Replace Single or Multiple Teeth

older woman smiling

Did you know that over 120 million Americans have lost a tooth?

This is typically a result of dental decay, gum disease, or injury. Loss of a tooth can impair your ability to chew and to be confident in your smile.

In the past, people were limited to treatment options such as partial dentures or bridges. Today dental implants are the preferred choice of treatment to replace missing teeth.

What are dental implants?

A dental implant is a permanent replacement for a missing tooth. Dental implants have three parts:

Implant: An implant is a titanium post or screw that is placed into the jaw bone. Bone will grow onto the surface of the implant to hold it firmly in place. Once stable, the implant can then be used as an anchor to attach a crown.

Abutment: An abutment is a connector that attaches the dental implant to the crown

Crown: A crown is an artificial tooth made to match your natural teeth. It is typically made of porcelain or zirconia.

Dental Implants

What are the benefits of dental implants?

A Permanent Solution

  • Unlike dentures that are taken out every night, dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth. You don’t have to worry about your teeth becoming loose or falling out.

Provides Comfort

  • Dental implants look, feel, and function like natural teeth. You can feel confident talking, smiling, eating, and interacting with other people.
  • Allows more food options
  • Dental implants perform just like real teeth, allowing you to go back to enjoying the foods that you use to eat.

Avoids damage to other teeth

  • Previous methods of replacing missing teeth would result in damage to the neighboring teeth. With a conventional bridge, the adjacent teeth on either side of a missing tooth are ground down to support the bridge. Removable dentures connect to the remaining teeth resulting in eventual overload and additional tooth loss. Implants are supported by bone, like a natural tooth, with no effect on the neighboring teeth.

Maintains jaw structure

  • When teeth are lost and not replaced, the bone that was supporting the teeth begins to naturally break down. This is called atrophy. This bone loss can affect the support for the neighboring teeth or make it more difficult to hold in dentures.
  • Over time atrophy of the jaws reduces support for the cheeks and lips resulting in an older appearance.
  • Implants transmit chewing forces directly to the jawbone. This helps stimulate bone growth and avoids atrophy.

What are the steps in treatment?

Diagnosis and decision making

Your dentist and surgeon will work together as a team to come up with the best solution to replace your missing teeth. At your consultation you should expect to discuss your medical history, any medications you take, and undergo a brief health review. Your surgeon will perform a physical exam.

It is essential that the implant be placed in the correct position and with the right angulation. We use the latest in 3D imaging technology to ensure accuracy. 3D imaging allows your surgeon to assess your available bone and therefore precisely plan the position of your implant.

Surgery

Each surgery takes place in a private surgical suite at one of our four locations. This comfortable, personalized setting allows for safe and efficient treatment. All surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize your comfort. In most cases procedures are performed under local anesthesia, nitrous oxide, or intravenous sedation. Please see our anesthesia options.

Healing phase

Dental implants are usually not ready to be immediately used. Time is necessary to allow for your bone to grow tightly around the implant, locking it firmly in place. This process often takes several months. Your surgeon will periodically check the progress of your healing. An x-ray will be used to verify that your bone has healed around the implant.

In some cases, you may need an additional surgery to place an abutment. This minor procedure allows the implant to be tested to ensure that it is firmly in place. You will then return to your dentist for a crown.

Restoration

Your dentist will fabricate a crown to match the look, feel, and function of a natural tooth. This crown will be attached to the implant with an abutment. The dental implant can then be used just like your previous tooth.

Maintenance

It’s important to take care of your dental implant. Dental implants should be brushed and flossed twice daily, just like a natural tooth. We recommend that you see your dentist every 3-6 months for an examination and professional cleaning.

What if I don’t have enough bone or tissue to support an implant?

Your surgeon will carefully assess whether you have enough bone to support a dental implant. Tooth loss leads to bone loss. When a tooth is removed, the surrounding bone begins to naturally break down. The longer you wait to replace a missing tooth, the more bone is lost. Certain diseases can also lead to bone loss.

Our surgeons can use various techniques to rebuild and strengthen the bone where it was once lost. We use the latest in regenerative medicine to rebuild the tissue and bone necessary to support a dental implant.

dentist and patient in exam room

How long do implants last?

If properly maintained, a dental implant is designed to last a lifetime! Studies have shown a high implant survival rate over time. Like any other medical device, dental implants can fail if not properly maintained.

It is important to:

Clean your teeth regularly. Dental implants need to be cleaned just like your natural teeth. Brush and floss twice daily.

See your dentist frequently. We recommend that you see your dentist every 3-6 months for a professional cleaning and examination. This allows your dentist to ensure that your implant is functioning properly.

Avoid harmful habits. It is important to take care of your implants. Don’t chew hard items such as ice, nuts, or hard candy which can damage the implant crown. Grinding or clenching your teeth can also result in damage.

Avoid tobacco. Patients that use tobacco are more likely to experience implant loss, infection, and bone loss around implants.

man brushing his teeth