What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are the ideal solution for missing teeth. Whether you need to replace one tooth or a full arch of missing teeth, dental implants will function and feel like your natural teeth. Our team restores teeth after the surgical placement of the implant has been completed by a periodontist or oral surgeon. We collaborate and plan implant cases with top periodontists and oral surgeons. Using 3D technologies, your implant team will ensure that the implant is in the optimal location for esthetic restoration and long term durability.
Missing teeth, even just one tooth, can have a negative impact on your oral and overall health. When a tooth is missing, the bone, that once supported the tooth, begins to deteriorate. Also, teeth from the opposing arch may begin to erupt into the space once occupied by the missing teeth. And, teeth in the same arch can begin to move causing problems when biting, and even headaches.
While other treatments for missing teeth, like fixed bridges and full or partial dentures, may be alternatives, implants typically provide the best success rate and long-term prognosis at a similar cost.
Implants are an ideal treatment for one or multiple missing teeth. They have the best long-term prognosis, and they look and feel like your natural teeth
What Can Patients Expect?
Though dental implants involve a surgical procedure in which the implant is placed into the bone, over the last decade, the surgeries have become quicker and cause even less trauma and bone. This means, patients can have an implant placed with minimal discomfort. A single implant can be placed during a 30 – 45 minute procedure in the morning and patients can be back at work immediately following their appointment. When multiple teeth are involved the placement is sometimes more complex, but is still relatively straight forward.
Once an implant is placed into bone, it is capped with a device called a healing abutment. In some cases, our dentists and your implant surgeon may agree that a temporary restoration can be placed on top of the implant immediately after placement. However, the temporary is usually trimmed a bit shorter than the rest of the dentition, so that it does not receive any of the biting forces when you chew. Also, prior to placing the healing abutment on the implant, the surgeon will take either a digital or conventional impression. This will enable the lab to make a final restoration.
The implant is usually left to heal about three to four months before we will place the final restoration. During this time, the bone fuses to the implant and provides a secure base for the tooth.
Restoring the implant is similar to the procedures for a crown. The impression that was taken after surgery is used to create the final restoration. Typically the restoration is made of zirconia, a strong porcelain material. The zirconia restoration screws into an abutment, which acts the support structure above the bone, holding the tooth to the implant (beneath the bone). Once in place, the implant function and looks like your natural tooth. It is virtually indistinguishable from any other tooth in your mouth.
A dental implant by itself is not a tooth! A dental implant is a prosthesis used to replace missing teeth. Essentially, it is a small titanium post/fixture that is inserted into the jawbone, on top of which a single crown (cap), a fixed bridge, a partial denture, or full denture can be attached. Once the implant integrates to your bone, a structure called an abutment is connected to the implant and then the artificial tooth/teeth are attached. Therefore, there are 3 parts to an “implant tooth”: the dental implant itself, the abutment, and the artificial tooth.
Almost anyone who is missing a single tooth, multiple teeth, or all teeth are candidates for dental implants. Talk to your dentist for your specific needs.
It varies from individual to individual and with health and habits. For a healthy individual with good oral hygiene and good health, dental implants are predictably successful with reported success rates above 95 percent.
Dental implants are surgically placed by your qualified implant dentist or oral surgeon. Dr. Pelts and her team provide full service dental implant care, from implantation to restoration. First, we’ll put together a treatment plan for completing your smile. Local anesthesia numbs the jaw for your comfort during the procedure. Using surgical guides for extreme precision, we place the predetermined number of dental implants beneath the gums. The treatment site is then closed with sutures and the jaw is allowed to heal.
In all, the procedure for dental implants may take from four to eight months. If preparatory bone grafting treatments are necessary to increase the volume of the jawbone before implantation, the entire procedure will take longer. Dr. Pelts will talk you through your plan and let you know how long you can expect the treatment to last.
One of the biggest advantages of implants versus dentures is that they feel more like real teeth. Studies have shown that people who have implants have a much easier time eating than those with dentures. The other advantage to implants is that because they are secured to the bone, it actually helps to keep the bone healthy. Denture-wearers will experience bone erosion over time, which can age the face. Implants preserve bone and can help better maintain your facial features.
The great thing about dental implants is that they can look and function much like real teeth. They need the same type of maintenance as your original set. This means flossing and brushing and getting regular cleanings and checkups.