If you’re missing one or more teeth, dental implants may be right for you. Implants can restore the look and function of your smile and bite, enhancing your overall oral health. Made of durable materials, dental implants can last a lifetime, and seamlessly blend in with the rest of your natural teeth so you can smile with confidence.
Unlike your natural teeth, dental implants aren’t affected by tooth decay.
First, your dentist will meet with you to find out if dental implants are right for your oral health needs. They’ll perform a thorough exam of your mouth, including going over your x-rays and ensuring your jaw bone is healthy enough to support implants. Together, you and your dentist will decide if dental implants will provide the restoration your smile needs, or if your grin would be better suited to alternative restorative options.
Once your treatment has been approved, your dentist will schedule your oral surgery appointment and provide a detailed treatment plan. During the procedure, your dentist will make a small opening in your gums and place a small, screw-shaped titanium implant into your jaw. Your dentist will then clean and disinfect the area and suture it closed to begin the healing process.
Once your implants have been placed, your gums will begin to heal right away. Most patients heal completely from the initial surgery in less than 2 weeks. However, the implant itself must be given time to permanently bond with the jaw bone through a process“osseointegration,” which can take anywhere between 3-6 months to complete.
While your implant is bonding with your jaw, you’ll visit our office for a few follow-up appointments to ensure the healing process is going properly. Your dentist will examine your mouth and take impressions of your bite. These impressions will be sent to our trusted dental lab, where they will craft the custom crown, bridge, or arch of teeth that will eventually be fitted to your dental implant.
Once the lab has sent over your completed prosthetic, and your implant has completely bonded with your natural bone, you’ll visit us again for your final appointment. During this visit, your dentist will complete the procedure by attaching the restoration to your dental implant, and permanently securing it with dental cement or another adhesive.
One of the major advantages to dental implants is that they don’t require specialized care. Just practice good oral hygiene by brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily, and visit your dentist every six months for regular cleanings and oral exams. Keeping up good oral health habits can help your dental implant last a lifetime.
Single tooth implants are the most-commonly used dental implant, and consist of two primary parts. The dental implant, or post, is a rod made of titanium and shaped like a screw. A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is attached to the implant post, and is used to complete the restoration.
To place a single tooth implant, the post is embedded directly into the jaw, where it bonds permanently with the surrounding bone tissue. While the gum is healing, a dental crown is crafted, and is eventually attached to the implant post with an “abutment.” This dental crown will mirror the shape, function, and appearance of a natural tooth to give your smile a natural look and feel. Made from durable materials, single tooth implants can last for decades, and, unlike a partial denture, will never shift, or move around.
Full-arch implants are a secure, durable alternative to traditional dentures for those patients who are missing all, or most, of their teeth. By placing a series of 4-6 dental implants per arch, you can enjoy the look and function of a new smile that can stand the test of time.
These dental implants function like artificial roots that allow fixed dental bridges or a set of removable implant-supported overdentures to permanently bond to the jaw and gum line to restore your smile. Full-arch implants look and feel much more natural than traditional dentures, and will never shift or move when you eat or speak.
A scaled-down version of regular dental implants, mini implants are about half the size of their traditional counterparts. They can be used to restore a single tooth or several, but mini implants are most often used to anchor a set of implant-supported dentures in the lower jaw.
Their smaller size makes the placement process for mini implants less invasive than traditional implants. Another advantage of their small size is that mini implants can often still be placed in your jaw even if it has been weakened by bone resorption after tooth loss.
For patients looking to permanently replace a full set of missing teeth, implant-retained dentures are among the most secure solutions available. After placing 4 or more implants in your jaw, the complete set of dentures is affixed to the anchors. Implant-retained dentures cannot be removed at home for daily cleaning, but that means patients with implant-retained dentures can brush and clean their smile like they would a set of natural teeth.
Patients who have lost all or most of their teeth can restore their smile with All-On-4 dental implants. By using just 4 implants, your entire upper or lower set of teeth can be restored in a single visit. All-On-4 is a much more permanent and natural-looking alternative to dentures, and is more cost-effective than replacing each tooth individually.
Dental implants have the potential to last a lifetime.
Dental implants are composed of two unique parts: one screw-shaped titanium “post”, and the restorative component, which is usually a dental crown and abutment. A wide selection of pre-selected post sizes are available to ensure each patient gets an implant that suits their needs. The restoration, on the other hand, is a custom-made appliance. Once your dentist secures your dental implant, they will administer impressions of your teeth and send them to a dental lab.
The lab will create a long-lasting, resilient dental implant restoration. Most are crafted out of porcelain or another high-quality, durable material. Once the restoration is complete, the lab will send it back to our office, and your dentist will complete the procedure by securely attaching your dental implant in place.
Placed properly, and maintained with good oral hygiene habits, dental implants can last for decades. It’s very common for patients to keep their implants for the rest of their lives.
The restoration, on the other hand, may not last as long. Although restorations like dental crowns, bridges, or overdentures are made from durable materials, they are still exposed to regular wear from chewing and biting. Over time, restorations will likely need to be replaced to keep your smile healthy and functional.
Although it’s a rare complication, dental implants can become infected. Known as “peri-implantitis,” a dental implant infection is generally the result of the implant not being kept clean or cared for properly after surgery.
To avoid peri-implantitis and maintain your oral health, carefully follow your dentist’s instructions during recovery, and be sure to brush and floss regularly once your implant is healed.
Yes. Bone resorption, or bone loss, occurs when your jaw is no longer stimulated by the natural pressure that comes from chewing and biting. Losing a tooth stops this regular stimulation, causing the jaw bone to weaken over time.
Dental implants bond directly with the jaw bone, acting as artificial roots that transmit the force of chewing and biting into your jaw bone, providing stimulation and pressure to keep you from losing bone density.
There are indeed several types of dental implants that can be completed in a single visit. The restoration will be a temporary appliance to keep your bite functional until you have finished healing from your dental implant placement surgery. With this temporary restoration, you’ll be able to speak and eat normally throughout the healing process.
Throughout the healing process, which usually lasts between 3-6 months, your dentist will schedule a series of follow-up visits, to monitor your progress and to take impressions of your teeth. These impressions will be sent to our dental lab, where they will be used to create your own custom-made restoration, which will be a more permanent, durable, and natural-looking prosthetic than your temporaries.
The initial healing process takes about 2-3 weeks. During this time, you will need to take some precautions to keep your implants from getting infected, and to ensure that they heal properly. Dr. Zeller will give you a full set of recovery instructions. Make sure to follow these closely to minimize your risk of complications, and speed up your recovery time.
However, the initial healing process is only the first step in recovering and getting your dental implants. Once your surgical site has healed, the next step, known as “osseointegration” will begin. This is the process by which the metal implant heals and bonds to the jaw bone, locking it in place permanently. Osseointegration is the reason that dental implants are the best choice for restoring missing teeth.
Titanium is used for dental implants because it has the unique ability to permanently bond with bone tissue. However, this process is quite slow. It will usually take between 3-6 months for the implant to fully bond with your jaw. Once your implant has fully osseointegrated, it will function just like a real tooth root would. It will never move, so your new tooth will feel totally natural.
If you have single-tooth implants, you can care for them just like real teeth. Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to clean your implants, and help prevent cavities in your natural teeth. You should also floss once a day to clean between your teeth and implants, and remove debris that can’t be eliminated with brushing alone. That’s pretty much it!
For things like implant-supported bridges and full-arch implants, you’ll need to do some other special things, like cleaning underneath your dental prosthesis with an interdental brush. Dr. Zeller will give you more details about how to care for your new teeth. It may take a little while to get adjusted, but you’ll get used to your new oral care routine pretty quickly.
And regardless of which type of implants you get, you’ll also need to come into Five Pines Dental every six months for a checkup. Six-month visits to the dentist help Dr. Zeller keep an eye on your oral health, and check for potential complications with your implants. With proper at-home oral hygiene and regular implant maintenance appointments, you’ll be able to keep your new dental implants for a lifetime.
The answer is almost always “no.” Despite being used for decades, most insurance companies claim that dental implants are an “experimental” or “cosmetic” procedure, so they exclude coverage for dental implants from their plans. Dental insurance may cover things like extractions and partial dentures or dental crowns, but it’s very rare for insurance to cover dental implants.
Unfortunately, this means that most patients must pay out of pocket if they want a permanent solution for missing teeth. However, we do our best to keep costs reasonable at Five Pines Dental. And we also offer financing through CareCredit. With our financing options, you can split up the cost of your treatment into affordable, monthly payments.
Dental implants are made of titanium, one of the most durable, and lightest metals.