About Dental Implants
What are dental implants?
A natural tooth consists of a root and a crown. If you compare natural teeth to implant teeth, you’ll see they have the same basic parts. Both have a crown (the visible part used to chew food). Both have a root that holds the tooth securely under the gum and is anchored into the jaw. The difference is that the implant is made of titanium – the same time-tested material used by surgeons for artificial joints. When you lose a tooth, you lose both the root and the crown. To replace the tooth, the surgeon first replaces the root with a small dental implant.
Time is allowed for bone to heal and grow around the dental implant. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. A support post (abutment) is then placed on the implant and a new replacement tooth (crown) is placed on top of the abutment. In many cases a temporary replacement tooth can be attached to the implant immediately after it is placed. If all of your teeth are missing, a variety of treatment options are available to support the replacement teeth.
Surgical Advances in Dental Implants
Using the most recent advances in dental implant technology, Drs. Lohr and Hollabaugh are able to place teeth the same day as implants. Same day teeth are an option for both single teeth and replacing all teeth in the mouth. Although these teeth cannot be used for chewing, they have the esthetic appearance of real teeth so you can get back to activities you enjoy without others noticing you had surgery. Once your healing is complete, the final teeth can be placed on your implants, never leaving you without a beautiful smile.
Dental implant placement is a team effort between an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a restorative dentist. Drs. Lohr or Hollabaugh perform the actual implant surgery, initial tooth extractions, and bone grafting if necessary. The restorative dentist (your dentist) fits and makes the permanent prosthesis.
“Don’t be afraid to Smile.”
For years I’d felt like a part of my body was missing — because my teeth were. My dentist told me that dental implants would make me feel and look a lot better. OK, I said. Now, I’m thrilled. I can smile, eat anything, and enjoy a good laugh with my friends.
Frequently Asked QUestions About Dental Implants
What can I use for teeth while the implants heal?
Many options are available, and they are tailored to your specific requirements. If you need a replacement tooth while the implants are healing, temporary removable teeth can be made. You also may be a candidate to have a non-removable tooth that is screwed in place at the time of implant placement. If all of your teeth are missing, we can usually modify your present complete denture or, if you select to have an All-on-4®, then you will leave on the day of surgery with teeth screwed to the implants.
What are the potential problems after dental implant surgery?
Although it is natural to be concerned about the pain that may be caused by these procedures, most patients do not experience severe or significant post-operative pain. Pain medication and antibiotics will be prescribed for you to make your recovery as easy as possible. Occasionally, some people develop post-operative infections that require additional antibiotic treatment. Even though great care is taken to place the implant precisely, occasionally adjacent teeth are injured in the placement process. In addition, there is a chance that the nerve in the lower jaw, which provides sensation to your lower lip and chin, may be affected. If you are missing quite a lot of bone, it might be difficult to place an implant without infringing on the nerve space. Although we take great care to avoid this nerve, occasionally it is irritated during the procedure, resulting in tingling, numbness or a complete lack of sensation in your lip, chin or tongue. Usually these altered sensations will resolve within time, but they can be permanent and/or painful. If you notify us of post-operative numbness as soon as possible, it will allow us to manage your care in the most appropriate way.
How long will the implants last?
Implants have been widely placed for about 30 years in the United States. Like teeth, implants are subject to gum disease and, therefore, oral hygiene continues to be just as important as having natural teeth. If good oral hygiene is maintained, then implants can be expected to last a lifetime.
WHAT IS THE SUCCESS RATE of IMPLANTS?
For healthy patients missing one or several teeth, studies show a success rate of about 95 percent. For patients with multiple medical problems, such as smoking or osteoporosis, the success rate may be slightly lower. If one of your dental implants either doesn’t heal properly or loosens after a period of time, you may need to have it removed. After the site heals (or on occasion at the time of removal), another implant usually can be placed.
When are the replacement teeth attached to the implant?
The final replacement teeth are attached to the implant when adequate healing has occurred and your jaw bone is firmly fused to the implant, which averages about 3 months based your treatment. Depending on a variety of factors, it may be possible to place temporary teeth the same day as dental implant placement. We will review the most appropriate treatment sequence and timing for your particular situation.
How do I clean my new teeth?
As with natural teeth, it is important that you clean implant teeth regularly with toothbrushing, floss and any other recommended aids. You should also visit your dentist several times each year for hygiene and maintenance. As with regular dentures and other tooth replacements, your implants and their associated components are subject to wear and tear and eventually will need repair, including clip replacement, relines, screw tightening, and other adjustments.
Will one doctor do everything?
Usually, oral & maxillofacial surgeons place the implant(s) and performs other necessary surgical procedures – your general dentist provides the permanent replacement teeth. Both doctors are involved in planning your dental treatment and coordinating care. Also, depending upon a variety of factors, different dental specialists may help with your dental care.
How much does dental implant treatment cost?
There are a variety of treatments we offer at KC Facial & Oral Surgery. During your consultation appointment, Drs. Lohr and Hollabaugh will develop a treatment plan and our staff will discuss all surgical costs with you prior to any surgery so there are no surprises. When your treatment involves a restorative dentist, you will be charged separately for their services, such as crown or denture placement.
We accept a variety of dental insurance plans and offer financing. We will try to assist you in estimating what your actual payments will be after we evaluate your insurance coverage or other third party payments. Also, you should consider your personal financial investment in each treatment option as some insurance companies provide limited or no coverage.
For further questions, please call our office or schedule a consultation appointment at (816) 598-8166.