What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are the preferred options for replacing missing teeth for many patients. They can provide natural appearance and function for a single missing tooth or for a full set of dentures. Our surgical team is skilled at the most current dental implant technology and proudly offers complete dental implant services to our patients.
Dental implants are artificial tooth replacements that were first developed half a century ago by a Swedish scientist named Per-Ingvar Branemark. Implants arose from the patient’s need to secure loose-fitting dentures. Since the advent of the implant, engineering and enhancements to the implant have enabled dentists to expand the implant’s usefulness, including the replacement of missing or lost teeth. Today, implant techniques provide a wide range of tooth replacement solutions including single tooth, anterior, posterior and full upper replacement.
Periodontal Medicine Surgical Specialists is able to offer tooth replacement that is more immediate, predictable and effective thanks to advances in implant surfaces and component interfaces. Dental implant surgery takes advantage of scientific innovations in tissue engineering and guided wound healing so that therapies are less invasive and therefore gentler.
Periodontal Medicine Surgical Specialists pioneered the use of CT scans for diagnosis and treatment, and continue to use the most advanced CBCT imaging technology available today to set new standards for quality of care. Our leading-edge technology enables the collaborative process between the restorative doctor, implant surgeon, laboratory technologist and you, which results in improved outcomes. Periodontal Medicine Surgical Specialists has been recognized worldwide for its expertise in implantology. The practice has helped set the educational and professional standards for the use of CT scans for diagnostic purposes, surgical treatment planning, computer-guided implant placement and determination of prosthetic outcomes.
Additionally, Periodontal Medicine Surgical Specialists is a Teeth Today Dental Implant Center and uses revolutionary dental implant techniques to immediately and predictably replace failing or missing teeth in just one day.
The Benefits of Dental Implants
Of course implants aren’t the only solution for missing teeth. But for many patients, they are the best solution. More and more patients are choosing this option every year. Here are a few of the benefits of dental implants:
- Strong and aesthetic replacements for missing teeth
- Long term solutions for missing teeth
- Fill a single tooth gap without damaging adjacent healthy teeth
- Secure and low maintenance anchors for dentures
- Conserve and regenerate bone tissue in the jaw
- Maintain alignment of remaining teeth
Dental Implant Treatment Process
There are several approaches that may be used in implant placement, depending on the patient’s particular needs. Generally, implant treatment consists of several phases:
- Diagnostics including a clinical exam and CBCT imaging
- Placement of the implant itself (unless bone augmentation is required first)
- Insertion of a post or other fixture that emerges through the gum once the implant has healed (abutment)
- Seating the final crown or prosthesis on the abutment
See an example of a typical treatment sequence for a common restoration, with the below link.
Guided Dental Implants
One of the factors that most frequently obstructs the use of dental implants or causes them to fail is insufficient bone tissue. This can be a problem for patients whose bone structure is compromised due to extended periods with missing teeth, periodontal disease, or larger than average sinuses.
Guided implants use molds of the patient’s mouth and CT scans to map out exactly what the dentist has to work with – the shape of the available bone and the location of nerves and adjacent teeth. A lab analyzes this data and plans optimal placement for the implants. The lab then creates a guide that the dentist uses to precisely drill passages for the implants. Drs. Mandelaris and DeGroot prefer to use guided implants because they allow our office to accommodate patients who may not otherwise be candidates for implants. Indeed, this procedure provides better imaging of all patients’ mouths than 2-D X-rays can give, which maximizes the strength of all implants.
Considering the Cost of Dental Implants
Dental implants have been available for several decades. However, for most patients, they are still a relatively new concept. When considering the cost of dental implants and comparing quotes, there are several important points that should be kept in mind.
When comparing the cost of dental implants to other tooth replacement methods such as dentures and bridges, it is important to take into consideration the longevity offered by dental implants that is not always afforded by other, more traditional methods.
While dentures and bridges are initially less expensive, their affordability can be short-lived. Because these older methods require repair and replacement every 5-10 years, they are often more expensive over time. By contrast, dental implants, when properly placed and cared for, can last a lifetime.
Jaw Bone Health
Over time, when a tooth is missing, the jaw bone deteriorates. So while a denture or bridge may seem to function similarly to a tooth, underneath the surface damage is being done to the jaw bone and ultimately to the structure of the face. This can result in the distortion of the shape of a person’s face, leading to additional cosmetic costs down the road.
On the other hand, dental implants are made of titanium, which actually integrates with the jaw bone, strengthening it and stimulating bone growth. This preserves the natural strength and quality of the mouth, lessening problems in the future.
Quality of Life
Dental implants can be seen as a long-term investment not only in terms of money, but also in terms of quality of life. A dental implant is the closest thing to a natural tooth. In addition to allowing the patient to eat the same healthy foods he or she has always enjoyed, it also eliminates the day-to-day hassles and possible embarrassment that are frequently caused by dentures.
Comparing Dental Implant Quotes
There are several steps (and often multiple professionals) involved in the placement of a dental implant. When comparing quotes, it’s important to factor in the cost of each of these steps:
- Exams/office visits
- Tooth/root extraction
- Bone grafting
- Placement of the titanium root (the “dental implant”)
- Placement of the crown
- X-rays, pre/post operative care
Financing for Dental Implants
First, check with your dental insurance carrier to see what portion, if any, of dental implants they cover.
There are health care credit companies that offer no-interest and low-interest loans for medical procedures including dental implants.
Dental Implants are an investment in your health as well as your appearance. A full set of teeth makes eating a pleasure again, making it easier to eat a balanced, healthy diet. A full set of teeth also preserves the contours of the face, keeping you from looking old before your time.