What is implant dentistry?
The American Association of Periodontology (AAP) describes a dental implant as “an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, injury, or some other reason.” Implant dentistry specializes in these dental implants.
Types of implants
Traditional dental implants are placed directly into your jawbone by an oral surgeon. This titanium post eventually fuses with the bone in your jaw to strengthen it and provide stability for the implant. Alternatives to dental implants usually sit on the jawbone instead of the teeth, which can cause teeth to shift even if only one is missing.
Fortunately, implant dentistry can address one or more missing teeth to ensure you achieve a complete, healthy smile.
- Dental implant. For one or more missing teeth, a dental implant is used. It is made up of three parts: a titanium post, a connecting abutment, and a crown. Dr. Staples works with your oral surgeon to ensure the post has successfully fused with your jaw bone, as well as creates the custom-made crown that will be placed once the post has healed. This crown is customized to fit the shape and color of your other teeth, making your dental implant indistinguishable from your natural teeth. This implant does not put any strain on other teeth as a fixed bridge would, and doesn’t need to be replaced when taken care of properly.
- Fixed bridge. If you are missing multiple teeth next to each other, or if a single missing tooth lacks the supporting bone for an implant, a fixed bridge can be used. Dr. Staples uses the existing natural teeth on both sides of your missing tooth (or teeth) to help hold the bridge in place. This type of bridge is permanent and cannot be taken out of your mouth without help from your dentist. You must also be sure to properly clean around your oral appliance to prevent cavities and other health concerns.
- All-on-4®. If you are in need of replacing many missing or damaged teeth, you may be an excellent candidate for All-on-4 treatment. This procedure replaces your teeth with an entire arch of natural-looking artificial ones that are supported on four dental implant posts.
If your mouth isn’t healthy enough or there isn’t enough stable bone to support dental implants, Dr. Staples can perform a bone graft. This treatment promotes the growth of bone in your jaw to ensure a stable, secure dental implant and helps more patients become candidates for dental implant placement.
Benefits of dental implants
Dental implants can restore your smile and your confidence. The days of hiding your smile while you talk, laugh, and eat are in the past. Now, you can move forward with a complete and healthy smile.
Dental implants provide many wonderful benefits, including
- They look and feel like your own teeth and are indistinguishable from natural teeth.
- They improve speech, unlike poorly fitted dentures.
- They eliminate discomfort caused by dentures.
- You can enjoy eating the foods you want without worrying about oral appliances.
- You can regain your confidence and your self-esteem.
- They improve overall oral health by stabilizing your jaw.
- They are easier to clean than alternative oral appliances.
- With proper oral care, a dental implant can last a lifetime.
The dental implant process
During your consultation with Dr. Staples, he will design a customized treatment plan that works for you and your needs. 3D scans and impressions of your teeth will be taken to provide us with a complete view of your condition from all angles. This is an excellent time to ask questions and learn about what you can expect throughout your treatment.
If you need a bone graft, it can take 4 to 12 months before you are ready for an implant. When it is time, an oral surgeon will place the dental implant post in your mouth after making a small incision in the gum line. You will likely be under general anesthesia and sleeping comfortably during this procedure.
The process of getting a dental implant typically takes a few months depending on the health of your jaw and how quickly your body heals. When the post has fused with your jawbone, Dr. Staples will place an abutment which screws into the implant and will support the crown. Another impression will be taken for the replacement tooth, and you may receive a temporary crown to wear while the tissues continue to heal and form.
When your implant has healed, you are ready for your custom-made crown. It can either be screwed or cemented into place, and Dr. Staples will discuss every detail of your treatment with you so that you know exactly what to expect.
You can read more about dental implants on our Dental Implant FAQ page.
Cost of dental implants
The cost of dental implants is determined by many factors, including the number of implants that need to be placed, the type of implant, the choice of anesthesia, and your insurance coverage. The best way to get an accurate price estimate is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Staples so that he can fully evaluate your condition and devise a treatment plan specific to you. Our office works hard to maximize your insurance coverage. For more information, visit our financial information page.
If you have any questions regarding dental implants or are wondering how they can benefit your smile and oral health, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.
Dental implant FAQ
What can I do if I have several missing teeth?
Dental implants can replace one or more missing teeth. If you have many teeth missing or failing, you may be a candidate for All-on-4 treatment, which replaces an entire arch of teeth with artificial ones that are supported on as few as four dental implant posts.
Does it hurt to get a dental implant?
Your safety and comfort are our top priorities at all times, and Dr. Staples works very closely with you and your oral surgeon to ensure you are well-informed and at ease throughout your treatment.
How much does a dental implant cost?
The cost of a dental implant depends on a number of things, such as the number of implants to be placed, the details of your insurance coverage, and if any additional procedures are needed, such as an extraction or bone graft. The best way to get an accurate price estimation is to contact our office and schedule a consultation.
Why should I choose a restorative dentist?
Restorative dentists, such as Dr. Staples, have the proper education and training in sophisticated dental devices such as dental implants. An oral surgeon will perform the initial procedure to place the dental implant, and then you will visit your restorative dentist to ensure the tooth looks natural and functions properly. Eventually, you will get your crown placed once you have completed healing.
How do I care for a dental implant?
Dental implants are true tooth replacements, which means they replace a tooth from the root to the crown. They can last a lifetime with proper oral hygiene and are treated just like other teeth—with regular brushing and flossing.
How long will it take?
Implant treatment varies because every patient is different. If you have a tooth extracted, the implant post can sometimes be placed the same day as the extraction, which lessens the number of appointments you will need. In other cases, it can take several months for the implant post to successfully fuse to the jawbone before the final crown can be placed. Dr. Staples will discuss your treatment plan in depth with you, so you will have an accurate timeline of what to expect and how long it will take.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
Bone grafting makes it possible for many people to be candidates for dental implants. If you do not have enough healthy bone in your jaw, a graft can be done to promote bone growth. If you are healthy enough to undergo general anesthesia, chances are you are healthy enough to receive a dental implant.