What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are titanium screws that are permanently placed into the jaw bones to replace the roots of missing teeth. They can anchor crowns, bridges, or an entire set of replacement teeth. Implants are typically the best long term solution for replacing missing teeth. Properly cared for, implants can last the rest of your life.

Implant: A titanium post that is placed in the jaw bone in place of a natural tooth root.  The implant integrates with the bone cells to form a durable anchor for your new restoration.

Abutment: Screwed into the top of the implant by your restorative dentist to hold the crown in place.

Crown: The tooth-like part that shows above the gumline.  Your restorative dentist customizes the crown to look and function like a natural tooth. Dental implants are virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth.

Benefits of Dental Implants

This procedure is a team effort between you, your dentist and your periodontist. Your periodontist and dentist will consult with you to determine where and how your implant should be placed. Depending on your specific condition and the type of implant chosen, your periodontist will create a treatment plan tailored to meet your needs.

Replacing a Single Tooth: A dental implant provides several advantages over other tooth replacement options. In addition to looking and functioning like a natural tooth, a dental implant replaces a single tooth without sacrificing the health of neighboring teeth.

Replacing Several Teeth: An implant-supported bridge is similar to a regular dental bridge, but it is supported by implants and not by natural teeth.  By not involving the adjacent teeth, they are not compromised, damaged or destroyed. An implant-supported bridge will feel more secure and comfortable than a removable partial denture, which rests on the gums.

Replacing All of Your Teeth: In some cases, the entire arch of teeth may need to be replaced. Historically, many people choose to have dentures made because they felt dentures were more affordable. When you consider the additional cost of fixatives, cleaning solutions and denture replacement, as well as the disadvantages of slippage, discomfort and even pain, dental implants are a far superior solution and well worth any additional cost.

Are you a candidate for dental implants?

Dental implants are a team effort between you, your dentist, and your periodontist.  The ideal candidate for a dental implant is in good general and oral health. The best candidates have healthy gum tissue that is free of periodontal disease. Sometimes preparation, such as treatment of periodontal disease or procedures such as bone enhancement, must be completed prior to being a candidate for dental implants. The periodontist and your restorative dentist will create a treatment plan tailored to meet your specific needs.  A typical implant treatment plan will consist of several appointments over a period of 6 to 12 months. Sometimes teeth must be removed and occasionally implants can be placed at the same time. If implants cannot be placed because there is not enough bone then bone enhancement may be needed. Bone enhancement takes between 3 to 6 months to mature before re-evaluating the areas to determine if you are ready for implant placement. Once the periodontist is satisfied that the implants are healed and ready for restoration, you are referred back to your restorative dentist to make the final crown(s) or denture.

How does it work?

Many people realize the benefit of dental implants. Dental implants have been glorified by advertisements making them sound as simple as taking a pill or buying something at the store. The nice thing is that dental implants can be very predictable and can improve people’s lives, if they are done right. The decisions about your teeth can change your life, and implants can either be a permanent chewing solution or a permanent handicap if not planned properly. So how do you know what you are going to get? Planning, here is how.

Implant Evaluation: Dr. Dow reviews your oral health and bone quality using a 3D X-ray to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants. At this time, we discuss your plan, including your short and long term replacement options.

Planning: The plan is created using the most advanced digital imaging
and computer technology. It can be shared with your restorative dentist and is used to create a surgical guide. This helps to provide precise, safe and minimally invasive implant placement.

Treatment: IV sedation, in addition to local anesthesia, is offered to make your experience comfortable. Sometimes, an implant may be placed at the same time the tooth is removed or in combination with bone or soft tissue enhancement.

Healing: Normal healing time is 3 to 4 months in the lower jaw and 4 to 6 months in the upper jaw. This time allows for the bone to grow and integrate around the implant. Dr. Dow checks the implants stability and tissue following healing.

Restoration: Once cleared, your restorative dentist takes an impression to make you a custom crown or restoration that fits your implant perfectly.

Procedure That Sets Us Apart

There are several unique steps that we follow in our placement of dental implants that set us apart from others performing implant procedures.

  • We offer sedation options which allows you to completely relax. The area is numbed and the tissue is moved out of the way.
  • The exact angle and depth of where the implant will be placed is planned in 3-dimensions digitally and a surgical guide is printed on-site prior to your implant procedure.
  • Implant stability is measured using advanced instruments through out your healing, ensuring that the implant is not loaded before it is ready.
  • Digital x-rays are taken throughout the treatment to ensure your healing.
  • We only place the highest quality of dental implants and materials into your body.
  • Once the implant has integrated, we communicate with your restorative dentist and provide the necessary components and instruments to them to ensure a smooth process.

After Receiving Dental Implants

Dental implants are like your own teeth and require you to keep them clean and plaque free with proper brushing and flossing. Periodic follow-up appointments should be scheduled to monitor your implant, teeth, and gums to make sure they stay healthy. Ask your dentist or Dr. Dow for more information on how to properly maintain your dental implants.