Dental implants are changing the way people live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.
What Are Dental Implants?
The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts that protrude through the gums are then attached to the implant. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.
Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.
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The Surgical Procedure
For most patients, the placement of dental implants involves two surgical procedures. First, implants are placed within your jawbone. For the first three to six months following surgery, the implants are beneath the surface of the gums gradually bonding with the jawbone. You should be able to wear temporary dentures and eat a soft diet during this time. At the same time, your dentist is forming new replacement teeth.
After the implant has bonded to the jawbone, the second phase begins. Dr. McConnell, Dr. Napier, Dr. Kennedy, Dr. Petree, Dr. Mizukawa, Dr. Gross and Dr. Gart will uncover the implants and attach small posts that protrude through the gums and will act as anchors for the artificial teeth. When the artificial teeth are placed, these posts will not be seen. The entire procedure usually takes six to eight months. Most patients experience minimal disruption in their daily life.
Dental Implants Presentation
To provide you with a better understanding of dental implants, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to dental implants are discussed.
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Drs. McConnell, Napier, Kennedy, Petree, Mizukawa, Gross and Gart are able to place single stage implants. These implants do not require a second procedure to uncover them, but do require a minimum of six weeks of healing time before artificial teeth are placed. There are even situations where the implants can be placed at the same time as a tooth extraction – further minimizing the number of surgical procedures.
Dental Implant placement is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. While Drs. McConnell, Napier, Kennedy, Petree, Mizukawa, Gross and Gart perform the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions, and bone grafting if necessary, the restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the permanent prosthesis. Your dentist will also make any temporary prosthesis needed during the implant process.
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What Types Of Prosthesis Are Available?
A single prosthesis (crown) is used to replace one missing tooth – each prosthetic tooth attaches to its own implant. A partial prosthesis (fixed bridge) can replace two or more teeth and may require only two or three implants. A complete dental prosthesis (fixed bridge) replaces all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw. The number of implants varies depending upon which type of complete prosthesis (removable or fixed) is recommended. A removable prosthesis (over denture) attaches to a bar or ball in socket attachments, whereas a fixed prosthesis is permanent and removable only by the dentist.
Drs. McConnell, Napier, Kennedy, Petree, Mizukawa, Gross and Gart perform in-office implant surgery in a hospital-style operating suite, thus optimizing the level of sterility. Inpatient hospital implant surgery is for patients who have special medical or anesthetic needs or for those who need extensive bone grafting from the jaw, hip or tibia.
Why Dental Implants?
Once you learn about dental implants, you finally realize there is a way to improve you life. When you lose several teeth – whether it’s a new situation or something you have lived with for years – chances are you have never become fully accustomed to losing such a vital part of yourself.
Dental implants can be your doorway to renewed self-confidence and peace of mind.
A Swedish scientist and orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark, developed this concept for oral rehabilitation more than 35 years ago. With his pioneering research, Dr. Branemark opened the door to a lifetime of renewed comfort and self-confidence for millions of individuals facing the frustration and embarrassment of tooth loss.
Why Select Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types Of Restorations?
There are several reasons: Why sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge a space? In addition, removing a denture or a “partial” at night may be inconvenient, not to mention that dentures that slip can be uncomfortable and rather embarrassing.
Are You A Candidate For Implants?
If you are considering implants, your mouth must be examined thoroughly and your medical and dental history reviewed. If you mouth is not ideal for implants, ways of improving outcome, such as bone grafting, may be recommended.
What Type Of Anesthesia Is Used?
The majority of dental implants and bone grafts can be performed in the office under local anesthesia, with or without general anesthesia.
Do Implants Need Special Care?
Once the implants are in place, they will serve you well for many years if you take care of them and keep your mouth healthy. This means taking the time for good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and keeping regular appointments with your dental specialists.
Dental Implants: An Investment in Health
How much do dental implants cost?
Drs. McConnell, Napier, Kennedy, Petree, Mizukawa, Gross and Gart know that when deciding between dental implants and alternative tooth replacement methods, there’s a lot to think about. That’s why we offer you this guide – a list of things to consider when making an informed decision about options for replacing your teeth.
Implants Last Longer
Fact: Dental implants last two to three times as long (25+ years) as traditional tooth replacement approaches such as bridges (5-15 years) and dentures (5-8 years). Simply put, in terms of longevity, dental implants can’t be beat. This is why, although they are more expensive upfront, they are usually a better investment over time. When compared to bridges and dentures, which will likely have to be replaced 2-3 times during a person’s life, dental implants pay for themselves.
Jaw Deterioration: The Price of Going Without Implants
Without the regular stimulation of chewing, biting and speaking provided by teeth, the jawbone deteriorates. In the first year alone after the loss of a tooth, a patient may lose 25% of his or her supporting jawbone structure. There is only one way to stop the recession: with dental implants. Because the titanium screw fuses with the bone, it provides the stimulation that is needed over time to maintain jawbone mass.
Eat and Feel Great Again
With dentures and bridges, there are limitations to what you can eat, and dentures look unnatural and have a reputation for falling out at inopportune times. By contrast, dental implants give you back your ability to eat anything, and your self-esteem at the same time.
Tips for Comparing Dental Implant Providers
When comparing quotes from various providers, keep in mind that there are several steps in the dental implant process that often involve more than one specialist – each should be figured into the cost.
- x-rays & imaging
- tooth extraction
- bone grafting
- implant surgery
- final restoration (crown)
Does insurance cover dental implants?
Most dental insurance plans do not cover dental implants because insurance companies feel that there are cheaper alternatives available. Helping you understand your benefits and alternative treatments is part of our job – we will be with you every step of the way.
Dental Implants: Estimating your Cost
The cost of dental implants depends heavily on a variety of details about each individual patient’s case. That’s why the best way to get an accurate estimate of what your cost will be is by calling us to schedule a consultation – we look forward to putting a smile back on your face.