Project Description

Dental Implants

implants

What are the benefits of dental implants over other treatments?

Why are dental implants often the first choice and a standard of care compared to other options to restore missing or damaged teeth?

Strong and stable, a dental implant restores a lost tooth so that it looks, feels, fits and functions like a natural tooth. Other options can lead to bone deterioration, and may interfere with eating, smiling, speaking and other activities of everyday life.

Traditional, tooth-supported dental bridges only last five to seven years, and with proper care often more than 10 years, but at some point they may need to be replaced. While dental implants may need periodic adjustments, they can last a lifetime when properly placed and cared for over time.

No need to stay home or feel uncomfortable in public, embarrassed because your smile looks different, or worrying that missing teeth will limit your ability to join in the fun or that removable dentures or tooth-supported replacement teeth will loosen or fall out when you talk, eat or laugh. Teeth restored with dental implants are teeth that let you, not your teeth, lead your life.

A face without teeth can sag and appear sunken and sad. Dental implants allow you to maintain the natural shape of your face and smile.

Leaving empty spaces in your mouth after losing one or more teeth can lead to additional health issues, such as the loss and deterioration of some of your jawbone. When it is not being used to support a natural tooth, the jawbone deteriorates, losing its strength and firmness. Dental implants are the only dental restoration option that preserves and stimulates natural bone, actually helping to stimulate bone growth and prevent bone loss.

Dental implants allow you to keep your teeth where they belong – in your mouth. And no more worrying that your dentures might slip or fall out. Brush, floss and care for teeth that have been replaced using dental implants exactly the way you would natural teeth – in your mouth.

Adjusting to removable dentures can mean struggling to pronounce everyday words. Not so with dental implants, which function like natural teeth.

Taste and enjoy the foods you love without hesitation. You can bite naturally, eat virtually anything you want and, unlike removable dentures that can feel uncomfortable, you can experience the full taste of the food you eat with dental implants, too.

Cavities can’t occur in an implant-restored crown, or replacement tooth; however, you will need to visit your dentist as scheduled and clean and care for it and your gums and mouth every day, the same as you would if it were a natural tooth.

Dentures may slip when you eat, talk, smile, laugh, kiss, yawn or cough, so that you have to “reposition” them back into place in the mouth. Dental implants are fixed in place and fuse naturally with your jawbone, meaning your replacement teeth won’t move, click or shift.

Placing a tooth-supported bridge requires grinding away the teeth on one or both sides of the missing tooth or teeth – thereby damaging healthy teeth to restore those that are missing. The modified healthy teeth are attached to, and support, the bridge. Dental implants go in the jawbone, in the spot where your missing tooth root was, without impacting healthy teeth. They also help prevent healthy, adjacent teeth from shifting as they would if an empty space were left for an extended period of time.

Dental implant treatment has a track record of reliable, long-term successful outcomes and is often considered “more predictable” than other treatments to repair or replace missing teeth, including bridgework, removable appliances and retreatment of failing root canal (endodontic) therapy.

dental-implantsThere is no better, long-lasting option to restoring a missing tooth than a dental implant fitted with a crown. Traditional replacement of a single tooth using a dental implant is often completed over multiple visits:

  • Consultation and planning, including initial exam, imaging of your teeth, questions about your dental and medical history, and discussion of your treatment options.
  • Placement of the dental implant, a substitute for the missing natural tooth root, either with or without a built-in abutment (a connector placed on, or built into, the top of the implant) that will attach to the replacement tooth. A temporary tooth can be placed while the dental implant integrates with your natural bone to form a strong foundation for your replacement tooth. Most people return to work the next day.
  • Placement of the abutment, if one wasn’t placed during the prior visit.
  • Placement of a custom-made crown, or replacement tooth.

multiple-toothReplacing multiple teeth using dental implants with individual crowns or with an implant-supported fixed bridge gives your teeth a level of fit, feel and functionality that is not possible with other treatment options. The process is often completed over multiple visits:

  • Consultation and planning, including initial exam, imaging of your teeth, questions about your dental and medical history, and discussion of your treatment options.
  • Placement of the dental implants that will be used to support your replacement teeth. Temporary teeth can be placed while the dental implant integrates with your natural bone to form a strong foundation for your replacement teeth. Most people return to work the next day, and any discomfort can typically be treated with commonly used pain medication.
  • Placement of the abutments, or a small extension that will help connect your replacement teeth, on top of each implant, if needed.
  • Placement of a fixed, implant-supported bridge, or custom-made replacement teeth (crowns).

all-teethTraditional replacement of a complete set of upper or lower teeth (arch) using a dental implant is completed over multiple visits:

  • Consultation and planning, including initial exam, imaging of your teeth, questions about  your dental and medical history, and discussion of your treatment options.
  • Placement of the dental implants that will be used to support your replacement teeth. Temporary teeth may be placed while the dental implant integrates with your natural bone to form a strong foundation for your replacement tooth. Most people return to work the next day, and any discomfort can typically be treated with commonly used pain medication.
  • Placement of the abutments, or connectors placed on, or built into, the top of the implant to help connect your replacement teeth, if needed. Additional connecting devices needed to attach multiple replacement teeth to the implants also may be placed at this time.
  • Placement of custom-made individual replacement teeth or, most often, an implant-supported fixed bridge or implant-supported over denture.

Some people do not have enough healthy natural bone to support dental implants.  Natural bone insufficiency can be caused by:

  • Gum disease
  • Tooth development defects
  • Wearing dentures long term
  • An injury to the face or trauma
  • Spaces left empty in the mouth after teeth are removed
  • Dental procedures where efforts were not made to restore natural bone

Several techniques are used to rebuild bone, restore your natural jaw line and smile, and provide a strong and sturdy foundation for implant-supported teeth.  Most patients proceed with everyday life and work often by the next day and continue throughout the months in between dentist appointments. Below is an overview of some of the more common techniques to augment bone.

Bone Grafts. Bone grafting is a safe and highly successful procedure that involves the “building up” or adding bone to the jaw by using your own natural bone from another location and/or by using donor, processed or synthetic bone materials. Often the new bone can be obtained from inside the mouth.  Ask your dental implant dentist about the advantages of different bone grafting methods and materials so that, together, you can make an informed decision.

Bone grafts are often performed in the implant dentist’s office using local anesthesia to numb the areas that will be involved, sometimes along with intravenous sedation to remove anxiety. After the procedure, you will usually be given antibiotics, pain medication if needed, and an antibacterial mouthwash, and instructed to avoid eating certain foods and putting pressure on the bone graft. You will return home in between dentist appointments while the bone graft heals and should be able to work and go about your everyday life. Your implants will be placed after the grafted bone has fused or become a strong, integrated part of the existing bone. The amount of time the integration takes varies depending on the location of the graft and the density of the bone. It may take three or more months.

Sinus Lift (Sinus Augmentation or Sinus Elevation).Missing upper back teeth are among the most difficult to restore.  When the back teeth in the upper jaw are missing the sinus cavity becomes larger as the natural bone deteriorates over time. A sinus lift, also called sinus augmentation or sinus elevation, is a bone-augmentation procedure for patients who have insufficient natural bone in this area for dental implant placement. The procedure involves adding bone below the sinus so that one or more implants can be placed. The procedure does not affect speech, intonation or cause sinus problems.

After the bone has been given time to develop, usually for approximately four to 12 months, dental implants can be placed. Sinus augmentation, which many patients say causes only minimal discomfort, is designed to help ensure that your implants are long-lasting, with ample, strong and sturdy bone that will allow your new teeth to fit and function like healthy, natural teeth.

Ridge Expansion (Ridge Modification). If the jaw isn’t wide enough to support dental implants, bone graft material can be added to a small ridge, or space, that is created along the top of the jaw. In some situations implants can be placed right after a ridge expansion. Other situations require approximately four to 12 months to ensure that the ridge has fully healed first.  Like all bone grafting techniques, ridge expansion helps ensure a strong foundation and long lifespan for your new teeth. It also can be used to correct an unattractive and difficult-to-clean indentation that can occur in the jawline near missing teeth.

How much to dental implants cost?

No two patients or their customized dental implant treatments are exactly alike, so the number of appointments, procedures and cost varies accordingly. After an initial examination and assessment, your dental implant expert should provide you with a treatment plan including the estimated number of appointments and cost, and then notify you if there are any changes during the process.

A dental-implant restored tooth, the next best thing to healthy, natural teeth, usually lasts longer but costs no more than other treatments to restore a tooth.

For example, dental implants are usually less expensive than a bridge over the long term because a bridge over natural teeth typically has to be replaced more often.  Other options such as traditional bridges and dentures, also can fall short of dental implants in overall patient satisfaction.

Recognizing the long-term patient benefits over other treatment options, an increasing number of insurance companies have started providing some coverage. If yours doesn’t, ask if they will give you an allowance towards implants equal to the cost of a bridge or traditional dentures. Also ask your implant dentist about financing and payment options.

Because your teeth affect everything from your smile and confidence, to your ability to eat, speak and participate in the activities you enjoy, and because there is no better option to restore missing teeth, dental implants are an investment well worth considering.

Are Dental Implants Safe?

Proven safe and effective at replacing missing teeth, contemporary dental implants have been in use for more than 30 years.

Dental implants are typically made of titanium, a biocompatible material that is accepted by the body and serves as a strong and sturdy foundation for replacement teeth. Your natural bone locks the implant into place by fusing, or attaching itself, to the implant. This process, known as osseointegration, gives teeth replaced using implants the stability and strength to support replacement teeth, withstand daily use, and function like regular teeth.

Dental implant surgery is one of the safest and most predictable procedures in dentistry when performed by a trained and experienced dental implant dentist. A dental implant is the strongest device available to support replacement teeth, and it allows your replacement teeth to feel, look and work naturally. In addition, dental implants are the only restoration method that stimulates your natural bone underneath the missing tooth.

Are Dental Implants Right For Me?

If you’re missing one or more teeth, probably so! Nearly anyone in good health whose jaw has finished growing is a candidate, whether they were simply born without a tooth or lost one or more teeth due to injury, decay, gum (periodontal) disease, infection or another reason. Dental implants also are a great option for patients who don’t want the drawbacks of, or can no longer wear, removable dentures.

The best way to determine if you are a candidate is to see a dental implant expert. Be sure to mention if you are a smoker, any medical conditions you have, and any over-the-counter and prescription medications you take.

Dental Implant Self Test

  • Do you have one or more missing teeth?
  • Do you have a bridge that needs to be replaced?
  • Do your dentures affect your quality of life by slipping, clicking or keeping you from eating what you want?
  • Do you have bite problems or pain because of a missing tooth?
  • Do you want a treatment option for missing teeth that provides a more permanent, long-term solution?

If you answer “yes” to one or more of these questions, dental implants might be an option for you. 

How Do I Care For My Dental Implants?

Caring for teeth restored with dental implants is just like caring for your natural teeth: brush, floss and maintain regular dental cleanings and check-ups, as scheduled. Additional cleaning aids also may be recommended to help you keep your teeth healthy at home.

As is the case with natural teeth, you and your dentist must work as a team to ensure the longevity of your dental implant.  While replacement teeth can’t get cavities, they are subject to the same wear-and-tear as natural teeth. Well-placed and cared for dental implants have the potential to last a lifetime.

  • It has been estimated that 69 percent of Americans age 35 to 44 have at least one missing tooth, and one in four over the age of 74 have lost ALL their natural teeth.
  • Many options exist to replace missing teeth but only one – dental implants – provides the  feel, function and appearance of natural teeth.
  • Ancient dental implants have been traced back to around 600 AD, when tooth-like pieces of shell were hammered into the jaw of a Mayan woman. Thank goodness for contemporary dentistry!
  • Contemporary dental implants, which have been in use for many decades, have been proven safe and effective.
  • Usually made of titanium, a dental implant replaces the root of the missing tooth root and provides a strong and sturdy foundation for one or more replacement teeth or crowns.
  • Teeth restored with dental implants can’t get cavities! An replacement tooth, or crown, doesn’t decay like a natural tooth, but you still must brush, floss and care for it and your surrounding natural teeth and gums in the same manner as natural teeth. Regular professional cleanings and dental check-ups also are essential.
  • Dental implants are the only dental restoration option that preserves and stimulates natural bone, actually helping to stimulate bone growth and prevent bone loss.
  • It is important to do your homework and seek a well-qualified, experienced dental implant dentist and treatment option that will meet your long-term functional and cosmetic needs.
In the past, dentures were seen as the only solution for missing or failing teeth. Today, however, technology and advances in implant dentistry are bringing people a more comfortable, more modern option for tooth replacement: dental implants. What makes dental implants the preferred choice?

Let’s take a look at how they compare:

implant-table

1. Fixed dental implant-supported overdenture

dentures-1a

Dental Implant Placement

If all your upper or lower teeth are missing, a custom-made denture may be secured using dental implants. The number of implants will vary for each patient.

dentures-1b

Make Custom Overdenture

You will be fitted for a custom overdenture that attaches directly to the implants. The holes in the overdenture will be covered after attachment.

dentures-1c

Overdenture Attached

Your new teeth are firmly supported by the implants to stimulate the jaw and maintain bone.* Your dentist can remove the denture when needed for maintenance and cleaning.

2. Removable Dental Implant-Supported Overdenture

dentures-2a

Dental Implant Placement

If all your upper or lower teeth are missing, multiple dental implants may be used to support a denture that can be removed by the patient for cleaning.

dentures-2b

Custom Overdenture Created

You will be fitted for a custom-made bar that attaches to the dental implants to support a new overdenture. Your existing denture may be modified to be worn during this period.

dentures-2c

Attach Custom Overdenture

The new overdenture will have attachments which snap or clip it into place. Your new teeth are firmly supported by the implants to stimulate the jaw and maintain bone.* You will be able to remove the denture easily for cleaning.

3. Dental Implant-Stabilized Overdenture

dentures-3a

Dental Implant Placement

If all your lower teeth are missing, another option may be to stabilize your removable denture using a small number of implants. This can sometimes be a cost-effective solution.

dentures-3b

Overdenture Fitting

After healing, abutment posts are attached to the implants. Your current denture can sometimes be modified, or a new denture can be created.

dentures-3c

Over denture Attached

The modified denture is snapped into place, where it is retained by the dental implants and supported by the soft tissue. You simply snap the denture out each night for cleaning.

dentures-middle