram of dental implants lynchburg virginia

A dental implant is a surgically placed titanium screw which can hold a tooth or several teeth in place. After the surgical placement of the dental implant, the process of ossentegration occurs and the surrounding bone and implant surface fuse together. The dental implant acts as a replacement to the lost root of a tooth. This “root” can then be used to support single teeth, or joined together to support multiple teeth or stabilize dentures.

Am I a candidate?
  • Would you like to replace one or more missing teeth with something fixed in place?
  • Are you having problems eating, chewing, or speaking properly due to missing teeth?
  • Do you have a bridge that is loose? -Do your dentures move around when you chew?
  • Do you get frequent sore spots from your denture or need “paste” to hold it in?
  • Do you have a partial denture but never wear it?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions you may be a candidate for dental implants. There are almost no absolute contraindications for dental implants. Although certain conditions will put patients in a higher risk category (i.e. smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, autoimmune disorders, etc.)

What is the dental implant procedure?

After your initial consultation, the first part of the process is the actual surgical placement of the implant. This is typically done with local anesthesia. Dr. Claiborne offers sedation as an option for implant procedures including nitrous oxide sedation, oral sedation and intra-venous sedation. There are typically two follow up appointments (after 2 weeks and 6 weeks). In some cases a second surgery to uncover or “expose” the implant is required, and this is done after 4-6 months. The next appointment is to take impressions in order to make your tooth (crown) or dentures.

How long will my implants last?

Dr. Claiborne has a 95% success rate to date with hundreds of implants placed. Most literature will state a 90-95% survival rate for 10 years. Patients who smoke have an increased risk of failure (usually 2.5 times greater than a non-smoker). The first dental implant was placed in 1965 and is still in function today. The best way to ensure long term success is with good oral hygiene and 6 month cleaning appointments with radiographic follow up of your implants.

What is the cost of a dental implant and will my insurance cover it?

Typically dental insurance does not cover dental implants. But we are seeing some insurance carriers start to cover them. Because Dr. Claiborne performs both the surgical aspect and the prosthetic aspect of implant dentistry, he is able to pass substantial savings onto his patients.

How long does the actual procedure take?

The length of your visit will vary according to your specific case.

How long do implants take to heal?

While you will be able to resume normal activities within a day or two, the entire healing process may take several months. Dr. Claiborne will likely advise you to build your menu around softer foods for a couple of weeks following your implants—after which you’ll be able to return to a completely normal diet.

Are dental implants painful?

Dr. Claiborne performs most dental implant procedures under IV sedation. This provides the most comfortable and relaxed possible experience. Most patients will not remember the procedure. Post-operative discomfort is minimal and we expect more patients to resume normal activity within 48-72 hours afterwards.

Will my insurance cover implants?

Typically dental insurance does not cover dental implants. See payment options.

What are the consequences of doing nothing?

Depending upon your particular condition, there can be a number of consequences of doing nothing:

  • Ill-fitting dentures just get worse.
  • Remaining teeth are subjected to stresses and pressures.
  • Jaw structure can deteriorate faster when teeth are missing.
  • Many denture wearers avoid eating healthy foods (such as fresh vegetables) because of difficulty chewing.