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Smiling patient with dental implants

What are dental implants?

Implants are about as close to a miracle as as anything in modern medicine.  They have been studied more than any procedure in dentistry. They have great long term success because they don't get cavities, they rarely every break and the bone physically grows to the implant creating a very strong and natural looking tooth replacement. Implants can be used in conjunction with partials or dentures to create success and comfort in your dental treatment.

Smiling patient with dental implants

An implant is a synthetic tooth root in the shape of a post that is surgically placed into the jawbone. The “root” is usually made of titanium (the same material used in many replacement hips and knees), a metal that is well-suited to pairing with human bone. A replacement tooth is then attached to the “root”. The tooth can be either permanently attached or removable. Permanent teeth are more stable and feel more like natural teeth. Implants are an amazing advancement in dentistry.

We only use only Nobel Biocare implants in our office because they have been around the longest and Nobel Biocare has done more research than all of the other 300 implant manufactures put together. We believe they are the gold standard.

We never use mini-implants because of the lack of long term research and the concern for early failure.

The implant technique was discovered about 50 years ago. Having been researched more than any other treatment in dentistry they have been found to provide the highest success rate of any procedure done in the dental office. This is because the bone loves the titanium so much it physically grows to it and becomes part of you. You will NEVER get a cavity around an implant restoration and it is very rare for an implant to break. Implants are truly an amazing success story. Dentists and patients both love implant treatment!

The ideal candidate for implants is a non-smoker who has good oral health, including a sufficient amount of bone in the jaw, and healthy gums with no sign of gum disease.

X-ray of an implant in position

Single or Multiple Implants

implantsImplants are versatile. If you are only missing one tooth, one implant plus one replacement tooth will do the trick. If you are missing several teeth in a row, a few strategically placed implants can support a permanent bridge (a set of replacement teeth). Similarly, if you have lost all of your teeth, a full bridge or full denture can be permanently fixed in your mouth with a strategic number of implants.

Advantages Over Dentures or Bridges

Conventional bridges and dentures are not fixed to the bone, and can therefore be unstable. This can make it difficult to eat or smile with confidence. Implants not only look more natural, but feel and act more like normal teeth, with a stronger biting force. And because they don't directly rely on neighboring teeth for support, implants don't compromise the health of your natural teeth. In fact, bridges are only expected to last seven to ten years, even less with root canals, whereas implants will typically last a lifetime.

X-ray of an implant in position

X-ray of an implant in position

Post-Treatment Care

Consider your replacement teeth to be the same as natural teeth. They require the same daily brushing and flossing, and the same amount of regular checkups. Just like your natural teeth, the better you take care of your replacements, the longer they will last.

Implant Services

Implant services include:

  • Bone Grafting: Occasionally, the ideal areas for dental implants do not have sufficient bone quantity to support the implants. In these cases, it is necessary to graft some bone in the area to make enough room for the implant to be placed and allow stability and long term success.  This sometimes can be done at the same time that the implant is placed, or may need to be two separate procedures based on the circumstances.  Grafting is very predictable, and will usually require 4-6 months of healing before the final restoration can be placed.
  • Implant Site Development: When a tooth needs to be removed due to infection, it is not uncommon to have lost bone around the infected tooth. In these cases, various types of bone grafting can be done at the same time the tooth is removed to facilitate the placement of a dental implant at a later date.
  • Computer-Enhanced Treatment Planning: We have special software on our computer that allows us to evaluate your dental CT scan in three dimensions for bone quality, bone quantity, and bone location, enabling the best possible placement of your dental implants. This also allows us to select the ideal implant for your jaw, and place the implant in the ideal position. This is important for constructing the final restoration. Because of the use of the technology to help us see where we are going this technique is called guided surgery.
  • Immediate Placement is a wonderful treatment in which we can take out a bad tooth and place the implant the same day as the extraction.This means the patient can leave the office that day with a temporary tooth in the place of the bad tooth.  This is amazing especially if the bad tooth was a front tooth! No one will know that you have had dental work done that day except you and your dentist.
  • Implant Maintenance: Once your dental implant restoration is completed, it is important to keep the area clean and infection-free. Dental implants can accumulate plaque and tartar just as teeth can. Whether you have just one tooth replaced by an implant or several, a professional cleaning schedule will be necessary to keep your implants healthy. The time interval for these professional cleanings will be determined by your individual needs.

Doctor Joe with CT Scanner